‘Bahrain tyrannical regime must change’


Press TV has conducted an interview with Saeed Shehabi, with the Bahrain Freedom Movement from London, about Bahraini protesters once again taking to the streets to demand the overthrow of the ruling Al Khalifa regime.

What follows is an approximate transcription of the interview.

Press TV: Mr. Shehabi, you know the Bahraini government seems to be trying to do everything it can to stop these continuing protests. We have heard recently about Maryam al-Khawaja and how she was treated at Manama Airport. We have also heard about citizenship being granted to two foreigners. How do you see and why do you see that this revolution persist so at this time?

Shehabi: It is clear that the people have not given up on their demands. They want to be free from hereditary dictatorship of the Al Khalifa. They want to write their own constitution, to determine their own destiny. They have basic rights and they are not talking about sectarian issues at all.

What they want is a political system based on one man, one vote but the regime does not want that and this is why it continues to detain human rights activists and as you and your listeners are well aware Mr. Abudulhadi al-Khawaja has been on hunger strike for the past eight days and when his daughter went back to Bahrain to be with her family at this difficult time, she was swiftly arrested at the airport and charged with humiliating or talking about, criticizing the King himself.

So this shows you that Bahrain is not ruled by the rule of law but by a tyrannical regime that needs to change.

Press TV: And how do you feel about the international response or the lack of it Mr. Shehabi, because you know the US claims that it wants to spread democracy but it is not saying much about Bahrain and secondly we have the regional countries such as the UAE and Saudi Arabia supporting the Bahraini forces in what they are doing against their own people?

Shehabi: Unfortunately today we have what we call the counterrevolution made up of Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Israel and others and these forces are continuing to attack the Arab people everywhere in Egypt, in Syria, in Iraq, in Tunisia. These forces are trying to stop any emergence of a real democracy, real power of the people.

And for Bahrain itself it is clear how these forces, these countries and also the United States, the United Kingdom, they are all in the same stand. They are defending the regime; they are giving deaf ear to the calls for human rights respect and also for democracy.

Unfortunately, this double standard by the West which is on the one hand claiming to promote democracy and the human rights in the world but on the other hand declining to listen to the voices of reason and voices of democracy in Bahrain, this is why the people are not going to stop at any cost because the alternative for their movement is to allow this dictatorial regime to continue its atrocities against the people.

I believe that the time for the United States especially and also Britain which is defending the ruling family relentlessly to change the attitude and they should know that if they don’t do that, then the alternative is to have this ISIL and other militants which are targeting all the people in the region and also in the world at large.

Press TV: And finally Mr. Shehabi, I want to ask you all these regimes that are supporting the Bahraini monarchy have a lot of money and a lot of resources at their finger tips. How much of an influence does that have then on the fact that these people on the streets in Bahrain are laypeople or the common people?

Shehabi: Look my friend, I am really upset and disgusted by the fact that big countries, large countries like the United States, like Britain are being silenced by money because the Saudis have nothing but money, because the United Arab Emirates have nothing but money which they are investing in London, because of that these people are compromising their principles – the so-called principles – for the sake of obtaining a billion here and a billion there, for the sake of signing huge military contracts. For what? – Just to silence the people who are calling for democracy.

I believe the Western countries today are working against their own interest by promoting dictatorship, despotism and tyranny in the Middle East and unless they change that they will themselves be at the receiving end of the terrorist threat which is emanating from those countries which were denied the right to have democracy and respect of the human rights.

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