Bahraini blogger on State Dep’t tour says Hillary Clinton ‘betrayed’ and ‘crushed’ Bahrain democracy movement

on 17 Comments

I came to Netroots Nation with a keen sense that I’d be disappointed by what the progressive base of the Democratic Party has to say about the Middle East, but a Bahraini writer who is on a State Department-sponsored tour and is afraid to publish in her own country has already stolen the show here with her declaration that Obama and Hillary Clinton have “betrayed” the Arab spring by not supporting the uprising in Bahrain– even as a State Department minder stood at the side of the room. 

Lamees Dhaif said, “We expected that Americans would stand by us. We thought that when five armies came into our country, America would give a definite No No No, this should not happen. We were shocked by Hillary Clinton’s statement. She gave the green light for the people who are crushing us. If Iran was coming to Bahrain, we wouldn’t mind [the Saudi and Emirates armies entering Bahrain]. But nobody is there but us.” 

Dhaif, who is on an American tour with 20 other bloggers sponsored by the Washington Foreign Press Center, a branch of the State Department, said she had confronted State Department officials in Washington with details of human rights violations, but these officials already knew the information and said they couldn’t come out against Bahrain.

Dhaif worked as a columnist for four newspapers, including a Saudi one, but when the democracy movement began in Bahrain she had no choice but to support people who were speaking out for economic reform and human rights. As soon as she did so, “I had to be punished.” She lost three jobs on one day, and the other soon after.

She continued blogging but the regime persecuted her own family. “My brothers were hunted in their jobs, they were punished because of their sister.” Government thugs broke into the family house and tried to burn it. Dhaif’s reputation was savaged on the internet. “It was like a witchhunt in the 16th century.” Her sister was imprisoned for 50 days, and tortured. And similar punishments have befallen student bloggers. Even for tweeting or posting on facebook, the government finds their IP addresses, arrests them, tortures them, tosses them back on the street at night, publishes their phone numbers and libels about their social activities.

“They are kidnapped in the middle of night and tortured, no one knows about them, and of course they cant tweet any more. Some of the girls’ brothers, they couldn’t even go out of the house, because they are so ashamed of what is said about their sisters.

“We are in a very conservative society, it’s not something easily taken, that this girl has a relationship with a man, or she has many boyfriends. And they don’t have to give a proof, they just have to say it, and 90 percent of people will believe.”

These punishments have worked. Bloggers and tweeters shut up. And Dhaif is now afraid to write.

“I’m so terrified, yet I’ve been asking myself this question every day for the last 2 months. I can speak for the people who can’t speak for themselves. I know that I will pay for it with a very high price. But if I keep quiet, more and more people are paying every day. You know, this is the conflict between what you believe in and what you should do [to protect] yourself.” 

Dhaif’s testimony was so inspiring that she got repeated applause from the Netroots audience, and all four panelists on the Arab Spring panel (more to come) got a standing ovation at the end. 

I wonder whether the platform that Dhaif has commanded at a progressive forum– with a tall blonde State Department official who is leading the bloggers’ tour standing at the side of the room — will have any effect on American policy.

Dhaif said that she had brought her charges to the State Department the other day, and the officials she spoke to knew the story.

“They actually know about it, they know all the details, about the doctors and writers, but they say that the Bahrain governmet– we have layers of relationship with them, we cant conflict with them…. But because they are loking the other way from us, we are being crushed every day.”


Dhaif was just as judgmental of American policy toward Iran.

“Iran turned into a phobia. For 30 years they’ve been terrifying us and terrifying the world– Iran is going to take on Gulf countries. But Iran is a loud country, they talk a lot. For 30 years I haven’t seen them do anything. But on the ground, what did they actually do? And they are taken as an excuse to make us pay more for armies, for not having equal rights…”

17 Responses

  1. Woody Tanaka
    June 16, 2011, 1:58 pm

    “We expected that Americans would stand by us.”

    Moral of the story: never trust or count on Uncle Sucker.

    • DICKERSON3870
      June 16, 2011, 10:34 pm

      More like Uncle Sam, “The Great Enabler”!

