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Trouble brewing again in Bahrain

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Kitkat
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Trouble brewing again in Bahrain

Post by Kitkat on Fri 20 Apr 2012, 14:28

Security has been tightened in Bahrain in preparation for protests, as
Formula 1 cars take to the track for practice sessions ahead of Sunday's
Grand Prix.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-17781138

Last year's Grand Prix was cancelled after 35 people died that February
and March during unrest and a crackdown on demonstrations calling for
greater democracy demanding an end to discrimination against the
majority Shia Muslim community by the Sunni royal family, the Al
Khalifa.

Bit worried for my brother especially at this time. Working in Saudi, many of his co-workers commute from Bahrain to the oil company where he now works. He is due to take his holiday any day now (if not already - I haven't had any replies from my recent texts) he intends to travel to Indonesia where his family and home is. Bahrain is his point of exit and entry when he travels - bus or taxi across the causeway into Bahrain to travel to and from the airport there.
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watchman
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Re: Trouble brewing again in Bahrain

Post by watchman on Fri 20 Apr 2012, 23:43

I've observed this before in Irish families...

It seems they fall into one of two groups....

1/ You have the "Hedge Sparrows" ... those who live their whole life in one town or village. I talked some years ago with a bar maid in a pub in Ferns ,who had only left the town twice in her whole life, (both times to go shopping ,once in Dublin & once in Waterford....) gad-about.

2/ Then there are the "Wild Geese" ... those who travel absolutely every where. I worked with a girl from Gallway who was born in Ireland ,raised in California ,finished her education in Sydney ,Australia ,moved to Britain then married had her first child and moved off back to Australia ,(Brisbane this time).

Your family seems to be of the "Wild Geese" variety.

Hope your brother is OK.

Can I ask , is there a reason for your families attraction to "Arabian" countries ? (I am aware Indonesia is not "Arab" but it does have a large percentage of Muslim citizens.)
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Re: Trouble brewing again in Bahrain

Post by Kitkat on Sat 21 Apr 2012, 13:13

watchman wrote:I've observed this before in Irish families...

It seems they fall into one of two groups....

1/ You have the "Hedge Sparrows" ... those who live their whole life in one town or village. I talked some years ago with a bar maid in a pub in Ferns ,who had only left the town twice in her whole life, (both times to go shopping ,once in Dublin & once in Waterford....) gad-about.

2/ Then there are the "Wild Geese" ... those who travel absolutely every where. I worked with a girl from Gallway who was born in Ireland ,raised in California ,finished her education in Sydney ,Australia ,moved to Britain then married had her first child and moved off back to Australia ,(Brisbane this time).
Spot on, watchman! It seems wherever you go in the world, however far afield it maybe, you will always come across some wandering "wild geese" either themselves originating from Ireland, or their forefathers. We are a wandering people, that's for sure, and much of that I am sure stems from our history over many years; the Potato Famine of 1845 being one cause, but even long before that history's pages explain much of Ireland's emigration episodes en masse:

The Flight of the Wild Geese refers to the departure of an Irish Jacobite army under the command of Patrick Sarsfield from Ireland to France, as agreed in the Treaty of Limerick on October 3, 1691, following the end of the Williamite War in Ireland. More broadly, the term "Wild Geese" is used in Irish history to refer to Irish soldiers who left to serve as mercenaries in continental European armies in the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries.

watchman wrote:Your family seems to be of the "Wild Geese" variety.
Not all. Certainly my mother and grandmother were fuelled with the wanderlust, although neither had the opportunity to fulfil their roving tendencies, at least to the extent of (physically) travelling the world. My brother and myself were fortunate enough to have had the chance to put our dreams into practise. I have always had a bit of the gipsy in me, and I'm told this was apparent from a very early age and manifested itself in the constant rearranging of the furniture in my bedroom(!). Apparently my grandmother was forever doing this in her house too - as she wasn't in a position to travel or move away, a different outlook in the home became a substitute for 'moving to a different place'. Other than that, different languages, cultures and faraway places have always fascinated me. You can of course travel 'in your mind' to wherever you wish through books and literature, something I've always done, lol - I read through the A to Z and 'come back home' exhausted after my travels. - exhausted but frustrated - it's not enough. I then have to go and see and experience for myself.

