Is Bahrain back to normal?

Khuloud at Jadaliyya writes:

“Your remarkable and unflinching efforts have protected the lives of innocent people, restored order and maintained security and stability across Bahrain,” Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad al-Khalifa praised security forces on Friday March 25th for bringing life in Bahrain back to “normal.” As he thanked his dedicated forces for “creating conditions that are favorable for a national dialogue,” riot police were being deployed to put down some twenty-five small, peaceful protests that took place across the country on what may be the last Bahraini “day of rage.” One man, 71-year old Issa Mohamed, was killed inside his home due to asphyxiation caused by teargas fumes being used to disperse unarmed protesters outside. Telling of the general mood in large parts of Bahrain, the protesters in one of the demonstrations were chanting: “baltagiyya baltagiyya ya hukuma ya gabiyya” [you are thugs, you are thugs, oh government oh fools].

The Bahraini regime may speak of having “cleansed the streets” and “restored order” all it and its supporters want, but facts on the ground speak a different truth. Innocent citizens and residents of all but a few areas of Bahrain have lived in a state of terror since March 15th, 2011. Far from “protecting people’s lives,” police brutality and pro-government thug violence have wreaked havoc on the streets of otherwise peaceful residential neighborhoods. The attendant physical and psychological traumas, as well as material damage to private and public property, have yet to be officially addressed or accounted for. The Bahraini regime’s undercover intelligence services have also continued to unleash an arsenal of intimidation tactics against opposition activists, spokespersons, and supporters. To date, over a hundred Bahrainis have been reported missing, their families left in the dark as to their whereabouts. Several have been released and allowed to return to their loved ones, with a few actually reuniting with their families only at hospital morgues. Several hundred civilians have been severely injured.

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