- Bahrain means "two seas". Heard the joke about what the Khalili wore when he went to Bahrain? "Mayohein" i.e. two swimsuits. Hush, it sounds better in Arabic.
- Capital city is Manama
- Gained independence in 1971
- Amalgamation of about 33 islands
- Smallest Arab country. To give some perspective, Qatar is 16 times bigger.
- Ruled by the Sunni Khalifa dynasty
- Majority are Shiites (70%) who suffer tensions and systematic discriminations at the hands of the governing Sunnis
Call for reform: protesters are not seeking to overthrow the monarchy per se, but they do want more power to be transferred to parliament (which celebrated its tenth anniversary yesterday), as well as economic amendments, the release of political prisoners, the end of the use of torture, and greater political freedom.
Demure response: Lest the Bahrainis get any ideas in their heads in light of Tunisia's and Egypt's successes, the magnanimous king Hamad bin Issa Al-Khalifa sought to bribe-sorry kindly donate 1000 dinars to every household.
Talk about an angry violent storm of locusts swarming uh..violently against the peaceful protesters.
Following these 'bullying and barbaric policies" of the security forces, the opposition Shia group Al-Wefaq withdrew its members from parliament. Ali Abdulhadi Mushaima became the first martyr while the second, Fadhel Salman Matrook, was shot dead at Mushaima's funeral this morning. Security forces attempted to disperse the 10000 strong gathering for the funeral with the same tactics used to disperse yesterday's protests-by firing tear gas. Wonder who supplies them.
To be continued..