My sister, on the other hand, is the "hedge sparrow" of the family. Content to stay in the place where we were reared, married a local lad and now lives not very far away from there - to her family means all. Her offspring are the same - apart from the one girl, my niece - who takes after me in every way.
LOL! ... Synchronicity ... She just phoned me (my sister) as I was writing this .. to tell me my niece (who I just mentioned up there) is giving her a birthday present of a ticket to come over here and stay with me for a little holiday (She's not long after a heart operation). Her birthday's in May, so she'll be over sometime then.

watchman wrote:Hope your brother is OK.
Yes! I heard from my brother today - through the Family Forum (I have created a forum with just members of our family - spread all over the place, a way of keeping in touch and a little family history diary to pass on to future generations). I also put a message on the Forum asking him to get in touch. He has done. He is already in Jakarta - and uses a different phone whilst over there, so that's why my messages weren't getting through.


watchman wrote:Can I ask , is there a reason for your families attraction to "Arabian" countries ? (I am aware Indonesia is not "Arab" but it does have a large percentage of Muslim citizens.)
No particular reason really. I just happen to have visited quite a few countries that are Arabic speaking - as well as many that are not. I love the language and can speak it a little. That's all.
From my brother's point of view, he is a teacher of English as a foreign language, so inevitably his work is going to take him to countries that don't speak English as their first language. Also, most of the decent jobs for TEFL tend to be in oil companies, and most of the oil companies are in countries who happen to speak Arabic. He met his wife (a Christian Indonesian girl) while working and living in Indonesia. Their first child (who also takes after me) was actually born in Saudi, brought up in Indonesia, holds an Irish passport and now lives with her Dutch boyfriend in Holland where she has just finished university. (Spent a year in Greece as part of her education, just come back from a trip - alone - to Seoul with some wonderful stories and adventures there) and off to Barcelona next week for a few days.
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Re: Trouble brewing again in Bahrain

Post by Kitkat on Sat 21 Apr 2012, 22:46

This is not going to go away quietly.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-17800719


21 April 2012

A human rights activist has said Bahrain is "almost a
war zone" away from the circuit for the controversial F1 race in the
Gulf state.

Armoured vehicles are patrolling the capital Manama ahead of the event, which the government says will go ahead.

Meanwhile, thousands of people have taken to the streets to demand democracy and an end to the crackdown on dissents.
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Re: Trouble brewing again in Bahrain

Post by watchman on Sat 21 Apr 2012, 23:09

Perhaps its just me ,but I do get the feeling that this particular area of the "Arab Spring" is being fought out by proxies for Saudi and Iran.

Just a feeling ,as I say ,I've nothing to back it up.
But it does "feel" like watching a puppet show.


PS
thank you for the above reply and glad to hear your brother is OK.
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Re: Trouble brewing again in Bahrain

Post by Kitkat on Sun 22 Apr 2012, 12:08

watchman wrote:Perhaps its just me ,but I do get the feeling that this particular area of the "Arab Spring" is being fought out by proxies for Saudi and Iran.

Just a feeling ,as I say ,I've nothing to back it up.
But it does "feel" like watching a puppet show.

I agree. The problems with Bahrain started a long time ago and were ongoing long before Tunisia/Egypt etc. In some ways it reminds me of the situation regarding Northern Ireland. Although on a different scale, the parallels are there. An understated "religious" struggle which is really one of political power. Of course Britain and America are involved somewhere along the line. Saudi-backed (ergo UK & US backed) ruling party of Sunni minority, with an oppressed Shiite majority deliberately deprived of essential civil rights, intended to keep them out of attaining any position of control. *

Whereas Ireland is a strategically-placed location for political control for the powers that be, Bahrain's geographical position marks a similar usefulness, and of course - oil.


http://topics.nytimes.com/top/news/international/countriesandterritories/bahrain/index.html

“The situation in Bahrain started as a nonsectarian movement for freedom and turned into the hottest battlefield in the Iranian-Saudi regional war,” said Omid Nouripour, a member of the German Parliament and an expert on Iran and security issues. “As the kingdom of Saudi Arabia is supporting the state-repression inside Bahrain, Iran acts as the protector of the Shia.”


A Troubled History

Though the al-Khalifa family has ruled since the 18th century, Bahrain has been a politically troubled nation for generations.

The kingdom gained independence from Britain in 1971. Soon after, the price of oil spiked during the Arab-Israeli war of 1973. Bahrain’s oil reserves were small compared to its neighbors’, but provided fuel for rapid development.

For a period, the island kingdom was hailed as a model of reform in the Arab world. King Hamad ended a 25-year state of emergency in 1999 and promised to turn Bahrain into a constitutional monarchy with a newly elected Parliament.

But in 2001, he reneged on his promise and imposed a constitution establishing a second, appointed legislative house that significantly curtailed the power of the elected one. Gerrymandering ensured a Sunni advantage in the elected house, too, prompting the predominantly Shiite opposition to boycott elections in 2002.

In the years since, Bahrain’s Shiites have been marginalized. They allege that the government has backed Sunni Islamists and encouraged increasingly sectarian politics. Activists in the country say they have uncovered a systematic effort to naturalize Sunnis from other Arab countries as well as from Southeast Asia.

* Shiites are all but banned from the military and security forces -certainly from command positions -; one of their primary grievances. The police force is staffed primarily by foreigners: Syrians, Iraqis, Jordanians, almost anyone who happens to be a Sunni and is eager to earn a Bahraini passport.

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