'Bahraini regime must stop aggression'
A prominent political advocate says the Bahraini kingdom is brutally cracking down on peaceful protesters that are demanding a democratic government
A prominent political advocate says the Bahraini kingdom is brutally cracking down on peaceful protesters that are demanding a democratic government.
Press TV has conducted an interview with Maher Saloum, Ambassador for the Universal Peace Foundation, to further discuss the issue.
The following is a transcription of the interview.
Press TV: Tell us what you think, a year has gone by and we’re still seeing on two fronts a similar approach - the Bahrainis relentless in coming out onto the streets and demonstrating, and the regime there in their crackdown.
Saloum: It is a sad anniversary until now for the people of Bahrain and to myself as a human rights activist plus a peace ambassador. I would love to see more involvement by the international community through the media that they have supported either cases in Syria or in Libya, let’s say, but they didn’t give enough support or fair share for the Bahraini case and specifically the oppositionists inside Bahrain.
Now, to me there’s a very important issue, my friend in Tehran. The women’s international human rights agencies, I have not seen their real involvement such as the Union of the International Women. It so happens that my mother is part of the Lebanese Women’s Council and they have been trying hard to condemn such acts in Bahrain today.
Now, the International Community of Women’s Associations have not even supported anything with the oppositionists because women have been tortured, women have even been raped, and women have been detained politically inside the prisons of Bahrain by the kingdom itself and by the government of Bahrain, for sure under the orders of the king himself and his best aides, I meant the police - high ranking officers or security agencies inside Bahrain. Do not forget with the help of the [P]GCC shield or the [P]GCC power broker which is Saudi Arabia empowering Bahrain and intervening inside an Arab state, which is the neighboring state, and this is Bahrain.
According to the [Persian] Gulf States, this is not unusual. This is usual aggressive, let’s say to us, attack by the Saudis, even the government or the military spokesman and military healers inside Saudi Arabia specifically close to the east which is, geographically speaking, very close to the Bahraini kingdom itself.
I urge and I do condemn so far any atrocities and any aggression by the kingdom itself and its own government against the people of Bahrain. I do agree with my colleague from anywhere in the world right now, he was speaking about that, it should be civil and peaceful, and it should not be tolerated by us or any supporter for this revolution in Bahrain for the strikes inside Bahrain against the government because we do not need to have a reason for the Bahraini army itself to attack such an opposition or to have any reason to brutally attack them once again or to have massacres towards the people or their own people inside Bahrain.
We are looking ahead and we hopefully see a democratic intermediary role by the government itself or by the oppositionists as political parties or NGOs such as al-Wifaq headed by Shiekh Ali Salman, a major shia cleric, actually religious leaders that have been peacefully trained to calm down their own supporters on the streets of Bahrain, and they have been working hard towards their own cases and their own issues which is human rights and end to corruption. These are the main issues that the people are fighting for or looking for, job opportunities, economic share for shias and sunnis inside the Bahrain kingdom.
So there are tens of issues that should stay inside the political situation or democratic situation inside Manama and major cities inside Bahrain.
Press TV: What country is going to be able to come in and break open the situation in Bahrain in order for there to be resolve which would gain momentum on an international level? At this point, one year on, is there going to be one country that is able to do this or are we looking at the regime there coming to terms with possible reforms or any type of a channel to be established with the opposition?
Saloum: Excellent question from Tehran there. Yes, I believe that there could be an intervention by any state that is neutral to both parties, I mean the oppositionists and the loyalists to government of king al-Khalifa. But to find one is a bit hard today, I believe so.
But what we ought to do is to have more pressure on the kingdom itself whether by the media, by international borders or organizations - the United Nations.
Where is the United Nations so far? -The umbrella of human rights in the world (sic). Why have they not interfered such as they have in Syria, for example today where Doctor Ali Abdullah is there today and I salute him, and I salute his own president.
Now, what we ought to do is that we need to think about strategizing or we need to think about a certain plan, diplomatically, and think about dialogue between conflicting factions today in Bahrain. We have the oppositionists on one side, and we have the king and his government on one other side.
Now, he has been working hard the past two weeks, not to give him the benefit of the doubt, but to have a democratically transition period inside Bahrain today is a bit difficult if we ought not to accept those issues, concerns and difficulties that the people have been in pain so far since a year ago until now - and this is their anniversary!
The government itself should have given enough support to its own people, democratically speaking, and giving the freedom of choice which is the basic human rights in any country in the world under the Geneva Convention or under the United Nations charter for human rights which is in New York City, inside the United States.
Why doesn’t the United States, so far, pressure? -And the European continent and the Commission itself? They need to pressure the king himself. Why not the Saudis, the Kuwaitis and the Qataris? And even the Emirates?
There’s not enough pressure on the king to make him look like a puppet from the West in order for the West to play a role which is giving a carrot in one hand - I meant by the king to his own people - and then the stick in the other hand?
This is the democratic style of Barrack Obama or any president which came from the Democratic Party. This is their style, actually, the Americans when they are Democrats and they lead the way inside the White House.
What we ought to look for is real ceasefire between the two factions, look for strong voices correlating or there’s a participating approach by both conflicting parties, we ought to convene as peace ambassadors and even the United Nations itself.
We ought to think about human rights agencies and activities to be indulged now as soon as possible inside Bahrain because there’s enough bloodshed, enough brutality, enough aggression against women, children and elderly people, unfortunately.
People over 60 years of age cannot take a stick by the police officers or any order by their rifles or shotguns. We need to have a certain peace within ourselves to believe that we can create peace inside Bahrain.
So, I urge the king himself and the government of Bahrain to stop the aggression and lack of motivation by the people against his own government because they do not have confidence so far. And confidence cannot be created unless you have enough peacefulness inside you, you have enough concerns that what you need shall not be retaliated but responded by your own government.
Then, hence, we can look for a peaceful situation and a new democratic transitional period where the oppositionists shall lead with a new government and hopefully a more democratic state of Bahrain, not only a kingdom but through a different constitution that shall provide human rights values and issues, rights and obligations towards the citizens of the new state of Bahrain.
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