by Wesley Henry
Tension has mounted in Sitra, a small village near Bahrain’s capital. Protestors were met with tear gas today, asking for a constitutional monarchy. Others said they would not settle for less than to complete oust of the ruling al-Khalifa dynasty.
Two online sources, Al Jazeera and The Guardian released stories following Tuesday, November 22nd’s events. Here is the summary of the stories:
The official commission, appointed by al-Khalifa, is supposed to release a report studying alleged human rights abuse. Opposition leaders have already called for large demonstrations to coincide with the release. Many Bahrainis are skeptical that the report will be fair, partly because of statements made by Cherif Bassiouni, the Egyptian judge who chairs the commission.
His most controversial statement came in August, when he told reporters that there was no evidence of routine torture in Bahrain. He backtracked earlier this month, when he told the Egyptian daily Al-Masry Al-Youm that the commission had uncovered 300 cases of torture, and described it as a “systematic policy”.”They don’t trust the report. This is a commission appointed by the king,” said Yousif al-Muhafdah, a human rights activist. “The people in Bahrain are disappointed with Bassiouni and his commission.”
There is also strong political divides, not just between government and the opposition, but within the ruling family.
The uprising began in mid-February when protestors demanding political reform took over Pearl Roundabout in Manama. Initially the protestors were met with live ammunition to clear the square. Al-Khalifa apologized for the violence and let people back in the square. Below is a picture taken of Pearl Roundabout prior to it being destroyed.
While comparing the two articles from Al Jazeera and The Guardian, I noticed that The Guardian’s article mainly focused on the protests themselves, and not on the bigger picture. They honed in on the abusive nature and drama surrounding the demonstrations, and interviewed people who experienced the protest first-hand.
Al Jazeera talks about the political problems concerning al-Khalifa and the five-member council he appointed to study the alleged reports of human rights abuses.
Both reported that in lieu of the Arab Spring, many do not feel that “a fancy party and a glossy report” will end the uprising. This is a much deeper rooted problem; a minority Sunni ruling a Shia majority, 35 people dead and hundreds wounded or imprisoned for wanting equal rights, and dozens of mosques demolished, Bahrain is sitting on the edge, hoping there is no more violence to come.
To me, Al Jazeera reported on the story more effectively. The Guardian seemed to make more emotional comments or conclusions than Al Jazeera did. I feel that both equally reported on the political strains concerning al-Khalifa and his committees, described the turmoil surrounding the demonstrations, and the overall demeanor of the people in Bahrain. Here are both stories, you can compare for yourself:
The Guardian story:
The Al Jazeera story: