Bahrain Grand Prix should not proceed
12 Apr 2012

 This letter was originally published in today’s issue of The Financial Times. 

Sir, As you report, there is opposition from within Bahrain to the Formula One motor race going ahead as scheduled at the end of next week (“Bahrain youth group targets Grand Prix”, April 9). From outside Bahrain, we would agree that the political, security and human rights context in Bahrain today all militate against this high-profile, profitable business and sporting event going ahead in a “business as usual” way: political freedoms deserve the support of business too.

As has been shown time and again in the multifarious protests of the Arab Spring in the past 17 months, people across the Arab world want political freedom – including freedom of speech and freedom of assembly – as well as economic opportunities and growth. This is a combination international businesses should find it in their own interests to support.

Bahrain, though, continues to turn away from reform and support of basic rights towards repression. Bahrain opposition leader Abdulhadi al-Khawaja is in critical condition, having spent more than 60 days on hunger strike in protest at his detention.

Despite repeated calls for his release from international rights organisations and a statement from UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon, the Bahraini government has refused to release him to Denmark, where he is a citizen.

Despite this, the Bahraini government wants to bask in the positive international publicity it anticipates receiving through the Formula One motor race going ahead. Yet all the signs are that the government is likely to intensify its harsh clampdown on local activists before and during the Grand Prix, with these and other so-called “security measures” risking endangering human rights activists, racegoers and Formula One team members alike.

Until the government of Bahrain shows a real commitment to reforms promised in the Bahrain Independent Commission for Inquiry report last November and respects the fundamental human rights of its own citizens, international events such as the Bahrain Grand Prix should not proceed.

Kirsty Hughes, Chief Executive, Index on Censorship

6 responses to “Bahrain Grand Prix should not proceed”

  1. […] tyres, tear gas and Molotov cocktails. Bahrain’s ongoing unrest pushed human rights organisations to call for the race to be […]

  2. […] condemns the arrest and deportation of foreign journalists covering demonstrations against the Bahrain Grand Prix this past […]


    Pharaoh Salman bin Abdel Aziz:
    Saudi Pharaoh: “Let My People Go” Dr. Walid Ruwayha, your Saudi “Dissident” Paris Neighbor

