Friday, 27 April 2012

#Bahrain I did my best

A letter to all the people I love, to all the people who care for humanity, and to all the oppressed people in Bahrain.


Dear Friend,

I didn't realise what a great man Abdulhadi al-Khawaja was until I had a dream about him several weeks back that had a huge impact on me. Waking up that morning I found myself crying for a man that I had never met before and knew little about. I had been hit with the realisation of just how great a man Abdulhadi al-Khawaja is, and yet I continued to watch the tweets and read what was happening to him, but do nothing.

Last week however, in the run up to the Formula One, I realised that this gentle hero was lying silently in his bed, enduring the pain of starvation, preparing himself for his final days, for the people that he loved the most, for Bahrain, and for humanity. And yet, all the while, the Formula 1 circus kicked up a noisy storm.

I wanted to do something to let the world know about this man, who could silently slip away whilst the cars roared out their engines. I started to tweet, but it wasn't enough. I wanted to act, but then it hit me, I was too late, his appeal was due in only a few days, and he didn't have long left to live. I felt guilty, that I had realised his greatness more than a month beforehand, and had done nothing to let other people know. So I wrote him a letter and made him a card. I didn't know if he would ever see them, but I just had to try, and some other people who felt the same wrote letters too.

So this week we had another chance, to tell the world about the hero of Bahrain, and I wasn't going to let it slip me by. I began to pray and fast with diligence, and to call on tweeps to help write emails to people around the world. Our objective, whether he was heading to freedom or martyrdom, was to ensure that his greatness did not pass by without being noticed.

We began campaign #Action4Khawaja where I wrote some tasks and set target numbers of emails for each - which we achieved, and then everyone began to write their own actions and support those of others which we called #MyAction4Khawaja, and then finally today I wrote one more set of actions called #Act4Khawaja and asked people to complete these too.

We noticed that as soon as we started to act together, we had power, and we started to see immediate results to our calls for action.

So I worked really hard this week. I hardly slept at all. I feel exhausted now but with some peace that I really did do as much as I could. Now if I don't go and tidy the house and look after my children I realise I might just get kicked out, so I'm not going to be able to do a lot more at the weekend (but will try).

Abduhadi al-Khawaja's appeal is due to give its verdict on Monday I understand. I am concerned that we have not done enough. I am wary that he may not even be alive. But this was our chance to get his message out to the world - and through him the message of the struggle for humanity in Bahrain. We made a good start - but I don't feel like this job is complete.

So I'm asking for your help. I need you to write, as much as you can, and to ask everyone you know to do the same. These are the actions:

Please do what you can to ensure the world gets to hear about this great man, before his appeal on Monday.

Thank-you!

Frankie


#Act4Khawaja

Interview of Abdulhadi al-Khawaja with @chanadbh in 2005


Our latest set of actions, for you to tweet, retweet, post to Facebook and Google +, blog about, and of course COMPLETE with the #Act4Khawaja tag are as follows:

#Act4Khawaja No 1 Contact Prince Charles ask him 2 speak up 2 save human rights hero #alKhawaja 4 humanity http://www.princeofwales.gov.uk/contactus/ #Bahrain

#Act4Khawaja No 2 Contact Richard Branson on Twitter,FB,G+,blog (post comments) ask him to help save our hero http://www.virgin.com/richard-branson #Bahrain

#Act4Khawaja No 3 Tell Aung San Suu Kyi of #Khawaja's struggle for democracy + human rights. Ask 4 urgent help http://www.nldla.net/?page_id=10 #Bahrain

#Act4Khawaja No 4 Contact Nick Clegg https://www.libdems.org.uk/contact.aspx (select Nick Clegg in subject box) ask him to speak out urgently about #Alkhawaja

#Act4Khawaja No 5 Email zibran.choudhury@ycareinternational.org address to Terry Waite. Tell him about #AlKhawaja Ask 4 help. #Bahrain http://t.co/2FXRcMXk

#Act4Khawaja No 6 Tweet+FB Donald Trump explain how #AlKhawaja release important 4 stability of world economy ask4help http://www.trump.com/Donald_J_Trump/Donald_J_Trump.asp

