In the world of Linux and Unix there historically was a banner that greeted you at the time you would ‘log on’ to the machine. This was called the “Message Of The Day” and was often simply called the MOTD.
As an homage to that tradition, and until we run out of Muslim countries, I’m starting the Friday “Revolution Of The Day” posting.
We’ve already had Tunisia and Egypt in prior weeks. This week, it’s Libya and Bahrain:
Bahrain protest: ‘The regime must fall, and we will make sure it does’
Despite the killings after the army fired live ammunition at the crowds, the mood in Manama is one of staunch defiance
Just after 5.30pm on Friday, central Manama again erupted in gunfire and screaming. Up to 200 demonstrators had attempted to march on Pearl Square, the scene of Thursday morning’s savage assault that left three dead. Just over a mile from the central Bahrain landmark, soldiers and police opened fire, killing at least one more protester and leaving 50 others wounded.
“We don’t care if they kill 5,000 of us,” a protester screamed inside the forecourt of the Salmaniya hospital, which has become a staging point for Bahrain’s raging youth. “The regime must fall and we will make sure it does.”
Bahrain is home to the US 5th Fleet. Further, the history has the rulers arriving about 200 years ago as conquerors. They are Sunni. Much of the population are Shiite. This, as they say “is a problem”….
Government loyalists also filled Manama’s grand mosque to hear words of support for the monarchy and take part in a post-sermon march protected by security forces. Many arrived with Bahraini flags draped over their traditional white robes. Portraits of King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa were distributed.
“We must protect our country,” said Adnan al-Qattan, the cleric leading prayers. He denounced attempts to “open the doors to evil and foreign influences”, an apparent reference to suspicions that Iran could take advantage of any gains by Bahrain’s Shias, who account for about 70% of the population.
The pro-government gathering had many non-native Bahrainis, including south Asians and Sunni Arabs from around the region.
Bahrain, which hosts the US Fifth Fleet and has traditionally enjoyed strong relations with Europe and the US, stands to lose a lot from this crisis. The Formula One grand prix, scheduled for 13 March, is already in jeopardy; a decision on its fate will be made by Wednesday.
The Al Khalifa family (Arabic: آل خليفة / ALA-LC: Āl Khalīfah / English: The house of Khalifa) is the ruling family of Bahrain. The Al Khalifa profess Sunni Islam and belong to the Anizah tribe that migrated from Najd to Kuwait in the early 18th century. They are also from the Utub tribe. The current head of the family is Hamad ibn Isa Al Khalifa, who became the Emir of Bahrain in 1999 and proclaimed himself King of Bahrain in 2002.
As of 2010, roughly half of the serving cabinet ministers of Bahrain have been selected from the Al Khalifa royal family,, while the country’s only Prime Minister, Khalifah ibn Sulman al-Khalifah, (serving since independence in 1971) is also from the Al Khalifa family and is the uncle of the current King.
So we’ve got a more or less classic “rulers vs serfs” problem and here we are all cozy with the rulers… Bahrain has a causeway that connect the island to Saudi Arabia. Saudi is full of Sunni that support the ruling class in Bahrain and are not interested in a revolution there. Certainly not if it might give their own people ideas… “Watch this space”…
As a side bar, last night Glen Beck had a descent story about the difference between Sunni and Shia Islam and the implications of the “12 Imam” sect. Seems they are an apocalyptic sect that expects to see a variety of signs of the “end of days” that will result in the rise of Islam to dominate the world. They also, per the story, believe that they can hasten that day by causing the chaos… That would explain a lot…
For what it’s worth, I don’t know if this particular site is a “nut job” site or just likes strange colors, but they had an amusing write up of the Mahadi / 12th Imam issue. There are a lot more out there, but I get tired of the sugar coated wiki stuff after a while… So be advised: I’m not endorsing this link, just wanted some “juice” as my coffee is wearing off…
Who is the Imam Mahdi – according to Shia Muslims?
The term “MAHDI” is a title meaning “The Guided one”.
