Enjoying beaches, Formula 1 & luxury where the Arab Spring is getting killed? No thanks!!!
Bahrain is presenting itself on this years ITB in Hall 23b as a luxurious tourist destination that combines splendid beaches and motor sport events with the romantic charms of the Orient as well as Western modernity. Exhibitioner Mathias Tourism, for example describes Bahrain as „an idyllic haven for any tourist wanting to spend some time in absolute luxury“ and praises not only its exclusive beaches for the wealthy, but also the relative tolerance of the Muslim country for foreign tourists, but also claims King Hamad bin Isa Al-Khalifa regime is „at the forefront of democracy in the Middle East“. For the protesters that - inspired by the revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt - gathered in Bahrain's Capital Manama in the Spring of 2011 to demand an end to the long standing Regime of the autocratic Khalifa family, this must sound like bitter mockery. In spite of being a very wealthy country due to oil, commerce and tourism, the divide between rich and poor in Bahrain is striking. Especially the Shiite majority is excluded from political and economical participation. Shiites are not allowed to reside in all parts of the country, are excluded from higher public positions and from serving in the police and the army. They are disproportionately effected by poverty and unemployment. Human Rights Organizations even speak of the situation as a form of Apartheid. In addition much of the labour, especially in the tourism driven building sector, is provided by contract workers from South-East Asia who are systematically deprived of their rights and live and work in conditions that amount to modern slavery. In the face of the mass protests the Khalifa-Regime quickly dropped its moderate masque. The protest were brutally suppressed with the help of the Saudi-Arabian Military. Mass arrests, night raids, torture and a campaign of public defamation against all who dared to participate in the protests followed. Doctors were criminalized for treating injured protesters and activists were sentenced to long prison terms by military courts. Even tough the protesters had professed Sunni-shiite unity from the beginning, the regime tried to defame the protests against it as a sectarian civil war. However, the Bahrainis have lost their fear and are not intimidated easily any more. Since the anniversary of the protests on February the 14th 2012 the chain of renewed protests does not end, in spite of the ongoing brutal repression. Today, human rights activist Abdulhadi al-Khawaja, who was sentenced to live after intense torture, is on his 31st day of hunger strike against his imprisonment. Unlike in the cases of Syria and Libya, governments in Europe and North America stay silent when it comes to the human rights violations of their partner regime in Bahrain. The call of the Bahraini people for freedom, human rights and democracy does not seem to be worthy of support, quite the opposite: political and economical relations continue undisturbed. Shortly after the Saudi-Arabian tanks rolled to suppress civilian protests in Bahrain, Germany is selling tanks to the Saudi regime! ITBexhibitioner BIC (Bahrain International Circuit) advertises the upcoming Formula 1 Grand Prix in Bahrain in April with the slogan ‘UNIF1ED – One Nation in Celebration’. Meanwhile, several Bahraini race drivers are behind bars and BIC laid of 23 employees for their participation in the protests. This does not stop Mercedes and Schumi from participating in the race. While the regime welcomes tourists and sport fans who turn a blind eye to the political situation, it prevents human rights delegations from entering the country and deports foreign civilians who show solidarity with the Bahreini people and witnesses its brutal repression by the Khalifa Regime.

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Please do not spend your holiday in dictatorial regimes! Formula 1 – don't race Bahrain! No to arms exports to and military interventions in the Middle East! Free Abdulhadi al-Khawaja and all political prisoners in Bahrain!

For more informationen check: rights.php

Online Petition against Fomula 1 Grand Prix in Bahrain:

V.i.S.d.P: A. Rabiyya, Straße der Pariser Kommune 7, 10243 Berlin

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