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The (non) Prestige of a Regime : Bahrain Edition

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Tuesday 11 July 201712:57 pm

Nabeel Rajab, a well-known activist and opponent to the Khalifa regime, has been denied freedom from his jail term because he apparently “undermined the prestige of Bahrain.”

Rajab, who has been in and out of prison, more so since the latest Bahrain uprising, was recently arrested on June 13, 2016 for daring to criticize the Saudi-led coalition's brutal war on Yemen, and for speaking out about torture in Bahrain.  The new charge of “undermining the prestige of Bahrain” stems from the fact that Rajab wrote a letter to the New York Times about the process of his imprisonment and his experiences in jail.

Bahrain – who supported Russia's intervention in Syria, perhaps as a nod to the Assad regime's support for the Saudi intervention into Bahrain in 2011 – has been brutally ruled by the Khalifa family for more than a century. It has not been an easy rule since every ten years or so, a popular uprising erupts, and is usually repressed by external hands; the US and Saudis today, the British had their time yesterday, and even the Persians took a crack at it in the hazy past.

This charge on Rajab for undermining prestige is a funny one, if it weren't so sinister. Its hilarity is even more pronounced considering that the Khalifa regime are the foremost figures in undermining the prestige of Bahrain.

Here is a regime that bases its rule on theft of land and resources from the indigenous population, through bloody repression, torture and fear, and survives off the fickle, crumble-like lust of regional and international paymasters.

This regime is obsessed about appearing 'modern' and 'moderate' to the mainstream media's spotlight, while not giving an iota of ***** for any living soul – regardless of their background, class, sect, or whatever – within and beyond this tiny country of islands.

What is this about prestige, dear readers? What is this charge laid out by authorities in Bahrain who themselves are far from any known definition of prestige?  Allow me to define the term. Prestige, noun, meaning: “reputation or influence arising from success, achievement, rank, or other favorable attributes.”


What's prestigious about rulers who situate the Formula One race (a snorefest of epic proportions) above and beyond the inalienable rights and dignity of over a million people, encourage systematic torture and sexual abuse in jail cells or police stations, willfully cheer for a war by a rich nation against one of the poorest nations on this peninsula, or grovel when a white celebrity comes along?   

Prestige? Ha.

What an absurd charge, not only exploited in Bahrain, but also throughout the region by silly, vulgar, usually incompetent, and brutal authorities, against legit criticism, written, filmed, vocalized, or tweeted.   

I'd probably have more respect for them if they were honest about the fact that they are simply afraid of us. Actually, scratch that. I probably won't have respect for them even if they admitted the truth, because there's really nothing to respect about these authorities. None of them, in all the corners, peninsulas, mountains, rivers and shores of this large landmass in Western Asia and North Africa. Seriously, I've had bouts of explosive diarrhea that were more prestigious.

Prestige? More like LOL, I can't.

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