12, 13, 14 and 15 of Feb [ So God Help Them ]


Coalition Showed it's capabilities through organized "show off" demonstration in preparation of retrieving Lulu Square back. - picture shows in the demonstration in Hamala Southern Manama

 

The first anivrsuiry of  the revultion in Bahrain is next Tuesday. Since last February 14th the protesting and demonstrations didn’t stop for a single day, on the other hand violence, arrests, torture, and sectarian actions didn’t stop from regime’s side for a single day either.  It has been bellow the radar though. Few reports has been published lately, although, the government is doing very good on it’s part of forbidding international reporters from entering the country in this very specific period of time.

Feb14th Youth coalition (official Facebook page) already announced it’s event “The Biggest Return” which will declare the zero moment for all rebels to attempt to take Lulu Square back, anytime between 12th to 15th of February. and they have shown how serious they are with big demonstrations in villages with masked men and women wearing shrouds and waving the flag of the coalition. The pictures and videos for those events showed noticeable structure and organizing introducing a brand new style in filed work rather the classic pop-up filed work. The coalition proved their ability to shift from online platforms basically bahrainonline.org and Facebook to filed work, and as they succeed they earned decent credibility.

Wearing a mask, in the demonstration organized by the coalition in Al-Dair, Muharraq Island Northern Manama yesterday

Nabeel Rajab, president of Bahrain Center for Human Rights, tweeted that he will participate in the big return. In later tweet he asked the people who will might escape if the police heavily attacked the marching people to avoid the fronts lines, giving space to those who might probably fight back and go further. Nabeel as a human right defender was on the ground all the time last year, moving from house to house, visiting injured people, families of politically detained prisoners, and participating in the most revolutionary events, major population of Bahrainis now appreciate and respect Nabeel, and his participation in the Big Return will automatically generate the participation of his fans.

Expected and ordinary news has been leaked about the tactics of stopping this event, that goes something like this; police will surround the residential areas, no ins no outs and no gatherings allowed inside. On the square side it’s the military task to prevent citizens from reaching the square if the police failed in keeping them inside their homes using the normal tear gas, rubber bullets, etc, etc,

So Bahrainis are very insisting in reaching Lulu Square again, the regime is totally against that. No international media on board. Its pretty much a massacre to me, a massacre that the Bahrainis willingly going for it, for having either freedom or dignity.

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When I Discovered The Turkish Bath

Turkish Hammam "bath" composed by Jean Jacques

So you don’t know when are you going to live a totally experience. As simple as it is, it might be a very joyful thing to test and it help you appreciate a new culture and explore a new aspect of life. It wasn’t on my agenda and I was not looking forward to try a turkish bath, for the simple reason that I didn’t know anything about it. However its the chance and the fact being in the right place with the right people what led me to it.

The Ottoman style hall, helps in relaxing with it proper materials and lightings and the servants available

Basically in a turkish “hammam” you sit in a steam room and a sauna for half an hour to prepare your body for scrubbing with a special tool made of horse’s skins. The scrubbing removes the dead flesh which located underneath the skin, and support the  circulatory, the scrubber told me. and then simply you soap your body with a homemade product  and enjoy a bath in old fashion Ottoman style. Most of the bath is in a public hall made of marble and has kind of small tubs were you can mix the cold and hot water to suite your desired temperature, and you wash your body using old metal utensils. And it doesn’t stop and this end, yet there are more after the bath. When you finish, you put on couple of towels over all your body, relax in the bath lounge and enjoy a turkish tea and hookah.

When I tried it for the first time at one of Sheraton’s hotels in Turkey, it was a maximum pleasure for me, I enjoyed it more than enjoying a pool, or a steamed shower, for me its was like traveling to the past in a time machine, to be inside a book for a while, and to a live a fairy tail about the Ottoman Empire. and God it was relaxing in a way that you feel sometimes that you are the emperor himself. I would say its give you the sense about how those people were living, and if there is a 100 things to do before you die list the turkish bath is on the list. So if you are looking to an excellent turkish bath, you most probably will find one in Turkey, a country that was part of the Ottoman empire.

Bahrain is Lulu

"Farooq Junction" after vanishing Lulu landscape in a military operation supported by Saudi troops. The junction remain closed since last March when the operation took place.