    Pharaoh Salman bin Abdel Aziz,
    “…. come to Fir’aun and say: Surely we are the messengers of the Lord of the worlds. Then send with us the children of Israel ….” Qur’an: (26:10-17) “…. And there came to them a noble apostle saying: Deliver to me the servants of Allah; …. Qur’an: (44:17-18) “O Moses! …. that if you remove the plague from us we will believe you and we will send away with you the Children of Israel” Qur’an: (7.134).
    I distinctly remember ten years ago, on an Air France flight, originating from Al-Riyadh – Saudi Arabia, I boarded the plane at Beirut airport. Our destination was Paris. My seat- neighbor, a French businessman, engaged a conversation. I made the remark: “I guess that you miss your French night life?” Laughing out loud, he answered: “Sir, never in my life did I participate in such crazy Saudi high society, especially the princes’, sex parties. I want to quickly end-up my work in Paris and fly back to Saudi Arabia.”
    In this context, here is an up to date joke: The Times of India, Akbar Ponani, March, 7, 2012: “Saudi Arabia shows second film publicly in 30 years.” What a revolutionary achievement! But tell us Prince Salman, what movies do you, not show only, but “Produce” in your palaces whether in Saudi Arabia or abroad?
    You and your Gulf clan have built an anti-democratic, prestidigitator’s self-interest-oriented-scamp-system charade aiming to serving and protecting the stolen and illegal privileges of 7 000 members of the ‘royal family!’ and to, at the same time, cruelly and unjustly, smother that of the Saudi people. The laugh is that you preach other countries to become “Democratic.” What is the difference, except in the language, between your “system” and that of Mubarak, bin Ali, Qaddafi or the others?
    Today, Arab Muslim populations especially in the Gulf countries, suffering at the hand of their “Pharaoh rulers” as the Jews had suffered under Pharaoh.
    “…. Will ye not fear (Allah)? …. Of all the creatures in the world, will ye approach males, and leave those whom Allah created for you to be your mates? Nay, ye are people transgressing (all limits) …. I do detest your doings.” The Qur’an; Surat ash-shuara: 160-168
    In the Gulf, in order to plunder; pillage; strip of its possession; steal; deprive them of their rights; succumb; submit; buckle under the US; to nourish your sex lust; to sin lavishly and extravagantly in order to satisfy your greed; and to cheat the entire Gulf populations; you and the other Gulf Pharaohs, Partnering with the “devil”, created the holiest of all lands, Saudi Arabia, the GCC ‘Gulf Criminal Cartel’, as your “Sodom and Gomorra.”
    Just to remind you: In both Christian and Islamic traditions, Sodom and Gomorrah located, in Palestine, at the south end barren Dead Sea area, have become synonymous with impenitent sin, and their fall with a proverbial manifestation of God’s wrath; also been used as metaphors for vice and homosexuality viewed as a deviation.
    To me as a Muslim, any nation’s society which places the highest value on the ‘humanity’ of man and honors the noble ‘human’ characteristics is truly civilized. When and if, materialism is given the highest value, whether it is in the form of a ‘theory’, such as in the Marxist interpretation of history, or in the form of material production and consumption, as is the case with the US and European countries, where all other human values are sacrificed at its altar, then such a nation-society is unjust. Thus, only Islamic values and morals, Islamic teachings and safeguards, are worthy of mankind, and from this unchanging and true measure of human progress, Islam is the real civilization and Islamic nation-society is truly civilized. “Who cause corruption in the land and do not amen.” Qur’an: ash-Sh’ara; 26:146-152. “Those who believe fight in the cause of Allah, and those who disbelieve fight in the way of taghut (despot). So fight against the allies of Satan. Indeed, the plot of Satan has ever been weak.” Qur’an: an-Nisa; 4:76. “And Allah presents an example of those who believed: the wife of Pharaoh, when she said, ‘My Lord, build for me near to You a house in Paradise and save me from Pharaoh and his deeds and save me from the wrongdoing people.” Qur’an: at-Tahreem; 66:11. “You are the best nation produced (as an example) for mankind. You enjoin what is right and forbid what is wrong and believe in Allah ….” Qur’an: al-Imran; 3:110.
    Plato and Aristotle define a tyrant as, ” an absolute ruler who governs without restrictions; a ruler who exercises power in a harsh, cruel manner; one who rules without law; an oppressive, harsh, arbitrary person looks to his own advantage rather than that of his subjects; and uses extreme and cruel tactics—against his own people as well as others”.
    1. Video: Qatari Pharaoh prime minister Hamad bin Jassem and “israel”:
    Qatari Pharaoh Hamad bin Jassim licking “israeli” boots in order to stay in power., 18/04/2012: “Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni made an odd decision. She canceled her participation in the UN-sponsored sixth International Conference on New or Restored Democracies, which is being held next month in Qatar. The reason for the cancelation: the participation in the event by Palestinian government lawmakers from Hamas …. Perhaps Israel should declare a boycott of Qatar, the only Arab state that is willing to maintain friendly relations with it and to permit an Israeli representation to operate in Doha, despite the absence of formal diplomatic ties? …. Furthermore, Qatar was the target of great pressure and criticism for having invited her …. Qatari Foreign Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassem al-Thani, was not deterred – just as he has not been deterred from meeting Israeli officials in New York and other locations …. Livni apparently decided that Israel was not obligated to respect the boldness shown by Qatar’s leaders ….”