      P.S. VIDEO – GAYbriel’s Mission: Sara Palin
      Meet the Archangel GayBriel as he begins God’s mission to give guidance to all the Republican Presidential Candidates praying to him for help in making the difficult decision about running for President against the Great Satin Obama.
      PART 1 (02:27) – link to
      PART 2 (02:35) – link to
      P.P.S. My G_d, that GAYbriel is drop dead gorgeous! Now where’s that dadgum goat?
      VIDEO (23.06), The Goat, starring Buster Keaton (1921) – link to

  2. Kathleen
    June 16, 2011, 3:00 pm

    “I came to Netroots Nation with a keen sense that I’d be disappointed by what the progressive base of the Democratic Party has to say about the Middle East, but a Bahraini writer who is on a State Department-sponsored tour and is afraid to publish in her own country has already stolen the show here with her declaration that Obama and Hillary Clinton have “betrayed” the Arab spring by not supporting the uprising in Bahrain– even as a State Department minder stood at the side of the room. ”

    Hope I have helped build your “keen sense” that not much is different at the Netroots Nation gathering when it comes to the Israeli Palestinian conflict, Iran. Have been to two of the Netroots gatherings…they will not touch these issues. Brought this up face to face with Cenk Uygar. He agreed. Not much different than the MSM. And now he is right in the thick of the off limits MSM. Will not touch it.

    Hope you bring this up at one the panels. I have. The off limits issues at Netroots. They will be defensive. You may have better luck since you have this blog and are Jewish. Door open. Might not be as defensive. Have challenged both you and Steve Clemons to attempt to open up the topic at this Netroots. God luck

  3. Kathleen
    June 16, 2011, 3:04 pm

    “Dhaif was just as judgmental of American policy toward Iran.

    “Iran turned into a phobia. For 30 years they’ve been terrifying us and terrifying the world– Iran is going to take on Gulf countries. But Iran is a loud country, they talk a lot. For 30 years I haven’t seen them do anything. But on the ground, what did they actually do? And they are taken as an excuse to make us pay more for armies, for not having equal rights…”

    So is she bashing US closed down foreign policy in regard to Iran.

    Lobbied the staff of the Netroots nation years ago to invite both Flynt Leverett and Juan Cole to the conference to discuss Iran, I/P issue. Never nothing

  4. Kathleen
    June 16, 2011, 3:06 pm

    Phil are you going to bring up the wall around the I/P conflict at Netroots?

  5. ToivoS
    June 16, 2011, 4:34 pm

    This is very interesting. Last week put the story of the arrests and torture of doctors and nurses in Bahrain (one month late, of course) as the lead article. If Dhaif is now punished for speaking out (while a guest of the US State Dept. no less) this might very well force our hand. Just exactly what that means is hard to say, but Dhaif has definitely put herself in position to garner international news coverage if she or her family are punished.

    Let’s just hope this is not another fake.

  6. stevelaudig
    June 16, 2011, 5:25 pm

    Anyone who hasn’t concluded that Obama and Clinton are simply imperial caretakers, uninterested in progressives, except for their votes, simply has not been paying attention.

    • Kathleen
      June 16, 2011, 6:54 pm

      both status quo

    • Walid
      June 17, 2011, 3:00 am

      Bahrain doesn’t seem to be fizzing on many Mondo readers, maybe because Israel is far from it and doesn’t figure anywhere in the story. Mostly everyone here participated in discussions about Tahrir Square because it was an easy read to see all the kids with the flags but the real Arab Spring actually happened in Bahrain. It’s too bad America didn’t buy into it and let it get snuffed out. CNN had something to report on it back in April but suddenly fell quiet after that; it must have received a phone call. Demonstrations and arrests are still ongoing.

      12 minute spooky CNN report on what was happening back in April:

      link to

  7. Kathleen
    June 17, 2011, 12:35 pm

    A blogger from Palestinian bloggers… no surprises at Netroots. Keep that wall of silence in tact

  8. Chaos4700
    June 17, 2011, 7:33 pm

    Are you still wasting your time with the Democratic Party, Mr. Weiss? Good luck with that.

  9. LanceThruster
    June 17, 2011, 8:32 pm

    Imagine that…you can always depend on Hillary to look out for…


    (not that the marching orders from her handlers wanted her to react any differently).

