After reciting her poetry at Lulu Square where Bahrain’s protests were centered in February and March 2011, twenty-year-old poet Ayat al- Qormezi disappeared.Because Bahrain is one of the Empire's favorite Mid-East satraps, the protests that have occurred there this spring were a major embarrassment to all related ruling class political operatives. Thus, you likely heard very little from mainstream media about the ruthless oppression by Bahraini authorities and the invasion of troops from Saudi Arabia and UAE in March. Although the Empire's media must be quiet about it, Bahrain represents the kind of government that the Empire really likes and supports.
...Before Lulu [Square] was destroyed, videos showed al- Qormezi on February 23 performing her poems before crowds of protestors applauding her critical verse, sometimes joining in and interrupting her performance. She intoned with restrained anger: “We are a people who kill degradation and misery. We are a people who destroy the foundation of oppression.” Another poem imagines a dialogue with the Devil and King Hamad Bin Khalifa, wherein even the Devil, Hamad’s best and “most courageous pupil,” tells him: “Hamad, your people have shaken me. Don’t you hear their cries?” At the end of the video, Lulu protestors yell: “Down with Hamad!”
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