Article published in the New York Times showing how 3 Western Women living in Bahrain changed their views regarding the Anti-Government Protesters. This is very common. Most outsiders when they come to Bahrain think what’s happening here is a real revolution and protests are peaceful. But soon, they begin to see what we all see.. Sometimes though, they would see it too late. Here is the Article and the link can be found at the bottom:
No member of this trio ever planned on staying on this island. They had come either to visit friends or to work a one-year contract in the Gulf state.But they never left – and now they offer an interesting view of the stirrings in Bahrain, which unlike any of the other Arab states affected by uprisings in the past year, has a majority population of expatriates.The three unmarried, childless Western women – Carol Melrose, a 56-year-old Briton; Abby Navarre, a 53-year-old Briton; and Sarah, a 29-year-old American who asked not to be further identified – said life before the uprisings had been relaxed.”You could wear whatever you want, could get out with your friends to all kinds of restaurants and clubs, life was very easy,” Ms. Navarre said.Now, they are caught between the government and demonstrators. At the outset, they said, they were very sympathetic toward the protesters because they had witnessed discrimination against Shiites applying for jobs or housing.”I felt it is good that the protesters were demanding more rights,” said Ms. Navarre, who works in real estate and, like Ms. Melrose, has lived in Bahrain for more than 20 years.All three women said they were unhappy with the way the government cracked down last year and had welcomed the king’s initiative to bring in an independent commission, led by the international war crimes expert Sharif Bassiouni. The commission investigated government errors and human rights violations during the crackdown.”You don’t have many leaders who would accept doing this,” Sarah said.The women have all changed their opinion in recent months.
“We all know that the protesters have their issues, and no expatriate is denying it,” said Ms. Navarre. “But the king has already started with reforms and at this stage, the protesters should get back to their life and give the government a chance to implement the reforms.”All three said one reason they had stayed in Bahrain was its openness – a Gulf state with Roman Catholic and Protestant churches, synagogues, Hindu and Baha’i temples.”We never used to hear the question if someone was Shiite or Sunni, but now you can even hear children talking about it,” Ms. Melrose said.All three can watch the protests from their apartments. “Fridays are actually the worst day. I don’t leave my flat anymore,” said Ms. Navarre.They said the gap between Shiites and others has grown. Ms. Melrose worries that the next generation of Bahrainis will grow up with the idea that Shiites and Sunnis are different. “It is too bad to see that this multicultural society gets ruined,” she said.All three women live close to Budaiya Road, where the largest opposition group, Al Wefaq, holds its mostly authorized and peaceful rallies. When these rallies end, younger people, who claim to be part of the February 14th movement, sometimes turn violent. Stones, Molotov cocktails and, in some cases, gasoline bombs fly in the direction of the police, who answer with abundant tear gas and, protesters say, birdshot.”Last year, I had sympathies for some of the protesters’ demands, but now I am asking myself, ‘What is this about now?”‘ said Sarah, who has worked for six years at a hotel.All three women said they had suffered from tear gas, with Sarah once going to the hospital because she is asthmatic.
“Imagine in the U.S. protesters would throw Molotov cocktails and burn tires in D.C. or New York. What do you think would the police do?” she said.And all three expressed unhappiness with what they felt was one-sided characterization of the situation by the Western news media and politicians.”You see what is going on here, how the violence is increasing day after day, and then you turn the TV channels on and all you hear is protesters having been attacked by police, but that’s not quite the truth,” Sarah said.Ms. Navarre recalled that she and a neighbor were once trapped in a car in a protest where Molotov cocktails were being thrown at police cars.”To me, these are thugs,” she said. “Yes, last year we mainly had peaceful protests, but now we have gas cylinder explosions, Molotov cocktails and they use bombs,” she said.Ms. Melrose no longer calls people who use violence protesters. “I don’t know what is it they want to achieve for their villages by using violence.”Ms. Melrose said she is now volunteering in the Gulf-European Center for Human Rights, an organization sanctioned by the king. It wasn’t quite by choice; as the conversation continued, she revealed that she is prohibited from leaving Bahrain because of debts that she said were dumped on her by a former business partner. The travel ban means she has lost her residency and cannot work to repay her debts. “I have been living now for two years without an income, and without my friends I wouldn’t know what to do.”After 21 years in Bahrain, she said she sometimes would like to let the protesters know there are other people whose situation is perhaps worse, since non-Bahrainis have no rights to welfare. She has made several written requests to the royal court for help, all unanswered.Cases like hers are beginning to sour expatriates on the protesters and on Bahrain, Ms. Navarre said. “I would like to tell them, ‘Look at people like Carol. After working for more than 20 years, she got nothing. But is she violent against policemen? Is she burning tires?”‘Link to Article can be Found Here http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/09/world/middleeast/09iht-letter09.html?_r=1&ref=bahrain