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Bahrain: Blood, Sex and Incarceration

Mating parakeets in a palm treeGood. You're paying attention now so let's start this week's roundup with the mundane and progress from there:

Mahmood seems to have been branded a pervert for photographing wild parakeets having sex in one of his palm trees and have chosen to nest in his house's eaves. He's been warned; however, to quit this “bird-porn” business as some think that his site will be blocked by virtually the whole Gulf because of the terms used in that article.

Moving on… On the tenth day of Muharram, the first month in the Muslim calendar, an event that took place over 1,300 years ago is commemorated in Bahrain by its Shi'a population as do hundreds of millions of Shi'a Muslims around the world in remembrance of Imam Hussain.

Haidar, a macabre procession during AshooraIn Bahrain, the commemorations have morphed into a cultural event that is now not just the usual expressions of grief which is exhibited by processions of men beating their chests. These events are now streamed on the interneta, something that prompts Tawfiq Al-Rayyash to suggest calling this festival e-Ashoora.

However, some take this expression of grief to extremes by allowing an incision to be made in their scalp so that a copious flow of blood occursa. This bloody precession is called “Haidar” and is a very controversial subject even among leading clerics and Shi'a Marji’ as Tawfiq Al-Rayyash arguesa and concludes that this act damages the reputation of not only the Shi'a, but Islam in general and needs to be stopped. Something that virtually all Bahraini bloggers agree witha.

Michael Jackson after the break…

Michael Jackson has left the island! Good riddance, Mahmood says and breaths a sigh of relief, one that is echoed by others as well. But from the mundane Jackson to Bahrain's very own under-rated superstar; Abdulhadi Khalaf brings to our attention Salman Zaimana, a progressive musician who has had a great impact on the art and artists in Bahrain as is explored in a wide ranging interview in Al-Talee'aa literary weekly magazine from Kuwait.

The main daily newspaper in Bahrain Al-Wasata started a section three days ago highlighting blogs and blogposts. Silly Bahraini Girl is worried on what this might lead to. She argues that: “The fact that Arab media is taking a close look at blogs is alarming to say the least. A few months ago the Information Ministry in Bahrain, for instance, had ordered bloggers to register their blogs with the ministry or else face action, the minute some twit up there realised that there was a new craze called on-line journals. And now Al Wasat is trying to draw attention to bloggers and then the Cabinet and Parliament will hold extraordinary sessions to discuss the matter and we will, I repeat, we will petition the UN to .. to .. I don't know what.”

Haitham Sabbah continues to monitor the international press and asks very valid questions on how they choose to ignore news and takes them to task.

Finally, Mahmood takes on a member of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry who foolishly emailed him an encouragement to boycott Danish products in protest of Jyllands-Posten publishing derogatory cartoons about the Prophet and argues that the Chamber of Commerce should limit its role to taking care of businesses and their business needs, rather than their spiritual ones.

a = in Arabic

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