Issue 109

Monthly newspaper and online publication targeting 18 to 35 year olds. The ultimate guide to the hottest parties, going out and having fun. Music, fashion, film, travel, festivals, technology, comedy, and parties! London, Barcelona, Miami and Ibiza.

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 7 of 59

Human rights violations in Bahrain have steadily worsened over the past 100 years because of assistance by countries like the UK. The Al Khalifa regime gave up their foreign policy in return for Britain's protection – this was the regime that was persecuting Bahraini people at the time. They ap- pointed Shaik Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa and gave him the right to most of the revenues of the land – later including oil revenues – in return for a promise to share it with the rul- ing family and maintaining their position. This UK complic- ity is really where the story started. Over the years, Bahraini people have protested this rela- tionship and this theft of their country's assets, and each time Britain has helped to put them down. In 1954, four protesters were shot by British-trained police. A commission of inquiry found no-one guilty and blamed it on the crowd. Two years later another six people died after British-trained police opened fire on a crowd in the market. Another commission found no-one accountable. Two months later, leaders of a popular cross-sect uprising were illegally deported to the island of St Helena (off the West Coast of Africa). It later emerged that Britain actually considered supporting this democratic group of Bahrainis, the National Union Committee, but documents show they also weren't sure a democratic government would support British interests in the Gulf, whereas the repressive Al Khali- fas were more reliable. In 1965, there was a strike at the Bahrain Petroleum Com- pany, mainly about the treatment of immigrant workers, and when this was crushed, a new uprising took the form of General Strikes. Royal Navy helicopters dropped tear gas on crowds while British-trained police shot another half a dozen dead – this time there was no inquiry. In 1971, Bahrain became nominally independent, but the British continued to train the Bahraini police to ensure the Al Khalifa family remained in power and could be sold weapons. They also sent in an 'advisor' – Colonel Ian Hen- derson, infamous for crushing Kenya's Mau-Mau movement and implicated in torture and assassination – he headed the Bahrain secret police. Under Henderson and the Prime Min- ister, Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa (still PM after 45 years), deaths and torture increased dramatically. Documents show that British officials in Bahrain actively colluded to hide evidence of torture from British parliament. For example, in the late 70s, two men were tortured to death for the al- leged murder of a newspaper editor. UK Bahraini activists raised interest in the case among British MPs, but evidence now shows British Embassy officials edited letters to deny they knew about the murders. The cover-up is emblematic of the present day. We know the situation in Bahrain. We know that John Yates, the Metropolitan Police Assistant Commissioner (who resigned over the phone hacking in- quiry and has links to Rupert Murdoch), went to Bahrain to provide "technical assistance" under the guise of 'reform'. But human rights abuses continue unabated against Bahrain citizens families of UK-based activists have been imprisoned, tortured, and used as hostages to try and prevent peaceful protest here. The UK has sold £82 million worth of weapons to Bahrain since the 2011 Arab Spring uprising which was brutally crushed. Saudi troops (again with British weaponry and training) were invited into the country to quell street protests by around half the population. Colonialism is alive and well, and the King of Bahrain's visit to sit next to the Queen at the Royal Windsor Horse Show is an affirmation of that colonial power and continued support for this evil, undemocratic and violent regime. Thanks to Dr Marc Owen Jones Lecturer in History of the Gulf and the Arabian Peninsula, Exeter University 8 ISSUE 109 / 2018 REAL MEDIA We followed Bahraini activists protesting this year's Windsor Horse Show, where the Queen entertained the Show's sponsor, King Hamad - a member of Bahraini royalty. Here we explain the brutal history of Britain's relationship with the Bahrain regime. Catch the videos on BAHRAIN, BRITISH COLONIALISM AND A SHORT HISTORY OF REPRESSION

Articles in this issue

view archives of Guestlist - Issue 109