 

I was inspired to write this post after reading the following tweet, that was mentioned in the article Bahrain: Celebration and Criticism Greet “Manama, Capital of Arab Culture 2012″ on globalvoices.com

@Hu4mansoor: ليس طريقا للؤلؤ ذاك الذي لا يمر على دوار اللؤلؤة. #bahrain #14feb
It is not a Path of Pearls if it doesn’t lead to the Pearl Roundabout.
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Its rather ironic that Bahrain started its opening ceremony for celebrating its “unfair” granted title of Capital of Arab Culture 2012 with a musical performance called “The Path of Pearls”. Yes Bahrain is known and well always known with Pearls, just because it is the host of finest pearls ever and many if not the most of locals were working in pearls hunting before discovering the oil on the island. But, however, authorities tried and obviously failed in deleting this fact from the country’s history just after the civilized citizens protested in the well known “Lulu” square in the middle of the capital Manama.
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With a very radical mind, the authorities not only changed it’s name to “Al-Farooq” junction, the very sectarian name that they thought will increase the tension among the divided to Shiites and Sunnis locals, but also destroyed a beautiful landscape of the pearl in the middle of the square and installed ugly traffic lights that remained closed with maximum security since last March.
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Bahrain’s government also withdraw the ” 500 Fils” coins and stopped it from being used just because it had the picture of Lulu symbol  on one of its sides. But they anyway didn’t had the courage to change the name of one of oldest and famous malls in the heart of Manama called “Lulu Mall”. They, then, lacked the intelligence to achieve one of the most meaningless polices they adopted to handle the sequences of  the revelation.

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Its seriously funny, that they chose the same theme they were fighting over a year now to their opening ceremony. And its defiantly worthy to notice that almost in the same time the formal opposition in Bahrain announced their open sit-in in one of the villages while many people are getting prepared to head back to Lulu square on the next February 14th. Although its very obvious how aggressively the regime attack the daily marches in Bahrain, we are eager to see how the cultured regime will handle the two major upcoming events.

#FF for #Lulu #Feb14 in #Bahrain

Collation of Feb14 youths logo painted on a wall in Bahrain

One of the most painful facts is that the locals of Bahrain are suffering alone. Its frustrating that Arabs divided to pro and against revolutions in both countries Bahrain and Syria. I can go on and on about this subject but its at the end of the day useless, because people whom are still tied up with sectarian differences  are not up to live with other human beings peacefully.

Its, unfortunately, more than this in the case of Bahrain. There are almost universal agreement to kill or at least to mute the revolution. Sadly they succeed! many activists around the MENA region wondered “why did the Bahrainis gave up so early?”  and some blamed them “why you don’t go on the news more often?” . Its easy to conclude then if there are people who don’t believe that Bahrainis have the right to live peacefully in a democratic regime, there are also many don’t know that Bahrainis after almost a year from their first revolutionary act in Feb 14, 2011 still fight toward freedom and democracy.

Film maker May Ying Welsh inspired  by the fact that the Lulu revolution is almost the only revolution of Arab-spring that is ignored by the entire world titled her Al-Jazeera produced documentary “Shouting In The Dark” a documentary that hits 200,000 viewer on its fourth day on Youtube.

As this introduction suggest there is no way to follow news about the revolution in Bahrain from the news on TVs or newspapers but, of course, the western ones from time to time, as its completely, shamefully, ignored by the Arabic media. To follow the revolution in Bahrain you need to follow citizen journalists or classic journalists through websites and new media I’m afraid to say.

Therefore I will try to build a references list for those  whom are interested

 

– Feel free to quote or repost this list. And if you are an activist online consider this a personal appeal to spread the word about whats going on in Bahrain. 

– If you feel that there are more resources should be mentioned in this list, please mention them in a comment below. 

Mapping My Social Media Accounts

Forget about the key bored, take a paper and pen for a while and draw your "online" map

I just done mapping my accounts on the internet, discovered I have too many of them by the way. Really glad that I just did that, I feel really organized and have some space for more productivity now.

I was doing this task as a part of “threat assessment” in order to enhance my security online. However I discovered Its useful to spot and evaluate the content I post online. more importantly it gave me the impression about the time I spend on social media and weather if its needed or not.

during this task I found that some of my activity has minor priority but I always do it because it is fun and easy to do. Also I came to conclusions that I should use certain language for certain account. I also after this task take a decision  to stop a blog that I think is really achieved its goals and dedicate the time i spend on it to start writing my first book. Last but not least I hope that reorganizing my priorities online will help me focus on new types of new and social media such as Youtube and podcasts

I personally encourage the people who spend long time online to do this mapping, of course everyone can do ti on his own way, and this is the way I did mine

  1. I listed all the accounts I have online
  2. under each account I stated what I currently use the account for
  3. in front of that, I stated what goals I wanted to achieve with each account
  4. accordingly I rated the priority of each account.
  5. Finally I listed any new behaviors should be adopted while using each account, in order to accomplish to goals ( cancel the account, change the language, the subject matters, give it more time, etc .. ) \

If you did similar task, you are more than welcome to share you recipe ..

