SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) – Bahraini anti-regime protesters in the village of Diraz have participated in a sympathy march to express solidarity with the prominent human rights activist Abdulhadi al-Khawaja.
The detained activist started a hunger strike 45 days ago for freedom or martyrdom. He has been held in detention since April 2011 and has reportedly been subjected to physical torture.
Anti-regime protests have also been held in several other villages, calling for regime change. The Kingdom of Bahrain is in the midst of a revolution that began last February. Scores of anti-regime protesters have been killed and thousands of others arrested for taking part in the protests.
We talk with Kamel Wazni, a political analyst in Beirut, to further discuss the issue. What follows is the transcription of the interview.
Q: How important do you feel Abdulhadi al-Khawaja's hunger strike is, especially in context of the support hunger strikers in places like Israeli prisons receive?
Wazni: Obviously, we see the same image and the same tactic that is used by the Israelis are used by the Bahrainis and we know that the Americans are very much involved in the process of continuing supporting the royal family at the expense of the voice of the people in Bahrain.
American is very much interested in carrying [out] its own agenda, its own support for military establishment especially in Bahrain. Their Fifth Fleet is there. And it is the commerce and the oil interest and this is actually highlighted in one of the studies that is in my hand that is related to congressional document and it talks about preserving the flow of energy resources and commerce that is vital to the US regional and global economics.
American that talks about democracy and the freedom of law and when we hear Obama talking about due process; it does not come to his mind that the major obstacles in Bahrain that is repressing its own people.
So what is taking place in Bahrain of repression, torture and detention without due process is happening also in Israel and the United States actually looks at those two countries as major allies of the United States.
Actually, in this document also they talk about it when they come to Bahrain; they call it as a non-NATO ally and that is why we see in Bahrain the majority of the people are on the street demanding their freedom, demanding the stop of the prosecution, detention and the Americans are using double standards and are looking at the other side and this is a shame on Obama and the American administration when they talk about democracy and we see repression in Bahrain and we see the Americans are very silent and in many cases, they actually are giving the guides to the royal family to continue to repress the people of Bahrain.
Q: A Formula One race cancelled last year is to go ahead now and many say the crackdown has increased because of it. Do you think Bahrain will be able to convince the world that all is well by hosting this race?
Wazni: No, I think we have to distinguish between the American government and the political establishment and just the people of the United States and the Western world. So there are a lot of people in solidarity across the globe with the people of Bahrain despite the stand of the government of the United States.
The United States cannot count on it because, as we have seen, they repress their own people; they shot a black man in the United States because he is a black. So obviously, there is a huge discrimination in the United States against the minorities especially the blacks and the Hispanics and other minorities.
We are talking about the people of the world actually united with the Bahraini people because the Bahraini people have a legitimate cause for their movement. They wanted stoppage for discrimination; they wanted stoppage for these massive arrests, stoppage for repression, stoppage for tyranny that is actually preventing the Bahraini people from living their normal life.
Here, it is a case that is considered to be people in Bahrain are not allowed to practice their religion. We saw how mosques have been torn down by the order of the royal family. They actually attack children.
They abducted doctors from their hospitals, nurses from their hospitals and the hunger strike by Mr. Khawaja is actually a testimony to his will that nothing will defeat the Bahrainis and the Bahrainis are determined to carry their freedom to the end.
The Bahrainis think they can be victorious for a very short period of time, but history taught us freedom will be on the side of those people who have been oppressed for a very long time by the Bahraini royal family with the protection of the United States.
America has to be clear on the issue of freedom. They cannot say freedom here and apply repression somewhere else and that is why they are doing right now in Bahrain. They are supporting a regime that is actually using all kinds of torture and those who are actually using these tortures are trained by the United States and could be very much trained by the Israelis.