It’s been exactly one year since #Feb14 became the online rallying cry for the uprising in Bahrain. Thousands gathered in Manama’s Pearl Roundabout to protest a political system ruled by the same monarchy for hundreds of years.
Activists sought to make Pearl Roundabout the small Gulf monarchy’s own Tahrir square. For a while, it looked like it may work. There were skirmishes, but the protests were largely peaceful. Then, the Khalifa monarchy cracked down — and cracked down hard. The regime even invited a foreign military–the Saudi’s — to break up the protest movement.
Bahrain is host to a large US Naval base; it is also ruled by Sunnis (though the majority are Shi’ites). The monarchy was able to play on both these issues to its advantage. The USA never quite pressed as hard as it could on the monarchy; and the monarchy exploited regional fears of Shi’ite (read: Iranian) domination. All the while, the regime used just the right amount of violent suppression that effectively neutered the opposition movement without rousing much international condemnation.
That has not stopped brave activists from continuing their struggle for a more inclusive political system. Today, I thought it would be appropriate to celebrate the Twitter users who helped bring #Feb14 from Bahrain’s Pearl Roundabout to the computers and mobile phones around the world. I wrote this post one year ago:
Bahrain is now well into its third day of protests…Like in Tunisia and Egypt, social media is playing a key organizing role and providing useful updates for outsiders to follow the events in real time. Below is a list of the most reliably informative English language Twitter feeds from Bahrain. #Feb14 and #lulu (an alternate name for Pearl Square) are hashtags used by protesters.
@ealshafei A Bahraini woman who is a TED Global fellow and the director of the youth activism site Mideast Youth.
@MideastYouth The aforementioned youth activist organization.
@JustAmira Amira al Husaini is the Middle East and North Africa editor of Global Voices Online. I’ve followed her work for years.
@ahmedalsairafi I don’t know much about him, but he has posted fervently from Pearl Square and from the hospital where the two people died after being shot by police. He is frequently cited by the others on this list.
@NickKristof He arrived in Bahrain yesterday.
@BahrainRights A twitter feed from the The Bahrain Center for Human Rights.
@RedhaHaji Don’t know too much about this user. He’s written very frequent and descriptive updates from Pearl Square.
Are there others I should include? Please chime in.
Image credit: Crowdvoice.