    • Walid
      June 18, 2011, 4:37 am

      For those interested in Bahrain and the truth about it that’s prevented from coming out and who is doing the peventing, a few days back Robert Fisk wrote in the Independent:

      Robert Fisk: I saw these brave doctors trying to save lives – these charges are a pack of lies

      Eyewitness: Bahrain didn’t invite the Saudis to send their troops; the Saudis invaded and received a post-dated invitation

      Tuesday, 14 June 2011

      Has the Khalifa family gone mad? Yesterday, the Bahraini royal family started an utterly fraudulent trial of 48 surgeons, doctors, paramedics and nurses, accusing them of trying to topple the tin-pot monarchy of this Sunni minority emirate. The defendants in this flagrantly unfair military court are, of course, members of the majority Shia people of Bahrain. And since I was a witness to their heroic efforts to save lives in February, I can say – let us speak with a frankness that the Bahraini rulers would normally demand – that the charges are a pack of lies.

      Doctors I saw, drenched in their patients’ blood, desperately trying to staunch the bullet wounds of pro-democracy demonstrators shot in cold blood by Bahraini soldiers and police, are now on trial. I watched armed policemen refusing to allow ambulances to collect the wounded from the roads where they had been cut down.

      These are the very same doctors and nurses I stood beside four months ago in the Sulaimaniya emergency room, some of them weeping as they tried to deal with gunshot wounds the like of which they had never seen before.

      “How could they do this to these people?” one of them asked me. “We have never dealt with trauma wounds like these before.” Next to us lay a man with bullet wounds in the chest and thigh, coughing blood on to the floor.

      The surgeons were frightened that they did not have the skills to save these victims of police violence. Now the police have accused the doctors and staff of killing the patients whom the police themselves shot…”

      Full article:

      link to

  10. Eleanor K
    June 18, 2011, 1:58 pm

    The Guardian links to this piece: link to

    June 20, 2011, 10:42 am

    OK, I know most of you have only been able to assess the situation based on what you see on television, but I urge all of you to please please have the time to see my side of the story. I am a father, a brother, a son, a husband, a Bahraini. What we went through here in Bahrain was nothing short of a true nightmare.
    You have no idea how much we Bahrainis have tried to get our voices heard. This is a desperate urgent call for anyone to hear our voice!

    I urge you to have the time to read the below, if you dont have time, then please at least watch the below two videos only. Thank you again for clicking!

    Hear us..

    Very important to view the below two videos first.

    Bahrain– The Untold Story (My view on how things have unfolded here) link to

    Bahrain– The Untold Crimes (My view on why most Bahrainis do not agree with the methods used by the protesters) link to

    Dear reader, I hope you have now watched these two movies, i spent hours making them. I am not a professional film maker, and those two movies were my first ever. So my apologies for any mistakes..

    This is an urgent SOS call and I truly wish you will find it in your heart to read the below. Please please please help us showing the world the truth. I am begging you, please read what I have to say…

    I am writing this letter to express my sadness regarding having Miss Maryam Alkhawaja representing us as Bahrainis to talk about the current unrest in Bahrain. I would like to clarify that the media has mistakenly captured and reported the false situation in our beloved country Bahrain. We have been living in harmony for many years, Christians, Muslims and Jews, Hindus and Budhists etc. It is sad to state the fact about only shias are living in poverty whereas sunnis do to. This is not due to the government’s stance but due to the will of an individual to “better” him or herself. This is a very common factor worldwide. Having visited Beverly hills you can see poverty in the most upscale areas which is present in any social climate. Not to mention thousands if not millions homeless across the U.S and Europe.
    The protesters in Bahrain were carried away in their last protest which was on 14th Feb 2011. However, Bahrain’s Crown Prince has invited the protesters’ leaders for negotiations in order to demonstrate democracy and sort out the situation peacefully, keeping in mind that Bahrain is the only country in the Middle East and North Africa who supported the right to protest under certain circumstances in order to maintain safety for both, the protesters and the other civilians. The protesters have clearly stated PRECONDITIONS PRIOR to DIALOGUE.

    Their conditions for dialogue were as follows:

    1. Dismissal of the government and the formation of a government elected by the people

    2. Cancellation of the 2002 Constitution and all laws passed by decree

    3. The formation of a national body of ten elected members by the people to formulate a new constitution that abolishes all the king’s powers and that he be a symbol of the country and that legislative and regulatory powers are fully in the hands of an elected council (parliament).

