Women have been tied up, thrown on the streets and arrested in Bahrain by Saudi-Backed forces as the situation in Bahrain gets decidedly worse.
Press TV talks with Saeed al-Shahabi, Leader of the Bahrain Freedom Movement in its studio in Iran about how the Al Khalifa is sensing defeat and is reacting in even a more violent way now. Following is a transcript of the interview.
Press TV: It seems as if the situation is deteriorating rapidly in Bahrain. What has happened exactly especially in the last week to make the situation so much more severe than it was before?
Saeed al-Shahabi: Several factors have taken place. First of all the regime has failed to introduce any sort of reform to the extent that people have felt disappointed totally and outraged by the regime’s policies.
In addition to that there is the the lack of real access to the detainees; to the leaders especially those 20 or 30 permanent leaders who have gone on hunger strike two days ago in support of the women protesters who were taken hostage last night by regime forces. All of these factors have contributed to a state of anger among the youth and they are just going on and on and on until they bring down the regime.
Press TV: We know that on Saturday by-elections were held in Bahrain. Some are saying that the revolutionaries do not want a democratic process and they did not participate in it. What would be the answer to these types of criticisms?
Saeed al-Shahabi: The election process has been there for fourteen years and that did not deter the people from coming out in the streets against the regime. These elections did not produce parliaments or real democracy — they are just elections for their own sake.
They did not bring the change, which was wanted by the people. The people have no say in the way the country is being led. There is nothing else but an absolute dictatorship and elections do not make regimes democratic. It is what the outcomes of these elections are; whether the people can contribute or not, they feel that they cannot contribute to any dialogue or any democratic process; they could not have a share in the way the country is run. It is an absolute dictatorship and this has to end.
Press TV: We also know the involvement of Saudi Arabia in participating in this crackdown. I want to look at the role of Saudi Arabia in this because we have reports as you’ve just talked about of the many women being arrested and there are reports that there are Saudi-backed troops involved in this.
It seems that this time they have become even more aggressive and this is with females in Bahrain.
Saeed al-Shahabi: First all you have a person or group or army feeling the pinch of defeat, then they become more aggressive. The more they are defeated the more they are aggressive. A strong person does not become aggressive usually such a person is kind, but once he feels he is weak he will react violently. This is what has happened in Bahrain.
The Saudi occupation of the country has enraged the people. The violence and the brutality of the Saudi invasion has rocked every industry. Today you cannot find anybody who supports the regime apart from some thugs who are paid by the regime. At the end of the day the bottom line is that this regime has outlived its natural life and it has to go. And this is what the people have been saying not only in Bahrain, but also 2 or 3 years ago in the north when they were saying, ‘Down with Hamad, down with Hamad’ outside UN headquarters. And of course after last night the people have more unrest today and are outraged because of the way their women have been dealt with. Imagine women being tied up and thrown on the streets I haven’t seen that even in Israel.
Press TV: Concerning New York and the UN, we know that the ruler of Bahrain talked at the UN General Assembly. What’s your take on what he talked about? He talked about human rights; however, he did not talk about what is happening at this time inside of his own country.
Saeed al-Shahabi: The human rights in his own country is different than the human rights that everyone talks about. The human rights that he is talking about is what we saw in the streets today and yesterday and the day before where we saw police throwing chemical gas canisters inside peoples’ houses leading to several deaths.
Over the past two or three weeks we have seen how many people dying as a direct result of police brutality using shot guns or using gas canisters, which amounts to chemical weapons when you throw these gases into a confined space leading to the death of people because of the inhalation of these gases.
Press TV: Bottom line what do the revolutionaries want?
Saeed al-Shahabi: First of all they want to be given the right to self determination — they want to decide what sort of government they have and how the country is ruled. What constitution they want – they want their own constitution; they want to make their own government; they want to determine things for themselves…
The Al Khalifa are invaders. They invaded the country 200 years ago. Now they have brought other invaders and Bahrain is under occupation. I am surprised that the US and the UN are quiet about the occupation of our land. This is sheer futility on both sides whether it is the Europeans or the American who are keeping quiet about the Saudi occupation.
Press TV: Why do you think that silence seems to be the norm right now from the international community concerning Bahrain?
Saeed al-Shahabi: I think this is more degradation – Total and utter degradation. You cannot accept it – you should not accept a strong country occupying a weaker country. The people of Bahrain do not want outside forces on their land and this is exactly what’s happening…