#Act4Khawaja No 7 Contact President of Russia,Dmitry Medvedev,ask 4 urgent intervention 4 #AlKhawaja 4 peace+stability http://t.co/hqk1gHRe

#Act4Khawaja No 8 Contact Bill Gates http://www.thegatesnotes.com/GlobalPages/Contact-Bill-Gates +tweet @BillGates Ask 4 help 2 solve urgent humanitarian world problem #AlKhawaja

#Act4Khawaja No 9 Contact Bill Clinton http://www.clintonfoundation.org/contactus/ + @ClintonTweet + http://t.co/3HapTHkc ask him to use his influence 2 make a difference 4 #AlKhawaja

#Act4Khawaja No 10 email Brad+Angelina via http://www.mjpasia.org/index.html  info@mjpasia.org ask 4 email 2 be forwarded urgently. Stress threat 2 peace.
This photo, taken by @MaryFletchJones
is free for you to use and distribute to media


Please tweet me when you complete a task with the tag + task number so I can keep a track of progress, or reply to the tweet that set the task. Thanks! @frankiedolan

When you have complete these make sure to also complete previous actions #Action4Khawaja and then continue to support #MyAction4Khawaja

I realise some people have a feeling of despair and sadness, worrying whether Abdulhadi AlKhawaja is still alive or not. But we must not give up on him, and whatever happens we must make sure the whole world knows about him, so if you feel like crying that's fine, but don't stop typing your emails whilst you cry!

You may like to use some of the info/links on this page.




Wednesday, 25 April 2012

#MyAction4Khawaja

If you would like to save our human rights hero Abdulhadi al-Khawaja from starvation (as of writing now on 77th day of hungerstrike in prison in Bahrain), first complete these #Action4Khawaja actions here and then #Act4Khawaja actions here.

Once you have done both those, then join us with #MyAction4Khawaja details below.

These are the rules:


Tweet a simple action that you have done/will be doing, that everyone else can do also. Tweet with clear guidance and a link or email address to complete the task. Make sure to use the #MyAction4Khawaja tag on the tweet.

Once you have completed your action, then go and complete someone else's action. Once you have completed an action, reply to the tweet that set the action in the first place (make sure to reply against the tweet, not directly to the person, so that we can all see who has completed which actions).

Tip: make your actions clear and concise. Eg. don't say 'email every member of parliament', instead give a single name with an email address or form to complete.

I will be updating this blog with actions people have publish throughout the campaign, which will continue now until the end of Abdulhadi al-Khawaja's imprisonment.

*********************************************************************************

Actions for you to complete:

(This list will be updated throughout the campaign with new actions. But don't forget to write your own too!)

@FrankieDolan
#MyAction4Khawaja Email George Galloway ask him to speak out urgently in UK parliament about #AlKhawaja george.galloway.mp@parliament.uk
Update: we have now got action on this but you can still email to thank George!

#MyAction4Khawaja Email Jeremy Corbyn MP ask him to speak out urgently in UK Parliament about #AlKhawaja jeremy.corbyn.mp@parliament.uk

@SonsOfSarcasm
#MyAction4Khawaja Ask Baroness Warsi chairman@conservatives.com to urgently publicise Abdulhadi al-Khawaja's case in the House of Lords.

@ElaineMasons
#MyAction4Khawaja I tweeted @BonoVox_ aka Bono from U2, asked him to help by Speaking Out for Hunger Striker, Abdulhadi AlKhawaja #bahrain

#MyAction4Khawaja  Ask to speek about #Alkhawaja he is missing write now on his 77 days of hunger strike.

@jackiesmith63
#MyAction4Khawaja just emailed Ban Ki Moon ecu@un.org urgently about his disappearance #Bahrain #Alkhawaja

tweet ask them to save #Alkhawaja the human rights hero by taking an action #Bahrain

@yaqeen_BH
 #MyAction4Khawaja (tweet ) ask him to take an action about #Alkhawaja the human rights hero #Bahrain.