 

On Digital Security

Aswat intiative is am awsome place for activist to get more about digital security and acitvism

Aswat intiative is am awsome place for activist to get more about digital security and acitvism

Digital Security is indeed an important term that online activists are highly recommended to be aware of. Many people are active on the internet, recently people use internet for more than personal browsing. They use it to influence and promote change for certain agenda they believe in. it could be freedom and democracy and it could be something else. it depends on the user himself. Such a development in using the internet specially after the popularity achieved by social media portals made the internet not as safe as before, Therefore “online activists” should pay  as much attention to their security online as much they do offline.

There are many NGOs provide trainings and publications on digital security, sometimes it might be boring specially for those who are not interested in computer stuff but its always good to know how to establish “encrypted” secure connection, how to break censorship, how to send “encrypted” attachment protected with password and alike matters.

I was in related training few days ago and learned that my last blog was been killed by something called “denial of service attack”  it was a great opportunity to learn about this attack and to know how its working. At least now I know how those people who were targeting my blog succeed in their attack and I can be more carful in the future.

Basically, from any cyber activist prospective, who doesn’t care much about technology-related matters “I do by the way” achieving secure environment can be accomplished by downloading some tools like antivirus, firewall, tor, keypass, etc. and use them properly, but of course the much you read about it, the much you attend trainings the better.

Bahrain Police Be Carful … Angry Girl Behind Your Bars

When ur in chains, living with no dignity or rights, bowing to criminal dictators, the first step is to forget ur fear & realize that its ur right.. to be angry

Police officer shout on Zainab after Handcuffing her upon her refusal to the arrest ( Photo by Reuters )

Said Zainab AlKhawaja in her Twitter account profile. She obviously felt in chains living under violent, dictator regime, although she was free and not behind actual bars. This feeling was enough to justify his anger and human rights activism. This feeling, This anger led finally to create a brave, talented Bahraini young lady that considered since the Lulu revolution a first class human rights fighter.

She’s a daughter of a family involved totally into human right activism, her father is Abdulhadi Al Khawaja, the founder of Bahrain Center For Human Rights, who has been arrested as well as Zainab’s husband, uncle, and brother in law in the current crackdown.

Since February 2011, the super stars and the well respected public are now the human rights activists, not the politicians anymore, in result to their outstanding effort in delivering the message, the case and the fight of Bahraini people to the rest of the world.

Zainab was part of team who went to many world capitals and participated in several human rights events and seminar related to the situation in Bahrain, However she took the lead of two significant actions, demanding the release of her family members. She established a hunger strike in April 2011, during that she wrote through her blog a letter to the President of United States :

When you were sworn in as president of the United States, I had high hopes. I thought: here is a person who would have never become a president if it were not for the African-American fight for civil liberties; he will understand our fight for freedom.

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I ask of you to look into your beautiful daughters’ eyes tonight and think to yourself what you are personally willing to sacrifice in order to make sure they can sleep safe at night, that they can grow up with hope rather than fear and heartache, that they can have their father and grandfathers embrace to run to when they are hurt or in need of support. Last night my one-year-old daughter went knocking on our bedroom door calling for her father, the first word she ever learnt. It tore my heart to pieces. How do you explain to a one-year-old that her father is imprisoned? I need to look into my daughter’s eyes tomorrow, next week, in the years to come, and tell her I did all that I could to protect her family and future.
For my daughter’s sake, for her future, for my father’s life, for the life of my husband, to unite my family again, I will begin my hunger strike.

And  again, in June 2011, she protested with three young ladies inside United Nation Development Programme office for the same reason. She participates in the marches and filed events, and live tweet, blog from there. She considered a prefect citizen journalist who covered most of Lulu events using wide offline and online professional and social networks.

Zainab (left) Live tweeting from UNDP last July

Yesterday, Zainab protested on one Budaiya Street roundabouts, as one of those was a part of the event Occupy BudaiyaSt. She was in the middle of the roundabout, she wasn’t blocking the road or doing anything that could be voilent. Police wanted to arrest her, she refused the arrest with siting on the ground, Later two youtube clips showed police shooting tear gas directly to her, and arresting her aggressively.