    My father Dr. Amin Ruwayha, and other Muslim Arab Nationalists, fought, suffered and paid dearly to free our countries from the imperialist’s yoke. According to the famous, infamous, “British Foreign Ministry Secret Documents; For Your Eyes Only’, my father was arrested in Palestine, on the 18th of November, 1938, by the British forces, the British Foreign Office Document N° 233, and Reference N °. 0F/505/57; sent by the High Commissioner for Palestine, Jerusalem 18th November, 1939, and N°. 163 (2835/478/21) Jeddah, December 19, 1939, says: «On his arrival at Lydda airport on the 10th November, 1939, Dr. RUWEIHA was apprehended on my instructions and was placed in detention …. His passport which bore the number 155 was issued on the 8th February, 1939, by the Saudi Arabian Consul in Baghdad and is valid until 1940 ….. His attitude towards us is well known and his many contacts throughout the Arab world would enable him to do considerable mischief…. Ibn Saud seeks as a favor to him if some way of releasing RUWEIHA can de found … Am transmitting King’s request to proper authorities but fear they are unlikely to release RUWEIHA who is regarded to be dangerous.’ My kidnaped father was ‘placed in detention’ as the British said, for seven years in Rhodesia, South Africa. A political Muslim Arab-nationalist prisoner, who was cruelly mistreated, was never charged nor did he stand trial. British democracy! In reference to the above, I wrote in 1990, my Ph.D. thesis ‘Terrorism and Hostage Taking in the Middle East.”
    2. Video: a Saudi Prince throwing money at a singer; Saudi activists have been protesting of high unemployment rates, bad infrastructure and corruption despite high oil revenues: and
    3. Video: Pharaoh Al-Walid bin Talal:
    4. The CIA paying the Pharaohs:
    5. Pharaoh Guy Prince kills his sex lover servant in a London hotel elevator:
    6. Pharaoh Salman bin Abdel Aziz: On the personal pedestal-level, as your neighbor for almost over twenty years, I would like to remind you of several points that I have been evoking and repeating for the past years that you chose and choose to ignore and discard completely. In reality what is happening in our Paris/France building is exactly what is taking place, on a much larger scale, in Saudi Arabia. Mr. Armalet, your Paris Major d’Homme, is faithfully applying your methods. Mr. Ibrahim, including five other members of his family, has been serving you for more than twenty five years. His favorite pass time was (is) spreading around real personal stories, happenings and events related to your family. They are ‘Open-personal-secrets’ known to the majority of the other owners. I will mention only a couple of examples. Once, five years ago, when I was waiting for Mr. Armalet, Ibrahim told me how he always flies with the “Prince’s” family to London. He said: “My job, every night, is to escort the “Prince’s” daughter to different ‘Discos’ filled with alcohol, drunks and sex, where the “Princess” dances until dawn. I am fed up.” Another example: Many neighbors have, constantly, complained to me about the all night long noisy dancing and singing parties that are taking place. How alcohol bottles are being thrown down the garbage hatch, asking me how a Muslim Prince can allow and accept such acts taking place in his apartment?
    Pharaoh Salman bin Abdel Aziz,
    I reality using the “GCC”, the diabolic Saudi Pharaohs are, intentionally and cheaply sacrificing Saudi oil in exchange for US and European support to sustain your tyrannical and despotic “regimes.” It is a convenience-marriage deprived from any moral values, where all concerned parties, collectively and willingly selling their souls to the devil, concocted the formula: “Give me cheap oil and stay in power.”
    Any elementary oil analyst will tell you that this will and cannot last. At a given moment, soon, it will explode. Currently, especially the US and European economies, are very vulnerable to oil prices taking a hike. Thus, delicately dealing with The Islamic Republic of Iran’s “Nuclear Dead-end” issue; totally ignoring the Gulf despotic puppet regimes; desperately crawling in order to maintain any presence in Iraq; and franticly succumbing to “israeli” different and usual blackmail. If Houdini was alive he would have certainly be amazed.
    Although especially the Saudis, are being cheated and penalized by their scrupulous ruling Pharaohs’ acts, other region’s countries like Iraq and The Islamic Republic of Iran are benefiting because their oil has not been, and is not, depleted. The reserves are subsiding and the price of an oil barrel is, and will be, skyrocketing. Thus, in the long term the group will find dry oil wells, while the second entity will be blessed with high oil reserves married to prices neighboring USD 200 per barrel.
    Ironically enough those countries, especially the microscopic ones like Qatar and Bahrain, are preaching; advocating; and promoting the concept of “Democracy” while their countries occupy disgraceful and lamented position on the list of countries not respecting “Human Rights.” In addition, we have a megalomaniac ruler who upgraded is status from “emir” to “king.”
    Quoting your ally, who enjoys several military basses in Bahrain, the “US State Department – Diplomacy in Action”: “Political tensions flared in the weeks preceding the October elections in Bahrain. The government arrested more than 200 Shia men it accused of inciting or involvement in street violence. Those arrested included some, but not all, of the leaders of two groups, Haq and Wafa’, which reject the monarchy and had called for a boycott of the elections. The government charged 23 of those arrested with involvement in a “terror network” pursuant to the 2006 counterterrorism law. The electoral process also was marred by the government’s banning of the two main legal opposition parties’ Web sites and newsletters. The government did not allow international observers to monitor the elections. The government also continued to restrict freedom of assembly and association. Security forces intervened in demonstrations and limited and controlled political gatherings during the year. NGOs and civil society groups were required to register with the government and provide membership lists. In September, the Ministry of Social Development effectively shuttered a local human rights organization, Bahrain Human Rights Society, when a ministerial decree ordered the dissolution of the society’s board of directors and appointed a ministry employee to be the group’s interim head.”
