Spreading truth of Bahrain

Andrew Messamore

[Updated at 5:06 p.m., monetary value error]

Footage of executions, beatings and police brutality flooded projection screens at Mezes Hall Thursday evening during a showing of Al Jazeera’s documentary “Bahrain: Shouting in the Dark” for an audience of around 150, hosted by the Society for Islamic Awareness.

Created by journalists from the Qatar based news channel Al Jazeera, the documentary tells the story of the 2011 Bahrain Uprising, an Arab spring movement which seeks to create a constitutional monarchy in the Kingdom of Bahrain.

The documentary follows the uprising from its beginnings at the Pearl Roundabout area in Bahrain’s capital of Manama to the arrests and torture of protesters by the Bahrain military and soldiers from the Gulf Cooperation Council, a coalition of six major nations on the Arabian peninsula.

Up until recently the United States had been supplying arms to Bahrain and the Gulf Cooperation Council, said Saif Kazim, general secretary of the society. Members said they hope to encourage UT students to support a reversal on a $53 million arms deal between the U.S and Bahrain, scheduled to go before Congress for vote on Nov. 23 after conclusions from a human rights probe by the Bahrani government have been published.

“Unfortunately, the outcomes of the current human rights probe depend on the Bahraini government, which is a bit fixed to say the least. We want to raise awareness about this vast crackdown on human rights,” Kazim said. “We feel like we shouldn’t be supporting this kind of monarchy and that we should create a public discussion about the events in Bahrain.”

Ehssan Faraji, regular events chair of the society, began the evening with a statement about the current state of Bahrain and asked the audience to take action and write to their representatives to continue to ban U.S. arms deals with Bahrain.

“For decades the masses in Bahrain have been oppressed by the ruling Al Khalifa family and on Feb. 14 they came out to protest the rule of monarchy, inspired by events in Egypt and Tunisia,” Faraji said.

“Despite oppression, we are seeing the flourishing of a democratic movement in Bahrain.”

This is the first UT screening of the documentary since its release on Aug. 4 and the society hopes that its release will create more awareness and dialogue about Islam, hopefully impacting the events in Bahrain, said Mohammed Dhanjy, president of the society.

“There’s this perception that things have calmed down a lot, but there’s still reports and arrests and the government is still cracking down on protestors,” Kazim said. “We need to let people know that this is unacceptable.”