@yaqeen_BH
#MyAction4Khawaja tweet ask him to save #Alkhawaja the human rights hero by taking an action #Bahrain

Sorry there are too many actions now for me to keep updating, so please just have a look at the #MyAction4Khawaja tag on Twitter and support some of the actions you find there by doing what they say and then tweeting the author to tell them you have completed the action.


**********************************************************************************

Ideas for Actions

Write an email/complete a contact form to: a politician/journalist/celebrity/organisation, asking for help to save our hero. Google to find the correct contact form or email address. For example I just Googled 'contact George Galloway' and I soon found his contact details.

Ideas for Writing Emails

Write from the heart. Say why this issue is important to you personally. Offer some extra facts or links that may be of help to the reader to understand. Maybe offer a suggestion of what they could do to help (ie. raise the matter in parliament, publish a statement of concern, contact the Bahraini government to express concern). Don't worry if you are not good at writing, it is more important that you write something rather than nothing.

Here's an email I sent to George Galloway that may give you some ideas - but just use your own style, say whatever comes to your mind. If you are Bahraini explain what this man means to you and your country, and you may also wish to write about your daily struggle in Bahrain.

Other Languages

It would be great if some of you could start actions in different countries,writing in your own language to try and raise more awareness of this issue worldwide. 


Help

If you want any further guidance then send me a direct message of Twitter. If I am not following you just let me know and I will. @frankiedolan

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

#Action4Khawaja

Will you join our urgent action for Abdulhadi a-lKhawaja? He's a human rights hero on day 77th of his hungerstrike in Bahrain. Further info on how great he is and how much we love him you can find here.

I'm tweeting actions throughout the day to complete on the Twitter #Action4Khawaja tag. Once you have completed an action then tweet me to let me know you have with the action number. I'll be setting targets for each action for us to achieve before I move on to the next action.

Actions completed so far are as follows:

#Action4Khawaja No 1:email news@sky.com newsonline@bskyb.com radio@bskyb.com ask 4 urgent coverage on #Alkhawaja #Bahrain say why important
Target: 10 actions - now completed but please do anyway!

#Action4Khawaja No 2 Fill in: http://news.bbc.co.uk/newswatch/ukfs/hi/newsid_4030000/newsid_4032600/4032695.stm ask BBC to cover #AlKhawaja story but NOT with Frank Gardner he don't understand #Bahrain
Target: 15 actions - now completed but please do anyway!

#Action4Khawaja No 3 email news@channel4.com ask them 2 cover story on #AlKhawaja tell them why important+then tweet @channel4news #Bahrain
Target: 20 actions - now completed but please do anyway!

#Action4Khawaja No 4 write to UK PM Cameron ask 4 urgent LOUD intervention 4 #AlKhawaja not quiet diplomacy! https://email.number10.gov.uk/Contact.aspx #Bahrain
Target: 25 actions - now completed but please do anyway! 

#Action4Khawaja No 5 No 5 Ask CNN to cover story urgently, tell them why it is soooo important! http://edition.cnn.com/feedback/tips/newstips.html  #Bahrain 
Target: 30 actions - now completed but please do anyway!

#Action4Khawaja No 6  ask Obama 4 urgent LOUD intervention 4 #AlKhawaja (select 'international' option 4 address fields) http://www.whitehouse.gov/contact/submit-questions-and-comments #Bahrain
Target: 35 actions - now completed but please do anyway!

#Action4Khawaja No 7 Ask AlJazeera to cover #AlKhawaja story urgently + *in depth* tell them why so important http://www.aljazeera.com/Services/ArticleTools/SendFeedback.aspx?GUID=2008525184028476209 #Bahrain
Target: 40 actions - now completed but please do anyway!


#Action4Khawaja No 8 Ask Kofi Annan to do anything he can to intervene personally + urgently to save our human rights hero #AlKhawaja http://kofiannanfoundation.org/contact #Bahrain
Target: 45 actions - now completed but please do anyway!

#Action4Khawaja No 9 Contact Desmond Tutu ask 4 his help 2 save #HumanRights hero #AlKhawaja from starvation http://www.tutu.org/contact.php #Bahrain
Target: 50 actions - in progress...

#Action4Khawaja No 10 Light a candle, say a prayer + be silent. Feel the same peace that #Alkhawaja feels right now because you acted.
Target: 1000+ actions - in progress..

Please tweet me as you complete an action with the action number so I can keep track.
You can find me on @frankiedolan
Hurry though, tomorrow could be too late.
Thanks!

Once you have completed #Action4Khawaja please move on to #Act4Khawaja and then #MyAction4Khawaja

Monday, 23 April 2012

Abdulhadi #alKhawaja : The Hero I love : Fight for Humanity #Bahrain

The Letter I Wrote 

Dear Mr Alkhawaja,

You don't know me, and I never met you. I live in the UK and I've never even been to Bahrain. But I just wanted you to know that your peaceful resistance against oppression and your struggle for human rights has inspired me, and I know many other people around the world too.

I understand you are in the final days of a hunger strike, to'freedom or death'. I know you are a great man that does not fear death, and after the way you have been treated I wouldn't be at all surprised if you'd had enough of this world. I also know that the angels will be having one huge party the day you join them in Heaven.

But I just wanted to tell you that if you die it is going to be a huge loss for mankind. I hope and pray you will hang on and give us a little more time to help get you out. There are a lot of people now working hard in different countries to try and secure your release and news about your struggle and suffering is spreading all the time.

Love and prayers,

Ms Frankie Dolan

الرسالة التي كتبتها للأستاذ الخواجة

عزيزي السيد الخواجة
انت لا تعرفني وأنا لم التق بك مطلقا فأنا أعيش في المملكة المتحدة ولم أزر البحرين مسبقا. لكني اريد فقط أن تعرف سلميتك المناهضة للظلم والعنف وكفاحك لأجل حقوق الإنسان كان مصدر إلهام لي ولكثر آخرين حول العالم أيضا.

أنا أعرف بأنك في آخر أيام إضرابك ( حرية أو شهادة ) وأعرف بأنك رجل عظيم لا يهاب الموت ولا يفاجئني ذلك بعد كل ما لاقيته من سوء معاملة.

أنا أيضا اعلم بأن الملائكة ستحظى باحتفالية عظمى تستقبلك بها في اليوم الذي سيجمعك بهم في الجنة.

ولكن ارغب بأن اخبرك أن في موتك خسارة كبرى للبشرية وأني آمل وأصلي لتصمد أكثر وتعطينا مزيد من الوقت لمساعدتك في نيل حريتك.

الكثير من مختلف الدول يعملون جاهدين لحماية حقك في حريتك ونشر قضية كفاحك ومعاناتك دائما وأبدا.

مع حبي ودعائي

Ms Frankie Dolan

The Candle I Lit


  The Poem I Found

Rose by Dheeraj Haran


A single rose to lane
A single rose to slain
A single rose to hide my pain

A single rose to turn the tide
A single rose to make roads wide
A single rose as my guild

A single rose to rise the soul
A single rose to widen the hole
A single rose to achieve a goal

A single rose to melt the heart
A single rose to force a start
A single rose to cult

A single rose to freeze my body
A single rose to mourn this memory
A single rose to start a life
A single rose to end the strife

(Note to poet: Dheeraj I couldn't find out how to contact you to get your permission to post this so if you are reading this please let me know if it is ok. Beautiful poem, thanks!)

The Card I Made


The Hero I Love















What They Did to Him

The Words He Spoke



The Letter He Wrote


"My dear & beloved family, from behind prison bars, I send to you my love & yearning. From a free man, to a free family. These prison walls don't separate me from you, they bring us closer together. Our connection & determination is stronger than ever. We take our strength, from beautiful memories. Remembering every trip, every meal we ate together, all the conversations, remembering every smile, all the jokes & the laughter. The distance between us disappears, thru our love & faith. 
It's true: I am in here, & you are out there. But, you are in here with me, and I am out there with you. Our pain is made more bearable when we remember we chose this difficult path & took an oath to remain on it. We must not only remain patient thru our suffering, we must never allow the pain to conquer our souls. Let our hearts be filled with joy, and an acceptance of the responsibility we have been given for in the end, this life is about finding a path of truth towards God."

