Where the Heck is Bahrain?

Cut and edited from Image:MiddleEast.png, in t...

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The Middle East is erupting with protest after protest so quickly within the last several weeks that it’s hard to keep track of not only what’s going on from minute to minute, but where. 

On 14 February 2011, protestors hit the streets in an Arab country called Bahrain. And I have to admit…I have never heard of Bahrain. Egypt, yes; Tunisia, kinda. But Bahrain??

Well, according to news reports and Twitter feeds, blood is being shed in Bahrain…so where the heck is it?

Bahrain, or the Kingdom of Bahrain, is a small island country located near the western shores of the Persian Gulf. (Saudi Arabia and Qatar are to the West). In Arabic, its name is Mamlakat al-Bahrayn or “Kingdom of the Two Seas.”

The Kingdom is actually a cluster of 33 islands, with Bahrain Island being the largest at 34 miles long and 11 miles wide. The population as of 2010 is approximately 1,250,000. The capital and largest city is Manama.

Its government is that of an absolute monarchy headed by the king, Shaikh Khalifa bin Salman al Khalifa. The House of Khalifa has ruled Bahrain since 1783.

In 1932, oil was discovered in Bahrain (need I say more?) and currently the production and processing of petroleum accounts for approximately 60% of the country’s export $$$. This tiny country reportedly has the fastest growing economy in the Arab world.

And who knew, but Bahrain has a huge tourist industry…more than 8 million visitors per year primarily from surrounding Arab states. This is an interesting phenomenum since 92% of Bahrain is desert, but the coastline must make up for it.

Islam is the official religion.

Oh, and it’s not necessarily convenient to be gay or a woman in Bahrain.

So what are they protesting? Same thing as the Egyptians…an absolute monarchy. The people of Bahrain have never known political freedom.

You can read more about the revolutionary activities in Bahrain here:

http://www.thenewamerican.com/index.php/world-mainmenu-26/africa-mainmenu-27/6374-turmoil-in-the-middle-east-bahrains-revolution

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About pjh95811

I am a writer and poet living in California. I love cats, dogs, nature, poetry, spirituality and the Pacific Ocean.
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