Saturday, December 15, 2012

Ms. Maryam Al-Khawaja Interview

Maryam Al-Khawaja is the acting President of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights. She is involved in documenting human and political rights abuses in Bahrain and influencing foreign governments to act against the Bahraini Kingdom.
In this podcast, Mr. Stephen Garvey, Foundation for Democratic Advancement Executive Director, interviews Ms. Maryam Al-Khawaja, acting President of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights. Maryam is filling in for Nabeel Rajab, who is currently imprisoned in Bahrain for various charges such as calling an illegal gathering and insulting a Bahraini official over twitter. Maryam discusses the current human rights situation in Bahrain including the state of the Bahraini media and conditions in Bahraini prisons. In addition, she discusses the geostrategic politics of Bahrain involving the United States and other western powers, and these countries' unwillingness to put their spoken values and principles before their perceived self-interest. Maryam argues that this self-interested approach of western governments in particular the United States to Bahrain is counter productive in the long term, because the Bahraini people will ultimately be triumphant over the Bahraini Kingdom, and in the process the American government will create enemies rather than friends, not to mention diminish its credibility. In consideration of the Bahraini parliament, she says that this government body is a democratic facade because the elected lower house, Council of Deputies, has no monetary and legislative authority, and gerrymandering ensures that the majority of the officials in the Council of Deputies are pro-Kingdom, rather than representative of the voice of Bahrainis. Finally, Maryam draws parallels with the ongoing struggle in Syria, and shares her perspective on the rise of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and how it relates to Bahrain. For non-mainstream, insightful, and provocative discussion from people working in the field of international politics, listen in or download the FDA podcasts.

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