We’ve lived so long under the spell of hierarchy—from god-kings to feudal lords to party bosses—that only recently have we awakened to see not only that “regular” citizens have the capacity for self-governance, but that without their engagement our huge global crises cannot be addressed. The changes needed for human society simply to survive, let alone thrive, are so profound that the only way we will move toward them is if we ourselves, regular citizens, feel meaningful ownership of solutions through direct engagement. Our problems are too big, interrelated, and pervasive to yield to directives from on high.
—Frances Moore Lappé, excerpt from Time for Progressives to Grow Up

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Next stop: The House of Saud

by Pepe Escobar from Asia Times Online. 

With the information that Escobar has dug up, the situation in Bahrain looks very much the same as the situation in Libya and elsewhere in that region--a conflict between wealthy autocrats backed mostly by elements serving the US Empire. Libya's Gaddafi is a little different in that he, after confessing his sins and pledging support for the war against al-Qai'da, has been tolerated by the Empire's political operatives. Thus, US mainstream media's treatment of the uprisings in these two countries has been very different.

Mainstream media's conditioning by so many years of Gaddafi being on the Empire's shit list has made it easy for them to portray him as an evil ogre who uses mercenaries to fire on Libyans, while framing the uprising in Bahrain, a key component of the Empire, as simply a dispute between Shi'ites and Sunnis, and omitting any reports of Bahrain's rulers using mercenaries to attack and kill their citizens.

The king of Bahrain, Hamad al-Khalifa, has blood on his hands after his mercenary security forces - Pakistani, Indian, Syrian and Jordanian - with no previous warning, attacked sleeping, peaceful protesters at 3 am on Thursday at the Pearl roundabout, the tiny Gulf country's version of Cairo's Tahrir Square.

In the brutal crackdown, at least five people have been killed - including a young child - and 2,000 injured, some by gunshots, two of these in critical condition. Riot police targeted doctors and medics and prevented ambulances and blood donors from reaching the Pearl roundabout. A doctor at Salmaniya hospital told al-Jazeera there was a refrigerated truck outside the hospital, which he fears the army has used to remove more dead bodies.