Press TV has conducted an interview with Colin Cavell, former lecturer at University of Bahrain, about Bahrain arresting and charging 12 people for taking part in protests held outside the home of top Shia cleric Sheikh Isa Qassim.
Here is a rough transcription of the interview:
Press TV: Manama continues to jail protestors, regardless if they’re peaceful, in this latest case, half of them, respected clergymen. Your thoughts.
Cavell: This is a very good move on the part of the opposition because as I said previously the kingdom, the Al Khalifah dictatorship does not want to negotiate anymore with the opposition, does not provide any concessions. Instead it only arrests, jails, tortures, kills or revokes the citizenship of opposition leaders and anybody else.
So at this stage the uprising, the opposition, either must declare new constitution, some program of action, some revolutionary communiqué or they must organize mass confrontation against the power of the regime. Now they have wisely chosen a non-violent sit-in in front of the Sheikh Isa Qassim’s house in the village of Diraz and this may galvanize others to join in this non-violent confrontation but whether the confrontation is violent or non-violent, the opposition must discontinue to negotiate with the Al Khalifah regime because it is clear they have no intention of ever making any concessions to the opposition.
So now the ball is in the opposition’s court and they must confront the power of the Al Khalifah regime and as I said they have done it wisely at the start here by utilizing a non-violent sit-in in front of the Sheikh Isa Qassim’s house in Diraz.
Press TV: And yet the Sheikh himself and a lot of his supporters, they have been jailed on the grounds of what, of promoting sectarian strife, now all they are is a majority that is asking for democracy, freedom of speech and not to be marginalized by a ruling minority. Who is really promoting the sectarian strife in that country?
Cavell: Well you hit at the key aspect here because the regime in its narrative has to portray the opposition as advocating a sectarian force within the kingdom. But the truth is that both Shia and Sunni call for the downfall of the Al Khalifah monarchy. Why, because the Al Khalifah monarchy has been ruling for 233 years without any legitimacy. They are not democratically elected; they have no authority to rule except the barrel of the gun. And who has been the main perpetrators of violence in the kingdom? It has been the Al Khalifah dictatorship. They are the ones who arrest, they are the ones who jail, they are the ones who torture, they are the ones who kill, that is where the violence has been coming from for years.
Press TV: How come Manama’s Western allies never intervene, especially when they see inhumane mistreatment of dissent in the country taking place on a nearly daily basis?
Cavell: Well there you get in to question statecraft by the hegemon. The United States which wants to maintain its hegemonic situation in the Middle Eastern area and continue to park its boats, its ships, its warships in Bahrain and use the Isa airbase to fly out of and bomb surrounding countries, they are subjugating and denying their claim for human rights, for democracy, for freedom of religion, freedom of association, freedom to think, freedom of conscience. They are putting all that aside simply for reasons of power and resources.