Hadhrat Ali (R.A.) narrates that Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) said, “Even if only a day remains for Qiyamah to come, yet Allah will surely send a man from my family who will fill this world with such justice and fairness, just as it initially was filled with oppression.” (Abu Dawood)
So on one side we have an apocalyptic sect that wants some degree of chaos so they can get on with the getting on to paradise and who also believe that only direct descendents of Mohammed can be in charge. On the other side we have a sect that thinks anyone can be divinely inspired, but they ought to be in charge and like things to be a bit more “settled” so they can enjoy the high life. Each tends to think of the other as somewhat immoral. And we’re standing in the middle of it…
On To Libya
This one is a bit shorter. Kadhafi has been a whack job for a while and it’s pretty clear. Runs the country largely for his own benefit but with a veneer of “revolution for the people” (that mostly amounted to “make trouble for the west” … until we ‘whacked his peepee’ and he decided to shut up and enjoy the caviar…)
That was fine, except after 42 years or so the people are wondering why, as a “rich oil state” they all live in poverty? I’m reminded of that old French Revolution joke: Servant: “Your Highness, the peasants are revolting!” Master: “Yes, aren’t they…”
Rights group estimates 84 killed in Libya protests
By MAGGIE MICHAEL and PAUL SCHEMM, Associated Press – 1 hr 6 mins ago
CAIRO – Libyan security forces have killed 84 people in a harsh crackdown on three days of protests, said the New York-based Human Rights Watch, even as the government shut off Internet in the North African country early on Saturday.
The protests calling for the removal of Moammar Gadhafi, Libya’s leader for the past 42 years, have erupted largely in the cities of the country’s impoverished east and have been brutally suppressed with a combination of armed militias and elite forces.
“The Libyan authorities should immediately end attacks on peaceful protesters and protect them from assault by pro-government armed groups,” the organization said in its statement.
Most of the deaths appeared to have taken place in the country’s second largest city of Benghazi, where doctors told the Associated Press Friday that 35 bodies had been admitted, on top of more than a dozen killed the day before.
Internet was also cut off in Libya in the early hours of the morning Saturday, reported the U.S.-based Arbor Networks security company, which detected a total cessation of online traffic in the North African country just after 2 a.m. local time.
OK, we’re starting to see how the “play book” works on both sides. Cut off communications, isolate, and abuse the people vs “stand your ground and let the world know”.
At this point I must praise Anderson Cooper of CNN “AndersonCooper360”. He has had stellar coverage of these events. He also got attacked when in Egypt and his cameraman was beaten, so I think it’s fine that he is back to the “anchor” job and has other folks ‘on the ground’ right now. He’s paid his dues.
Despite all the ‘lock down’ on media, he had video and even live interviews with folks in both places.
His stuff is here:
Hit the link and give it a read. He deserves the traffic.
Note To Evil Dictators: “Do not ever beat up the press. It only pisses them off and you will not like the results.”
2nd Note To Evil Dictators: “This is the age of every cell phone is a live video reporter. Kick out the cameramen and you get 10,000 reporters to replace them, but they are the ones with an agenda and are really pissed off. Oh, and cutting the internet just makes you look really stupid. The stuff gets out anyway…”
Ok, so who’s left?
Sudan (though they had a ‘divide in two’ election so are 1/2 done)
Yemen (but I think they may be about 1/2 way to boiling already)
Iran (had some riots in the street but hard to tell how bad)
Jordan (last week had some protesting… don’t know if it’s on the boil yet)
and I’m sure I’ve missed a few but it’s soooo hard to keep track of where the Muslim world is in revolt from day to day… wonder if Turkey ought to be on the list… and the “Ickey-stans”…
For the ones that already had some action, I’m not sure if they ought to be in last week, this week, or just left to simmer for next Friday ROTD… so I’m just going to let them simmer for now. If they blow up, well, OK, I’ll cover it next Friday…
And folks wonder why I think that there is a global problem with Muslims and disorder…
No, I don’t know if it is driven by the religion and their beliefs, or if it is just an historical artifact of the W.W.I and W.W.II partion of the Islamic world into unstable mixes by the European powers; nor if it is the result of The West trying to bribe anyone with a title to buy favor. But whatever the cause, the troubles are there.
Fill your gas tank, buy some Canadian oil trusts and oil companies, stock up on food with a long shelf life and don’t make a lot of plans to take that North Africa / Middle East tour any time soon. Buckle up folks, it’s gonna be a rocky ride for a couple of years…