Thursday, February 17, 2011

It's an interesting time to be in the Middle East, that's for sure!

I had a meeting with the TARA committee this morning. We've been keeping an eye on the situation in Bahrain, as we were alerted a few weeks ago that protests were being planned and things might get real. I just expected today's meeting to be about the cautionary moves we were going to take to make sure the conference went off without a hitch.

But when I arrived at the home where the meeting was held, I knew that things were not going to turn out as we all hoped.

Around 3 am this morning, the Bahraini police stormed the camp set up in the main round-about in Manama where protesters--families with women and children--were sleeping. Official reports claim that only 3 people have been killed, but that conflicts with what we've been hearing from committee members living in Bahrain and some news reports.

The TARA committee members watched in horror as Al-Jazeera showed tanks rolling down the main road of Manama, the kingdom's capital, just a mile or so away from the hotel where the conference is supposed to be held in just a week.

Obviously we've cancelled the conference and now have to watch as things unfold in the Kingdom of Bahrain, a chain of 33 islands just 16 miles away from where the Mister and I live. We can literally see the main island from our roof.

Selfishly, the Mister and I are bummed that we have lost our retreat from the stress of the Saudi Arabia, but our hearts go out to the people of Bahrain. All of this unrest is rooted in discrimination of Shia Bahrainis by the Sunni monarchy that has ruled the tiny kingdom for more than 200 years. Inspired by the success of the protesters in Egypt, the majority Shia citizens thought they would be able to capture the world's attention and force progress in their own country. I've been told that protests like this one have occurred several times over the past few years, and deaths have resulted even then. But now that rebellions are popping up all over the Middle East, Bahrainis are hoping to finally be noticed.

Bahrain, you have our attention.

Vicariously yours,


  1. I'm sad y'all don't get to do the conference you worked so hard on! Will you try to re-schedule it somewhere else? Stinks for all the people who had planned to attend, too!

  2. So what's the political culture in the KSA like? Any talks of revolution, meetings, demonstrations, etc? Or is it mainly this is what's happening, here's precautions to take, etc. etc.?

    What's the media like in KSA? State operated, independent or "independent"?