The Instructions He Gave

Tweeted by Zainab al-Khawaja his daughter @angryarabia on 20th April 2012

  • Urgent: My father called now, he asked us to try and get him an urgent visit by his lawyer to write his will
  • He said, if they won't allow the lawyer to see him, he has three things he would like everyone to know
  • 1st: he is completely convinced in what he is doing, and that he has chosen this path & wud choose it again if time goes back
  • 2nd: he asks that nobody attempts to go on a similar strike til death
  • Finally my father said "if I die, in the next 24 hrs, I ask the ppl to continue on path of peaceful resistance...
  • My father continued "... I don't want anybody to be hurt in my name"
  • My father has stopped drinking even water since yesterday
  • As my father finished saying his will to us, the line was cut. He did not say goodbye

 

The Life He Has Lived

 

 

The Words They Wrote

To Him

 

For Him

 

About Him


The Demonstrations they Attended


  


(Note regarding videos and images: I did not have time to seek permission to use these since this man may only have hours left to live, I did not want to delay posting this. If you own any media on this site you would like me to remove just let me know and I will do so no problem. Thanks!)




 


The Hungerstrike in Solidarity they Joined

  The News They Reported

 

The Petitions You Need to Sign

Amnesty
Avaaz to Hilary Clinton

BCHR to Bahrain Government

 

URGENT: Abdulhadi al-Khawaja may only have days or hours left to live, but we must try our best to fight for this life as it represents the struggle for human rights and liberty worldwide.

 

The Campaign You Should Join


 #Write4Khawaja 


More Actions You Could Take

  1. Follow the Facebook Page
  2. Follow his family on Twitter: @angryarabiya  @maryamalkhawaja  @tublani2010
  3. Write your own letter to Abdulhadi al-Khawaja. Post it on your blog if you have one, or to Facebook, or anywhere else you want. If you use Twitter you can use Twitlonger Post a link to the letter with including the #DearAlkhawaja tag in the text so that we can find it and we will add it here (or post a link to it in the comments here below).  You may even like to hand write the letter, or make a card, or draw a picture for him and then take a photo of that and post it online.
  4. Send your letter/card/picture to the Bahrain Defense Hospital where Abdulhadi al-Khawaja is now being kept. We do not know if this correspondence will be passed on or not but we think we should at least try. You may use post and/or send a fax. Contact details for the hospital can be found here.
  5. Light a candle for Abdulhadi al-Khawaja to remind you of his struggle and keep it burning in your home (please do this safely, blow out before you sleep, and do not leave the candle unattended). Post a photo of your freedom candle online.
  6. Contact your member of parliament, plus any other politician that you think you should reach out to, plus your world leader (prime minister/president). Sorry we can't post details on how to do this for every country but if you Google your own government you should be able to find out how to contact them by email.
  7. Contact your media outlets and ask them to cover this story. Tell them why this is so important, and what he means to you personally. Write a list of all the main tv channels, radio stations and newspapers then Google them to find out their contact details.
  8. Contact any human rights organisation you are involved with, ask them if they could support this campaign too, even if it is not related directly to their work. Perhaps they could donate one day of campaigning for this great man, for the sake of the struggle for universal human rights.
  9. Tell your friends about this and ask them to get involved too. Tweet this page of action, post to Facebook and to Use the #Alkhawaja tag on Twitter. Also post to Google+ and write blog posts. If you like post a personal message of support to YouTube. Post your actions in the comments below.
  10. Pray for Abdulhadi al-Khawaja and his family.

LASTEST NEWS: Day 100 of hungerstrike!!! Appeal ongoing but he is very weak. Please act now.

If you would like to help me campaign for Abdulhadi al-Khawaja, with whatever creative ideas you may think of, please get in touch.



Post any more ideas here. You can also contact me via Twitter @frankiedolan


Monday, 16 April 2012

#DearAlkhawaja in #Bahrain

Dear Mr Alkhawaja,

You don't know me, and I never met you. I live in the UK and I've never even been to Bahrain. But I just wanted you to know that your peaceful resistance against oppression and your struggle for human rights has inspired me, and I know many other people around the world too.

