Tuesday, February 14, 2012

One year on from the Bahrain uprising, the movement is more unified than ever

By destroying the focal point of resistance the regime entrenched the Pearl monument in the collective consciousness

Ala'a Shehabi

(a British-born economics lecturer, activist and writer in Bahrain. She has a PhD from Imperial College London, is a former policy analyst at Rand Europe. Her husband is a political prisoner in Bahrain)
guardian.co.uk, Tuesday 14 February 2012

"Last March, after the Bahraini regime had dramatically destroyed the Pearl monument in Manama it triumphantly screened pictures of its actions on state TV: a clear message to protesters who had dared challenge its authority by gathering there. The monument became part of the physical and psychological conflict between a state and its people. To the government it is a "bad memory". To the revolutionaries it has become a utopian symbol of freedom and resistance. Today, on the one-year anniversary of the uprising, these two mindsets have come to a clash once more, as the revolutionaries tried to return to the area where the monument once stood. Some predicted a bloodbath but, going by the latest reports, it appears the government may have learned its lesson: more blood will hasten its downfall not delay it......

Crushing the icon of resistance and forcing out the impassioned protesters has only served to fuel revolutionary sentiment over the past year. As the revolutionaries once again try to return to the former site of Pearl roundabout, they will be driven by a sustained utopian cultural memory consisting of a rare sense of freedom and autonomy about how the Pearl roundabout was, and their right to go back there. The government will be faced with the same situation as last year: does it turn its tanks on its own people, or not."

No comments: