By Ala’a Shehabi, Marc Owen Jones
portray an image of a kingdom outlined through oil wealth and deep inequality, Bahrain Uprising offers a voice for the normal citizen, telling the tale of the rebellion and taking readers into the dynamic tradition of highway protests that proceed to place strain at the slowly altering monarchy. Bahrain Uprising will be a useful contribution to our knowing not only of Bahrain, yet of the Arab Spring and grass-roots democratic events in general.
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Additional resources for Bahrain’s Uprising: Resistance and Repression in the Gulf
Regardless of this seeming sectarian polarisation, with Sunni groups representing a largely loyal opposition, questioning the regime in the limited and controlled space allowed, seeing the Bahrain issue as conflict between a Sunni minority government and a Shiʿa majority population is problematic, although it does not preclude the likely possibility of that becoming a reality given the bigger regional conflicts in Syria, Iraq, and Yemen. 61 First, the way the sectarian arguments are set out as simply a social and communal conflict tend to undermine Bahrain’s complex history, which has demonstrated clearly the importance of cross-sect cooperation in resisting Al Khalifa control in Bahrain.
For this reason, Horne argues that Tn Tn Ttn, a video representation of torture made by anonymous activists, goes further than just eliciting sympathy. Instead, it elicits solidarity by exposing structures of power, forging new social relations and undermining the homogenising discourse of the ‘Arab Spring’ spectacle. Bahrain today continues to be racked by protests on a daily basis, despite reports of an ‘aborted’, ‘quelled’, or ‘crushed’ uprising in the media. Horne urges the observer to look beyond both the discourse of the media and sometimes the graphic images of death and torture disseminated by activists, again, so that we may understand oppressive structures underpinning the established order.
While the majority of Bahrain’s population are low-paid migrant workers from 12 introduction South Asia, including several who were shot dead by the police and Bahraini Army, Mitchell’s account comes from the other end of the class spectrum. It does, however, highlight that, even though Western expatriates are the highest paid in the country, all migrants, regardless of class or race, are seen by the regime as dispensable. One step in the wrong direction (namely threatening political acts), and deportation occurs almost immediately.