I understand you are in the final days of a hunger strike, to'freedom or death'. I know you are a great man that does not fear death, and after the way you have been treated I wouldn't be at all surprised if you'd had enough of this world. I also know that the angels will be having one huge party the day you join them in Heaven.

But I just wanted to tell you that if you die it is going to be a huge loss for mankind. I hope and pray you will hang on and give us a little more time to help get you out. There are a lot of people now working hard in different countries to try and secure your release and news about your struggle and suffering is spreading all the time.

Love and prayers,

Ms Frankie Dolan

Saturday, 14 April 2012

Debunking the #Bahrain Sunni Shia Sectarian Myth

No Sunni
No Shia
I am Bahraini

Inspired by the international media fixation on sectarianism in Bahrain, a distortion that the government appears to hide behind as an excuse for the continued oppression of a large percentage of its people (of whom the majority happen to be Shia), I decided it about time to present some evidence (since it appears that at least one international news channel often appears to base reporting on so called 'facts' put out as propaganda without asking the people on the ground).

No Sunni No Shiite I'm Bahraini

I've seen and heard evidence to suggest that there is indeed hatred and discrimination towards
the Shia population - however this hatred is in no way projected from all Sunnis, only those supporting the regime that have been misled by a constant diet of controlled propaganda in the media that has intentionally sought to 'divide an conquer' the population.

With my blood I protect you my Shiite brother


But the protesters in Bahrain refuse to fall into such a trap, and I have seen no such evidence to suggest that Shia people are demonstrating any hatred towards their Sunni neighbors. On the contrary, time and time again the people have been fighting against sectarian propaganda. I have never seen a single demonstration take place on sectarian grounds - all protesters have been fighting against corruption, pleading for democracy, and demanding basic human rights. To report anything other than this is simply not factual.

Sunni and Shia Muslims praying together at the roundabout in Bahrain


Here I have put together (with the help of the truly amazing people in Bahrain, both Sunni and Shia) a collection of images and video footage that show the extent of this effort to debunk the propaganda myth of sectarianism. I have found such efforts to be very moving and worthy of international media coverage - yet to this day it appears to get none.



Sunni and Shia opposition leaders demonstrating no secterian division



Suni and Shia girls protesting together



I love you Sunni



Sunni & Shia are brothers, we won't sell our homeland



No Sunni, No Shia, only Bahraini

Sunni + Shia = Better Bahrain

Sunni protester with Shia
(before the government demolished the Pearl Monument)

Sunni and Shia Muslims praying together at site of a government demolished mosque

My Sunni brother, I love you and I will protect you with my soul


Not Sunni Not Shia, National Unity (left)
One blood .. One nation for freedom, for freedom
(right)


Not Sunni Not Shia, we want a public government

The heart is beating .. I am Bahraini
The National Unity (in yellow font)


Sunni and Shia are brothers .. we will not sell our country


One nation .. will not tear into two, not Sunni not Shia (but) Bahraini people
(Hand shaking between Sunni & Shia)

Sunni & Shia are all brothers..let’s get down to the square (Pearl Roundabout)


Not Sunni Not Shia, National Unity




This was a human chain running from the Al-Fateh (Sunnit) mosque to the Pearl roundabout. They are chanting 'we are brothers, Sunni and Shia'.




Demonstrators at the Lulu roundabout discuss how the place is for both Sunni and Shia, that Sunni and Shia are brothers for ever, and this is proof for all the world to see. Their demands are that they want a government chosen by the people, just as other people are able to around the world. They discuss how peaceful the movement is and how it is a united place, breathing freedom.



Huge crowd chanting 'we are brothers, Sunni and Shia'.

SUGGESTION: before international media report again that Bahrain unrest is a result of secterian tension, they would do well to first examine the evidence.

(if anyone would like to add to the collection please post links in the comments section below thanks!)