    4. Amend the electoral law so that the people elect all members of Parliament in which the cabinet ministers will be selected from 25% of the members of parliament

    5. Cancellation of all boards and councils immediately and ensure that all executive agencies are subject to the elected government

    6. Comprehensive reforms of the judiciary and the restructuring of the Supreme Judicial Council which shall be constituted of judges and lawyers elected by the people

    7. Abolition of the powers of all naturalized citizens to prevent them from participation in the electoral process or to stand for election until a law regulating naturalization and the Bahraini nationality is promulgated

    8. Prevent the army from participating in the electoral process

    9. Ensure that all corrupt persons stand public trials, as should those practicing sectarianism and re-open the Bandergate file and prevent any judicial and public prosecution powers of issuing any gag orders relating to any case concerned with public opinion

    10. The return of all looted lands and coasts and the nationalization of real estate projects such as Amwaj Islands and Alzalamah and Riffa Views to be within the purview of the Ministry of Housing to equitably distribute the wealth to the citizens

    11. Instating Bahraini citizens in jobs which are currently occupied by foreigners, especially those in the ministries of interior and defense without any sectarian discrimination

    12. Dismissal of all heads of agencies, boards and institutions at the same time as dissolving the cabinet

    13. Bring to account all those who practiced corrupt practices before 2002

    14. Fairly compensate the families of martyrs and all those affected during the past twenty years

    Not to mention release of all prisoners!

    Now, my question is and this should be raised, “how does one have dialogue with preconditions? doesn’t one dialogue and then set conditions, what is there to talk about if those conditions were met?”

    Day after day we found that the protesters have been directed from what they call “peaceful protests” to attacking the civilians, blocking the roads, and killing innocent people. Many of us bystanders (silent majority) were in fear of our very lives and stayed in hiding until it was finally safe to come out. Our children have been affected and it has taken a lot of time for them to sleep without waking up in the middle of the night with fear. One situation of attacking a mosque and other situation where they have pushed the mosque’s supervisor to shut down the place without any justification or he will be killed. You have probably not read the about the Sunni Moathen (a person who calls people to prayer), Mr Muhammad, whose tongue was cut off and who was the soul provider to his family. You are also probably not aware of a British Bahraini Girl trying to drive home from Manama Centre who was caught up and questioned by Nabeel Rajab and told that if she was an Asian they would kill her. This witness is ready to speak up but has found it pointless with the bias coverage.

    Bahrain TV followers have found that people were calling and asking that the government should take an action immediately, women were crying live on TV. Families have moved from their place of living to either hotels or temporarily apartments because they were so scared. However, the government was so patient not to take any legal actions until it figured out that civilians’ safety is top priority. Bahrain’s Ministry of Interior has dealt with the protesters several times where the military forces were unarmed which was proven through TV and photos.

    Here is just a sample list of the crimes these protesters have committed so far:

    1- Organizing unauthorized demonstrations and riots since 14 February, which were deliberately organized on the 10 year anniversary of issuing the National Action Charter. 98% of the population agreed to it. This day used to be a joyous happy occasion in which we Bahrainis celebrate the birth of democracy in our country,

    2- They started attacking security forces by swords, which lead to the death of two protestors. News was spread regarding their obvious attacks on the security forces since the first day of the confrontation in case any of the protestors should be killed they would get the people’s sympathy.

    3- The occupation of the GCC roundabout (pearl roundabout), disrupting the traffic movement in the most crowded streets in the kingdom, and assigning some of the occupiers as traffic police and check points near the roundabout.

    4- Organizing disgraceful activities in the roundabout like smoking “shisha”. Alcohol and beer bottles were found, and news was spread that “enjoyment marriage” practice were going on there, which is basically men and women having intercourse with others who are not their wives or husbands.

    5- Giving inflammatory speeches from inside the round about which picture Sunnis as infidels, and asking to revive the Karbala battle as they represent (Al Hussain) and the others represent (Yazid).

    6- Occupying the largest medical complex in the middle east, which is the Salmanya hospital and committing many crimes which include:

    • Limiting treatment to the Anti-Government people only and expelling Sunnis, especially those who were of other origins and have been given the Bahraini Nationality. Tenths of people were rejected during two weeks time. The number of the hospitals visitors dropped from 1200 to 300 people because of the fear and dread that was spread in the hospital.

