More bad coverage for Bahrain. Today's Financial Times has an article headlined "Trial of Bahrain human rights activist overshadows reforms". The opening paragraph reads:
The trial in Bahrain of a prominent rights activist and closure of his organisation has cast a shadow on a political transition held up by the US as a possible model for the Gulf's dynastic autocracies. (Continued)
This certainly won't help foreign investment. My personal opinion is that although it looks like the reforms are being undone, the Al-Khawaja affair is just part of the teething process of this country's young democracy. These different interests had to clash sooner or later and somehow I'm quite confident that in the end both parties will have learned an important lesson about the art of political maneuvering in a (proclaimed) democratic system.
Moreover, it is obvious that the reforms have not all unraveled by taking note of the demonstrations being held in support of al-Khawaja (1, 2, 3) several times a week. The protesters have called the Prime Minister a "dictator", "evil and corrupt", and have demanded his resignation. And they have been doing this quite freely in busy areas without being arrested or being harassed by any goons (at least not that I know of). Just a few years ago this would have been utterly unimaginable.
I know in my last post I said that "things were going backwards", but thinking over it, I don't think that is entirely true. As I've said before, things have changed, and there's no going back whether anyone likes it or not.