So US Navy service(wo)men have been getting in to trouble on the streets of Bahrain lately. Here are two reports from yesterday's GDN. In that fine tradition of all sailors, both of the Americans in the two reports were allegedly drunk.
A drunken American was arrested by police who found him collapsed on Exhibition Avenue. The 29-year-old US Navy officer was picked up at 1am and handed over to the US Navy base in Juffair, sources told the GDN
A US military servicewoman allegedly attacked a Bahraini woman after accusing her of nearly driving over her foot. The incident allegedly happened in traffic in the Manama suq. A US military official confirmed that there had been an incident, but said there were as yet no Bahraini charges lodged against the servicewoman."At the moment, there are no Bahraini charges pending," said US Naval Forces Central Command and US Fifth Fleet public affairs officer Commander James Graybeal. "We are not in a position to discuss the case, under the United States law and military regulations. "We take the conduct of our soldiers very seriously."
Kamelia Isa Faraj Bu Rashid is considering filing a civil suit against the servicewoman, who she says yelled at her and tried to pull her out of her vehicle. Mrs Bu Rashid, who was accompanied by her mother and mother-in-law, said she was trying to find parking space in Government Avenue, at about 8.30pm, when the incident happened. "I was standing in traffic when I heard her yelling and swearing in the middle of the road, saying that I almost ran over her foot," said Mrs Bu Rashid. "She hit my car's rear right-side window then tried to open my door and pull me out. "Thankfully she was stopped by a passer-by who saw the incident."
A policeman on duty nearby tried to calm down the woman, but she apparently started shouting at him as well. He called for a patrol and the woman was taken to Naim Police Station. "The police suspected that she was unstable because of the way she was talking to them," said Mrs Bu Rashid. "She kept on saying that she did not care and even tossed a pen at one of the policemen. "She then accused me of actually running over her foot."
Tests later showed that the woman had been drinking, she said. Her foot was reportedly also examined, but was found to be uninjured. Mrs Bu Rashid's father, who is also a lawyer, is preparing a civil case against the American woman, alleging attempted physical assault and verbal assault.
Don't get me wrong now. Incidents like these involving US Navy personnel are quite rare. I'm sure that there have been many many more of such incidents involving Saudis than Navy servicemen. However, in these times, the involvement of someone from the US Navy has the potential to blow an incident in to much more than it actually is. I'm thinking of the time that some servicemen got into a fight with the storekeepers of Farshat al-Araes, a discount garments shop (I'll try to find the news article online).
The Navy authorities have been issuing orders to their personnel to keep a low profile for quite some time now. I have one suggestion which should help them significantly to blend in to civilian Bahraini society: Lose the stupid haircuts! Okay, I'm not really someone to talk when it comes to fashion sense. But more than anything else it is those military haircuts that makes it possible to spot these sailors from miles away. There are thousands of other caucasian residents here who seem to blend in to the island's social fabric. However the US seamen really do stick out of the crowd when you see them wandering the streets of the Suq every evening with their "High & Tight" haircauts. And I mean no offense. I've met many of them and most of them are pretty down to Earth nice guys. But for their own safety, and to help them not get ripped off when they go bargain-hunting, I urge them to do something about their hair.