    • Deliberately harming Sunni patients by delaying or refusing their treatment. This lead to the death of a woman who just gave birth (Mona Al-Megahwi) because of the purposeful delay in her treatment, and (Fatima Al-Abbasi) because the ambulance refused to go to her on purpose.

    • The strike of doctors, nurses, and most of the crew in the hospital. Protest tents were set in the hospital and many of the demonstrators in the roundabout joined them.

    • Using government ambulance vehicles in disgraceful external activities such as smuggling weapons and criminals. What happened in the University of Bahrain is an example of that.

    • Stealing 16 out of 25 ambulance vehicles from the hospital. Some of them are found, and the rest are still to be found.

    • Stealing medical and health equipments from the hospital and using them in the roundabout activities. Especially oxygen equipments, which the hospital lacked later on and which are worth nearly BD100,000.

    • The retention of many expats who were tied, handcuffed, hit, tortured, and were photographed to support their intentions to mislead public opinion so they can accuse the government with using force.

    • The retention and torture of a security man inside the hospital.

    • Hiding light and medium weapons inside the hospital.

    • Creating a complete studio for Al-Aalam TV channel, and assigning a group of doctors and nurses as reporters for this channel who give false statements to deceive the people’s opinions.

    • Contempt of the hospital rooms of the emergency section by letting TV channels in the injuries room.

    • The obvious acting to claim injuries. They even spread Magnesium hydroxide on the bodies of some protestors to show that they are ill. They also used tenths if not hundreds of blood sacks to claim injury for photography and videotaping purposes.

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    • Using the Salmanya hospital as an inflammatory platform by giving inflammatory speeches by the opposition leaders.

    • Closing and sealing the hospital’s doors to prevent the security forces from entering.

    7- organizing unauthorized riots in the University of Bahrain, which lead to:

    • Hitting tens of Sunni students using white weapons, many of whom are still in hospital in very bad conditions.

    • Hitting Sunni girls. Twenty men gathered on one girl and hit her. She is now in the ICU the Defense Force hospital. This has been witnessed by my cousin, who is still much traumatized about the incident.

    • Harassing Sunni girls, ripping their clothes, and feeling their bodies.

    • The participation of some university professors (men and women), who approve the demonstrations, in these crimes by inducing and encouraging violence and the cease of study.

    • Throwing a handicapped from the second floor.

    • Breaking and shattering University of Bahrain’s facilities and offices.

    • The betrayal of the security guard in the university, who joined the protestors and informed them where the Sunni students were.

    • Transporting many of the bullies from the roundabout with large buses, which can carry 50 persons, armed with swords, knives, sticks, and blackjacks.

    8- Desecration of 4 Sunni mosques in Manama, closing their doors, and preventing the Sunni call for prayer. Also, attacking a Bengali Muezzin (the person who calls for prayer) by beating him, torturing him, cutting his tongue, and breaking his skull. This person died, and his roommate said that the Anti-Government protesters told him “Bahrain is a shia country and the Sunni call for prayer cannot be raised here!”.

    9- Attacking a taxi driver (Rashid Al-Moamary, 70 years old) by purposefully running into his car and breaking it, and then hitting him and torturing him until he died.

    10- Attacking about 15 Asian expats, which lead to the death of one and the rest are still in the hospital.

    11- Kidnapping 5 Asian laborers, torturing them, and video taping them.

    12- Running over 3 policemen more than once in a barbaric way, which everyone has seen. They all died.

    13- Sending inflammatory and threatening letters against the foreigners inside Bahrain.

    14- Tempting young children from elementary and intermediate schools to organize demonstrations and call for overthrowing the government. They were taken out by trucks, which were not suitable even for animals, and threw them in the streets, endangering their lives.

    15- Sunni students were attacked by the Anti-Government students (boys and girls) and their teachers (men and women). They even attacked a girl by ripping her clothes. Many eyewitnesses spoke of seeing them carrying knives

    16- Attacking and threatening men and women volunteers in the education sector, and purposefully distorting their reputation and image.

    17- Organizing a civil strike to harm the country’s economy and tourism. Especially in the vital sectors such as oil and economy.

    18- Many employees in companies and ministries, who are with the opposition, stole and used the companies’ cars for the demonstrations.

    19- Many of the Anti-Government employees escaped from their work in collusion with their bosses, and their works were assigned to the Sunni staff.

