This post is a deviation from the norm, but it needs to be discussed.
Five years ago my family hosted our first Middle Eastern exchange student, a young Bahraini woman by the name of Maryam Alkhawaja. The four of us; Hannah, Jane, Maryam and I; stayed up until the wee hours of the morning each night during her visit discussing travel, school, trends, religion, politics and human rights (an issue for which Maryam’s family has worked courageously and tirelessly in Bahrain). In the intervening years Maryam has testified before congress about human rights abuses in Bahrain and worked for the Bahrain Center for Human Rights. Needless to say she is an incredibly accomplished young woman and I proud and honored to call her my sister.
Tonight when I checked my Facebook I saw that Maryam’s status spoke of her father’s arrest. My heart sank lower and lower into my stomach as I continued to read her tweets and posts. Her father, Abdulhadi Alkhawaja, along with her brothers in-law were arrested, dragged from their apartment, beaten until unconscious and then carried away at about 3 am Bahrain time.
I simply want to take this time to bring this story to a wider audience and spread awareness of the abuses of power that are taking place in Bahrain even as I write. In early February the entire world watched as protests and revolutions, mostly peaceful, were carried out in Tunisia, Egypt, Jordan and yes, Bahrain. Now, with our fighter planes hovering over Libya, we have all but forgotten about the rest of the region. Please keep the fight for justice in Bahrain in your thoughts and prayers, especially the Al-khawaja family.