30 September 2011

Jailing doctors wont cure Bahrain's ills

bahrainOver the years, I have published a large number of articles on Bahrain (over 138). I think it is fair to say that since the onset of Arab Spring, I have tried to give coverage to both sides of the dispute, as can be seen by the Bahrain articles on i On Global Trends. Of course readers tend to see the latest post or tweet and assume I am either pro or anti. In fact, both sides think I am on the other side!

I am neither - I am anti-bull dust whichever side is responsible for trying to sell us shoddy goods.

In the case of Bahrain, I am especially careful to present views form both sides. The situation in Bahrain is arguably more complex than in other "Arab Spring" countries. For one thing, there are good reasons to question Iran's influence in the uprising.

However, I can not let the shameful jailing of 20 doctors for treating demonstrators who protested against the ruling family, pass without condemnation.

The official statements of the ruling family have little credibility, and the sentences fly in the face of everything I had previously been taught and believed - that even in conflict, doctors, hospitals and medical staff were off limits.

Obviously that authorities in Bahrain do not subscribe to such a concept.

Doctors and medical staff have always treated casualties from both sides of any conflict - it is what they do. They ignore the danger to themselves to tend to those who need their skill, care and attention - and they will continue to do so, despite Bahrain's persecution of those who save lives instead of taking them.

Bahrain is of strategic importance to the west - especially the U.S.(Bahrain: U.S. Navy's 'ironclad' commitment to Bahrain) so as we have come to expect in such situations, western nations who are so quick and loud to condemn those who are of no use to their agenda, have responded with "caution".

They are not so cautious however when it comes to selling arms to Bahrain. As the ABC reports, "The US Defense Department is currently planning to sell Bahrain $53 million worth of weapons. Likewise, the British government invited Bahrain to the UK's largest arms fair earlier this month".

Just as well they are not trying to sell medical equipment - the powers that be would never allow it to be used by those who care more about a patient's life than about their political persuasion.