    20- Anyone who wants to go back to work is threatened to be killed, beaten, or burning his house.

    21- Entering some companies and ministries and threatening their staff.

    22- Harassing and cursing a woman near the Financial Harbor. She was surrounded, and they did not allow her to move while she was in her car.

    23- Blocking King Faisal’s road, where the most important companies and ministries in the economic sector are, and throwing sand and stones is threatening to the Pedestrians.

    24- Tampering with lampposts in King Faisal’s road to harm anyone who tampers with them.

    25- Digging trenches near pearl roundabout and hide weapons there, and making ambushes for them.

    26- Deliberately provoking and threatening the residential areas with Sunni majority.

    27- Cursing security and police forces, and pretending to give them flowers.

    28- Killing and torturing every person who doesn’t implement their demands. They killed two shias ( Radhi Al-Radhi, and Abdul Rasool Al-Hujairy) because they exposed the work of the opposition and refused to go on a civil strike.

    29- Ordering to kill or run over whoever comes in their way.

    30- Using car horns to create a provocative tone, which implies the overthrowing the king.

    31- Five women from the opposition entered a mosque and terrorized a young girl. They followed her and forced her to call for overthrowing the government.

    32- Smuggling and using many white weapons, automatic weapons, and Molotov.

    33- Opposition people pretended to be reporters for Al-Aalam and Al-Manar TV channels.

    34- Painting the houses of military and Sunni people to threaten, kill, or harm the residents.

    35- Making an agreement with the Iranian Ambassador to smuggle weapons and intelligence.

    36- Seeking to make a coup on the government; this is the greatest treason.


    These are a few Human Rights Violations never Reported by NabeelRajab & Alkhawaja or even AMNESTY International:

    CRIME no. 1 link to
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    CRIME no. 27 link to
    CRIME no. 28 link to

    Now Sir.. Let’s just imagine if this happened I the United States. How would the U.S react? Would the country sit and wait for over a month, requesting the protesters to come for dialogue and getting refused over and over again? Seriously, how would the U.S handle the situation if Wall street was shut down for weeks, major streets were blocked, people attacking non-natives such as Hispanics and demanding them to leave the country… ?

    We, the majority of Bahrain, are against the protesters methods used. We want them to wake up and work for the best of our country. We see the big countries as our benchmark to apply democracy and demonstrate safety among civilians. I would like mention that the majority of Bahrain’s students who are now protesting against the government were sponsored by the government to obtain the best education in any of the well-recognized universities and schools in the world, Isn’t that hypocritical sir?

    What’s more amazing is that most of the protesters had decent jobs. They were teachers, lawers, doctors, nurses, architects… i will get back to this point later on. Back to Maryam Al Khawaja..

    Here are some of the points the so called Human Rights BCHR Maryam Al Kahawaja and Co failed to report.

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    This is what Maryam Al Khawaja is trying to hide from the rest of the world.

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    On 14th Feb 2011 which is Anniversary of the National Action Charter of Bahrain, a group in Bahrain who called themselves ((revolution of February 14)) came out and demanded better livelihood for themselves from the government and stressed that they were poor and suppressed. At first it was a reasonable and legitimate demands and the revolution was successful, most Bahrainis thought that these protesters had every right to demand better living conditions, as we all would like a rise in salaries and free housing and things like that… Until that turned to terrorism and disregard for the rest of the civilians of course. They said that they complain of poverty and demanding a better livelihood, well, have a look at a few pictures we managed to obtain while they were on the roundabout:

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    Also, with regards to the myth the protesters are portraying, that the Anti-Governments are the majority and hence, demand more rights! Have a look at this: link to

    This was clearly illustrated in the famous Al Fateh march, in which people stood firmly united (sunnis, shias, Christians and Jews, hand in hand) against the protesters methods and yet at the same time, they also demanded reforms from the government. Their numbers were over 300,000 in the first gathering and is regarded as the largest ever in the history of the GCC. The second gathering was estimated to be between 400,000 and 500,000. Clearly showing what the majority of the Bahraini people want.

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    I really hope my message has reached out to you over the Atlantic.

    Hear my voice… Please…

    I am just a boy who is very worried and concerned at the situation unfolding here in Bahrain. This is no revolution. A revolution unites.. Not divides.


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