Following the clear cut indictment of the dictator and his close lieutenants of torture crimes amounting to crimes against humanity, their allies, mainly in Washington and London came with the idea that killers may be “reformed” if they are helped by Western “experts”. This policy is at the heart of the troubles and calamities befallen the Bahraini population since they started their modern civil resistance ninety years ago.
The announcement that the Al Khalifa would appoint two police officers; an American and a British to overhaul the security services following their exposed crimes against the peole has been dismissed as mere gimmicks and diversionary tactics devoid of any real meaning or useful consequences. In addition to the bad record of each of the two officers, history has its own sad episodes of similar nature in Bahrian. After the first Baharna uprising of 1922 the British appointed Charles Belgrave as a “special financial advisor” to the newly-appointed ruler who has the same name as the present dictator; Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa. The situation gradually became more repressive as people rose up to demand freedom, liberty and a constitution.
After 1954-56 uprising two British officers were brought into the country to help the Al Khalifa deal with the angry population. After 14 people were killed by police forces during the 1965 uprising, the British took the decision to “improve” the police performance by bringing Ian Henderson, the former colonial officer who had been expelled by Oginga Odinga soon after he took office as the Prime Minister of the liberated Kenya. Bahrain went through one of its bleakest periods in the following 35 years as the “Special Branch” tortured Bahrainis to death. During the 1994-1999 uprising more than 40 Bahrainis were killed and thousands tortured.
The response by the Al Khalifa and their British backers was to bring yet another British “expert” to overhaul the notorious security apparatus. David Jump was recruited with big promises by the Foreign Office that a new ear would ensue, free from torture. However more Bahrainis continued to fall at the hands of the torturers, the last of whom during that period was Nooh Khalil Al Nooh. When the present dictator succeeded his father in 1999 the world was duped into believing that a new, democratic era had dawned on the country only to for the people to experience the shock of the life time. Soon after the dictator tore up the country’s constitution, he started a killing spree resulting in the martyrdom of at least five people and the arrest, kidnap and torture of hundreds more before the situation erupted on 14th February.
It is a wishful thinking now that the Bahrainis will be lured again into believable and the ridiculous. For a dictator with people’s blood on his hands to turn into a democray-loving, human rights-respecting ruler the camel needs to be pushed into a needle’s hole.
Bahrainis were greatly disappointed when individuals with international respectability and amicable records in human rights activism agreed to work in an officially-formed and financed commission of investigation. How could a person investigate his paymaster’s corruption and human rights abuses? This crystal clear case of conflict of interests did not deter those people despite their respectable records. How could police officers with no so clean careers and with serious allegations on matter central to their future role maintain their integrity, independence and respectability. In modern world a young professional may care about his/her future, but why should retired officers (whose reputations had been smeared by allegation of professional misconduct, even though they may not have been proven) care about their future given their age, lavish income and promises of more freebies?
Bahrain Freedom Movement
3 December 2011