Bahrain doctor: If US loses the faith of people like me, it loses the Mideast
Washington’s tepid response to Bahrain's crackdown on nonviolent protesters has forced me to question what America really stands for. Obama must tell the ruling family to stop attacking protesters and to drop sham charges against medics like me and hundreds of others.
(Page 2 of 2)
Like people in other Arab Spring countries, we just want our basic rights as human beings. And like the regimes in other Arab Spring countries, the Bahraini monarchy has responded with violence. It has shot indiscriminately at peaceful protesters, detained thousands, and tortured many. Several people have died in custody.Skip to next paragraph
Gallery Monitor Political Cartoons
Subscribe Today to the Monitor
When President Obama spoke about “the universal rights of Bahrain’s citizens” in his May 2011 speech about the democratic uprisings in the Middle East, the Bahraini people cheered. But since then, even as the Obama administration loudly denounces the brutality of other regimes in the region, it remains relatively muted about the abuses of the Bahraini monarchy.
And it hasn’t canceled a $53 million arms sale to Bahrain that includes the kind of military vehicles used to quash the uprising. We wonder how the US reconciles this with the claim that it supports “the universal rights of Bahraini citizens.”
For me, this is personal. Because of the abuse in detention, I now suffer from insomnia and, as a doctor who relies on a steady hand, I may never again be able to perform up to my previous abilities.
My absence from my family traumatized my two young daughters. And I am now facing a lengthy prison term. I didn’t intend to be part of a revolution, but I’m part of it now, and the future of Bahrain is at stake.
The United States government should get on the right side of this struggle. Of course, Bahrain is home to the US Navy’s Fifth Fleet. But the standing of that base wouldn’t be threatened by the Obama administration telling its friends in the Bahraini ruling family to stop its police attacking protesters and to drop the charges against us medics and hundreds of others convicted in sham military trials.
I know that US democracy isn’t perfect, but I’ve admired America for its diversity and vibrancy, and for how it respects the freedom of speech. But Washington’s response to the Bahraini regime’s crackdown on nonviolent protesters has forced me to question what America really stands for.
A new Middle East is emerging: If you lose the faith of people like me, America, you will lose the entire region.
Nada Dhaif, the mother of two young daughters, is one of the 20 medical professionals who were arrested, tortured, and sentenced to long prison terms for treating pro-democracy protesters injured in protests in Bahrain in 2011. She works with Human Rights First to document human rights violations by the Bahrain regime.