Bahrain: Desert Island Risks

Feb 02, 2013, 05:58 PM, Block 346, Sea Front, Al Manamah, Bahrain

The whole piece can be heard here:

Bahrain, a name which means 'Two Seas' in Arabic, is a tiny island in the Persian Gulf linked by causeway to Saudi Arabia to the west and overlooked by Iran to the east. Its place in regional politics however is anything but diminutive.

Home to a Shiite Muslim majority and a Sunni minority, tensions between the two sects have been bubbling under the surface for years. The ruling Al Khalifa family who are Sunni have been accused of denying certain rights to the Shiite population. On the other hand, the Al Khalifas have been seen as an ally to the West, a modernising family who have diversified the economy and put the island on the map as more than just an oil producing nation. Civil unrest in Bahrain is not new. However, things are changing in the Middle East. First Tunisia, then Egypt have both toppled their leaders through 'people power' fuelled by social networking on the internet. Will Bahrain be next?

In 'Bahrain: Desert Island Risks, Former expatriate Miranda Diboll took advantage of her housewife visa status in the country and interviewed protesters at the Pearl Roundabout while many international journalists were blocked from entry at the airport. The Bahraini authorities were unaware of her radio journalist past and left her alone as walked around the protest site, microphone in hand.

Only three days earlier, the Roundabout had been attacked in the middle of the night by security forces, leaving four dead and three hundred injured. Two days later, troops withdrew from the site and thousands of protesters returned. The day after that, Miranda donned her headscarf and went down to interview them. These are their voices, their anger, their hopes.

We also meet a very loyal British, now naturalized Bahraini who supports the regime.

At the time of writing in October 2012, the Uprising is still going strong.