Instead of reading what everyone else thinks of the BICI report I decided to read it myself. The whole thing, like a book. Judging from how fast the comments and evaluations came out on twitter I am not too sure most people are actually reading it. Like everything else they seem to be looking for pieces that support what they think and discounting the rest. I think this is a bad move.
There has been an air of no impartial media, everyone is biased and each side freaks out that their story isn’t told. Both stories are told in here. To me, there’s 2 levels to this report. One for the people; the Bahrainis and the people following along. The second for the Governments, both Bahrain and the governments that support them. (Although for the record, this seems to exonerate most foreign media coverage.)
For the average person living through this, I feel that they should sit down and read through the report. There are a few things missing from it, yes, but to me this isn’t the verdict on what happened, this is like a grand jury checking the evidence and seeing if anything should go forward. It points out many places where the investigations have been insufficient and what needs to be looked into. I would keep that in mind as you read it and try to keep an open mind about it. When both sides can stand back a little bit and see what happened through the chaos, maybe some of that healing can start. Forget the Government etc for a minute and look at each other, see what they feel and go from there.
Both sides are in there and I do think they were weighted properly. Yes, there were isolated incidents of violence from opposition, Sunni feelings got hurt and they were scared, and yes the gov did really horrific things.
The vibe on Twitter at least, ebbs and flows. Sometimes it feels like people are listening and getting along and then it will suddenly go nuts and the people who were moving closer to the middle get polarized again. There needs to come a point where everyone starts listening to the other and dealing with what happened, on a personal level, aside from what happens to the GoB. If the GoB really wants change to happen, the gov trolls need to be called off. They are not helping at all.
I honestly didn’t expect much from the report. I thought it would either whitewash the horror or pussyfoot around the issues. It did neither. It is quite blunt. This isn’t an examination which would really take months or years to delve into everything that happened, but it is a frank overview of the violence that took place.
Out of all of the stories the report told there were only 4 that I hadn’t heard. I think they were the most shocking simply because I haven’t processed them like the rest. I hadn’t heard about Jawad Ali Kadhem Shamlan. (1042) Zainab Hasan Ahmen Jumaa (1056) Jaafar Lutf Allah (1063) Or about the detention of the 110 MoI personnel (1199). Frankly, If that is all I hadn’t heard of out of this report, with me trying to piece together what’s going on most of the time, since everything seems to flip from English to Arabic when something happens, I find it really hard to believe the GoB (and the pro-gov supporters) don’t know this stuff. If you are actually THERE and speak Arabic, I have no idea how any of this is new.
What’s interesting, since the BNA and GDN don’t seem to understand what an actual news article looks like, is seeing what the GoB has done or knew about. Instead of a stupid tweet or 3 paragraph article that says they are looking for a serial killer, we see that maybe someone with some power has looked at evidence. Although to be honest with how they come across as bumbling fools all the time, I do not put much faith in it.
As for the GoB, the next logical steps (to me at least) Would be:
An apology, an honest heartfelt apology. Some shame for what has been exposed would be appropriate.
The state media should start reporting what the BICI actually said. It is insulting that after this report comes out articles like this are happening:
HRH Premier Lauds Security Bodies
There needs to be more than a few people sacked from their posts that oversaw these abuses.
A real inquiry had to be done, open, televised with everything open and where the fault really lies.
All the political prisoners and people being charged with anything not violent need to be released and cleared.
Until these things start happening, there will be no healing. As for who runs the country, that is still none of my business. But the fish stinks from the head. Does the fact that they are still using excessive force even after this report came out really need to be pointed out here?
And my list of thoughts as I read through the report:
Salmaniya: I am not exactly sure what I think of this section to be honest. For the most part it seems the doctors are cleared. If you put into context what was happening and that BTV was stirring the pot and scaring people away.. I dunno.. Right now I am reading a book called From Beirut to Jerusalem by Dr Swee Chai Ang. She worked in Gaza Hospital, the hospital for the Sabra and Shatila camp during the massacre. While the extent of the atrocities and different, the reactions to the events are similar. I found it striking. (the book is, for some reason I don’t understand, out of print, go find a used copy online, it’s very good) What it does seem to point out is that this whole mess needs to be investigated properly and transparently. IF anything happened that was illegal, real evidence needs to be shown, witnesses questioned and a proper investigation. Although it seems to be pointing that out all over the report.
(910)- No evidence that the demonstrators were armed with weapons. This was such a huge thing. The BICI doesn’t seem to believe that the weapon story from Feb 17.
If the excessive force was seen as early as Feb 14/15. Why wasn’t anything done then? Why did feb 17th happen? Doesn’t 1000 people to clear 1200 protesters seem excessive?? Especially in the middle of the night? This whole night was such an awful mess. I don’t think it has been dug into near as far as it needs to have been. I would also have liked to have seen how that might played out on twitter investigated. The comments from ‘royals’ that night were not helpful. If they want to talk about how twitter and facebook incite and spread sectarianism, that night would have been a good one to investigate.
(934) All I can say is seriously? I can see people getting that far and not reading on
Re: Civilians charged with murder. How much did the BICI dig into those cases? The credibility is so low and torture used so often, to be honest I really don’t have any faith that the people charged and/or convicted with any of the violent cases are the right people. if you are going to have a fair justice system, that is a problem.
The police officer’s deaths: The BICI doesn’t seem to have spent much space on something so heated and controversial. In a fair world, this would be investigated much more openly. This is divisive and needs way more investigation and attention.
I was struck that the BICI used ‘in a manner to inspire terror’ Every time I see the riot police casually walk down the street breaking cars, or hearing about the night raids and how awful they are, my first thought is ‘THIS is what terrorism is’ To see it in the report, floors me.
The report points out flagrant violations and yet this is happening right under the 5th fleet’s nose. Do they really not know?
(1242) Acknowledging that torture happened before Feb 14th. This isn’t new for Bahrain.
(1292) “The Commission recommends that all persons charged with offences involving political expression, not consisting of advocacy of violence, have their convictions reviewed and sentences commuted or, as the case may be, outstanding charges against them dropped” -THIS!!
(1299) Enforced disappearance- The talk about how this is a crime against humanity.. Feels like a warning, or a hint.. This has happened, and I am wondering if they couldn’t investigate it in depth enough. Whether they are warning the GoB about it, or that the people who are saying this has happened need to go do something about it. I found it interesting.
(1706) pointing out ‘under their mandate’? what does that mean? Do they think it has been done before or after?
What I would have liked to seen addressed:
The demolition of the Pearl Roundabout
Surveillance: I would like to see more about blocked websites, about how text messages etc have been rumoured to have come up during interrogations. (I say rumoured, but I believe they are reading everything)
That’s my thoughts for now. I am sure I’ll add more later. Since this gave me nightmares again last night. Sigh.