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Bahrain: Valentine's Day or a Day of Anger?

Categories: Middle East & North Africa, Bahrain, Egypt, Digital Activism, Governance, Human Rights, Politics, Protest

This post is part of our special coverage of Bahrain Protests 2011 [1].

In Bahrain, both online and off, residents have expressed solidarity with Egyptians, even holding a protest [2] at the Egyptian embassy on February 4.  Though the rally was largely a solidarity action, for Bahrain's own opposition, the protest–which was sanctioned with a permit by the government–was an opportunity to vent their own concerns.


Photo by Flickr user malyousif

Taking advantage of a so-called “domino effect” in the Arab world, some Bahrain residents are calling for a February 14 “Day of Anger” in their own country.  On Facebook, a group [4] calls for the 14th to be “revolution day”, while a website [5] by the group Bahraini Youth for Freedom makes a clear declaration of their demands.  On his blog, Mahmood discusses [6] what a revolt in Bahrain could mean:

A quick search of possible “flash dates” in the Arab world resulted in one very close to us; the commemoration of the declaration of these very islands of Bahrain to be a Kingdom. That date of course isFeb 14 [7], just a couple of weeks away.

A smart government would tone down its celebrations at this particular time. A smarter government of course would immediately engage its populace and show them that the long promised reforms are immediately introduced in tangible forms in order not only to momentarily ameliorate their citizens’ senses, but to simply make good on its promises.

What do Bahraini citizens want? Live in dignity and have their basic human rights, and intellect, respected. Translating that into practical terms, I personally think the very first thing that should be enacted is the declaration of an impartial truth and reconciliation committee with all relevant powers, the rescinding of contentious laws, particularly 56/2002 [8] and the enacting free press and respect for freedoms of association and speech.

Will the government be cognizant of these feelings and acquiesce to these reasonable requests? Especially when you consider that these very factors will strengthen their position and perpetuate their rule?

I don’t know. After ten years of promises, I feel its high time that those promises are enacted.

The last thing we need is even more strife in this country. We’ve had enough.


An image found on the February 14 Revolt Facebook Group

On Twitter, Bahrainis are debating the idea.  @BahrainiTweets concedes [10]:

Bahrain does need continuous reform, and brave pple fighting Corruption not idiots trying to ruin Valentine's with a Burning Tire!! #feb14 [11]

@FreedomPrayers has a different concern [12]:

I wonder who is organizing #feb14 [11] anger day if ALL “terrorists” are already jailed, if “national security” done their job right.#Bahrain [13]

@instajoker sees [14] a move from the government to quell the protests:

In anticipation of #feb14 [11] protest the Bahraini King announced that he will inject the budget with 100 million bahraini dinars as subsidies!

Lastly, @emoodz asks a timely question [15]:

The hate of Mubarak brought muslims and christians in Egypt together, what does it take to bring sunni and shia together in#Bahrain [13]?

This post is part of our special coverage of Bahrain Protests 2011 [1].