International Media such as Washington Post, New York Times, Aljazeera English, and BBC wrote about Zainab’s case today, while as expected regional media and activista mostly ignored her. Therefore Zainab needs the most support of human rights defenders, and from bloggers and tweeps. This is a call to start a camping supporting Zainab as a blogger and an activist, this is call to put hand in hand to help the brave fighter who went to serve her case totally till the end.

#FreeRazan

Its very obvious that each and every single regime in the Arabic countries is corrupted, and it citizens, specially the youth, are living life with less standerds that other people in developed world are living. There is an old quote says “quite, Arabs are a asleep”, well they finally woke up, Arab spiring came to revolute against those regimes and to obtain the freedom which is the simplest right for individuals. The spiring started from the West in Tunisia and reached many countries including Bahrain, the little Island located in the rich spot of oil in the region Arabic/Persian Gulf, and Syria which is ruled by a regime is more closer to Russia, China, Iran than Arabs, USA, and europe as most of the middle eastern regimes.

Razan, Alaa, and Ali

Such a wake, such a wave,  indeed, needs human resources, strong fighters welling to sacrifice for the favor of their nations. those whom we call “activists”. Recently a cyber activist has been arrested on the Syrian borders while she was travelling to Jordan. Her case is already well known and people been very supportive online, and that is the minimum that could be done.

The Syrian Razan met a The Bahraini Ali Abdul Imam and the egyptian Alaa Abdul Fatah, in one if not more than one blogging event, they were working for more freedom, more rights, and for a better region. I assume that no one looked to other religion, sect or questioned if there are any hidden agenda beyond working in such field. Maybe, thats way the three of them were sent to jail.

This post is not to about  the facts of Razan‘s, Alaa‘s, and Ali‘s activism and their arrests, there are already enough articles online, its however to support Razan in the frist place, and to encourage people to take those three activists as good examples. Unfortunately the revolutions now are divided on sectarian basis, no body cares about Bahrain but Iran, Iraq and South Lebanon because they are Shiites, and everybody else cares about Syria revolution because its fully supported by KSA and Qatar! I’m not sure if people stil remember Ali Abdul Imam, and know he’s hiding and don’t see his family! or know about the teachers, lawyers, medical doctors, journalists, students etc that have been arrested and tortured in Bahrain since February till now.

I wish that we have Razan back soon, as well as Ali and Alaa because of they are the true heros whom respect individual’s right regardless of their believes. and god bless the Syrians who are working hard and giving their blood in order to achieve better conditions for their country.

2011 !

December

I can’t believe that its already December. The world, specially MENA region and Japan will not forget this year, at all! Japan’s earthquake and Arab’s Spring gave this year its fame, not to mention the full withdraw of American forces from Iraq as well as many important events I might already forgot . In fact I can’t wait more to see this year summarizes and best pictures that usually prepared by news cooperations and agencies, I’m pretty sure that its will contain many interesting and must see stuff.

On personal prospective, it was the year that I made very hard decision that changed my life entirely, and I don’t know yet if it was the right one, the only thing I know that I’m facing many challenges that I must overcome and I hopefully will.

I think its time to review what I did this year and write my new year resolution. I may or may not post detailed post regarding this later. However, I would say that this year I went through many real life experiences, participated in workshops, read few books and met new people and made new friends and lost some too.

Last put not least this post is my starting point, where I’m going to see what I did good for me and others, and what I did bad. I will determine what to do – If – I lived for one more year.

Happy December everybody.

Code of Ethics for Citizen Journalists

This post was supposed to be published earlier this year, but because of what issues in my computer and what happend to my blogs plus many other issues than can make life busy, and complicated this time the only time I can post those codes of ethics for citizen journalism.

the codes were developed in a workshop in Beirut last July, such codes is very important to be considered specially by those bloggers whom report from countries that face tensions and uprisings during the very long spring of Arabs that started in Tunisia.

You’re more than welcome of sharing and using the content of this blog for the good of blogging community.

 

 

  • Be accurate.
  • Be transparent about who you are/your role in the story, your methodology, any conflicts of interest.
  • Be fair.
  • Disclose any funding.
  • Be careful posting developments that have not been confirmed or that you have not witnessed yourself.
  • Do not distribute copyrighted material or plagiarize.
  • Always link to original sources.
  • Do not post anything that will endanger someone’s life.
  • Do not sell information about your subscribers or followers’ list. 
  • Do not fabricate stories, or digitally alter pictures or video.
  • Avoid profanity.
  • Put a disclaimer before especially disturbing post.