Thursday, 12 April 2012

Self-Examination: #UK Involvement in #Bahrain

I remember reading an article a few years back entitled 'Who will save Israel from Itself?' author Mark Levine wrote then that 'Israelis are clearly incapable.' But I felt that probably it had to be at least Jewish people who might rise up and correct their own kind. It was easy for me to support the persecuted in Gaza, but quite a different thing for me to speak out against Israeli policy - for sure I would have been labelled anti-Semitic.

I started to look for Jewish people that were brave enough to speak out against the bombing of Gaza and then I cam across Max Blumenthal in this video:


Max Blumenthal is able to record such a documentary because:
a. he is Jewish (American Jewish)
and
b. he is very funny (well I think he is!)

It is only right that a Jewish person does this, and no-one else. When I was a teenager I was always complaining about my parents to my best friend - I had the right to do this - they were my parents - but she knew that it was her duty to listen, and understand, but never ever to say a bad word about them herself!

Max Blumenthal continues to be an inspiration to me to this day. You can follow him on Twitter here. He is one of my heroes, not because I continue to be dismayed at the way Palestinians are denied their rights, not because he is very witty, but because he is brave enough to look at his own people and to speak out against them when he sees something wrong - in the face of much criticism and at the risk of being labelled a traitor. I was pleased to see he was nominated as a Jewish Community Hero last year too.

Now I find myself heavily involved in campaigning for the rights of the oppressed people in Bahrain, a crisis I have found myself drawn into following my support for medical neutrality. I'm starting to think the only way out of their mess is when 'pro gov' Bahrainis themselves start speaking out against their government and in support of human rights. And I'm wondering which members of the Khalifa family will save the regime from themselves? Will it be the Crown Prince? And will he get the support he would need to make a difference? And when will the rest of those people with a conscience who are currently silent find the courage to speak out against their own kind?

But all the time I have this 'niggle' at the back of my mind that reminds me of a verse I learnt from the Bible whilst at school:

Why do you see the speck that is in your brother's eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother's eye. Matthew 7:3-5

The problem is of course that the British have been responsible for a huge number of atrocities all around the world, exploiting natural resources and helping itself to slave labour, all under the disguise of the Great British Empire, and the effects of this destruction are apparent even today. We are happy to preach democracy, but the sad fact of the matter is that many countries today do not have democracy because of British involvement.

This was never taught to me at school in my history lessons. No surprise that I was taught instead all about the 'Great' in Britain. I was actually a little confused in my geography lessons when I got to take a proper look at the atlas and started to realise that Britain was percentage wise actually a really small part of the world. I'm still not too great at history, largely ignorant, but I've decided that it is about time I started to get to grips with reality and to unravel the mess made by my ancestors (some of them no doubt still living).

Of course the mess made has been HUGE, so I'll just start with one little topic: not very distant history this one, actually still in living memory today, well still alive (at least he is at the time of writing as far as I know).

Whilst even the Daily Mail and the Daily Mirror decide to take the high ground in regards to Bahrain, I have come to learn that Britain, not surprisingly, has played its part in building up this regime that thrives on oppression, and have conveniently forgotten the way it has happily exported inhumane and barbaric policing and security practices in particular through the provision of British Ian Henderson who remained head of security for Bahrain for 30 years and was rumoured to be acting as a consultant even last year at the time of the uprising (and recommencement of torture incidentally).


The UK opened an investigation into Henderson in 2000 after repeated calls to do so from human rights organisations, but then closed his file in 2008 because 'there is no realistic prospect of securing a conviction'. What does that mean??? Since when is this a good reason for closing a suspected torturer's file? I understand that Henderson has never even been called in for questioning, despite at least annual trips home to the UK.

Maybe if the UK had called Henderson to account years ago when they should have then things might be different in Bahrain now? But this guy is still alive, still owns a house in Devon, if they are quick they could still try hold him account before he dies - and so they must.

How the UK government can take the moral high ground without first calling in its own citizens for questioning when there is clear evidence that they have been involved in torture is troubling, especially to me a Brit. I'm drawing inspiration from Max Blumenthal and reckon it is about time I start speaking up against my own kind.