    Consequently, the Gulf Pharaohs know quiet well that time is not in their favor. They abandon Democracy, crush civil rights, plunder and steal what they can transferring the bounty to foreign safe havens in the form of secret bank accounts and, en route, buying buildings, palaces, supermarkets, shares in different renowned companies, etc. in order, they think, to prepare for the “cold days.” I want to assure them that, after they run away like scarred rabbits as did other tyrants, we will go after them in order to restitute and recover our rights, all of it.
    Anyone speculating that I am exaggerating, overstating or magnifying, here is a westerner’s eyewitness and renowned author adhering, confessing, professing and attesting to the truth of my revealed thoughts, fears and dismay.
    “We won’t trouble Saudi’s tyrants with calls to reform while we crave their oil”: 15/03/2011, The Guardian, George Monbiot (Author of several bestselling books: The Age of Consent; A Manifesto for a New World Order and Captive State; etc.) “Did you hear it? The clamor from western governments for democracy in saudi Arabia? The howls of outrage from the White House and No 10 about the shootings on Thursday, the suppression of protests on Friday, the arrival of Saudi troops in Bahrain on Monday? No? Nor did I. Did we miss it, or do they believe that change is less necessary in Saudi Arabia than it is in Libya? If so, on what grounds? The democracy index published by the Economist Intelligence Unit places Libya 158th out of 167, and Saudi Arabia 160th; at least in Libya, for all the cruelties of that regime, women are not officially treated as lepers were in medieval Europe. Last week, while explaining why protests in the kingdom is unnecessary, the foreign minister, Prince Saud Al-Faisal, charmingly promised to ‘cut off the fingers of those who try to interfere in our internal matters’ …. he probably meant it. If mass protests have not yet materialised in Saudi Arabia, it’s because the monarchy maintains a regime of terror, enforced with the help of torture, mutilation and execution. Yet our leaders are even more at ease among the Saudi autocracy than they were in the court of Colonel Gaddafi. The number of export licences granted by the UK government for arms sales to the kingdom has risen roughly fourfold since 2003. The last government was so determined to preserve its special relationship with the Saudi despots that it derailed British justice by forcing the Serious Fraud Office to drop its inquiry into corruption in the al-Yamamah deals. Why? Future weapons sales doubtless play a role. But there’s an even stronger imperative. A few days ago the French bank Société Générale warned that unrest in Saudi Arabia could push the oil to USD 200 a barrel. Abdullah’s kingdom is the world’s last ‘swing producer’: the only nation capable of raising crude oil production if it falls elsewhere, or if demand outstrips supply. As a result, political disruption there is as threatening to the stability of western governments as it is to the Saudi regime …. But even if the regime remains unchallenged, it’s not clear that it can keep delivering. The WikiLeaks cables showed American diplomats questioning the kingdom’s ability to keep raising production. One cable suggested that its reserves have been overstated by 40% …. The true condition of its oil fields is a state secret …. Another cable questioned the Saudi ability to keep moving the market. ‘Clearly they can drive prices up, but we question whether they any longer have the power to drive prices down for a prolonged period.’ …. Chris Huhne, the energy secretary, argues that ‘…. We cannot afford to go on relying on such a volatile source of energy’. Oil dependency means dependency on Saudi Arabia. Dependency on Saudi Arabia means empowerment of its despotic monarchy. An oil-dependent economy means an impregnable tyranny in Saudi Arabia.”
    Here is the Qur’an’s ‘Pharaoh’ story that I hope will serve you, today’s Pharaohs, as a lesson. You will definitely end-up in the same manner: “French Professor Joseph Davidovits, the director of Geopolymer Institute in his famous book entitled “Ils ont bati les pyramides”, has resolved all problems and puzzles which were told about the way that the pyramids were built. French and U.S. researchers assert that the huge stones used by the Pharaohs to build the pyramids are just limestone, mud, other materials and water that were taken from the Nile`s soil, has been heated at high temperatures; …. clay was used as a mean to move the stones on special railway … tests made by using Nanotechnology proved the existence of large quantities of water in these rocks; such quantities do not exist in natural stones …. they poured the clay in moulds to make identical stones …. The great pyramid, with the height of 146 meters, was the highest building in the world for the last 4500 years and continued until the nineteenth century. Electronic microscope was used to analyse samples of the pyramids stones …. Quartz crystals appeared clearly as a result of heating the mud. Davidovits stated that we don`t have in the nature like these stones. The analysis by Mini E scale indicated the presence of silicon dioxide too. This is another proof that the stones are not natural …. But what does the Quran say? Let’s my brothers and sisters consider and praise Allah, Almighty. After Pharaoh has become an oppressor and declared himself as a God of Egypt: “Fir‘aun (Pharaoh) said: “O chiefs! I know not that you have an ilâh (a god) other than me.” (Qur’an: al-Qassas; 38) …. Another striking feature of Pharaoh’s regime is the use of military power against his own people, in the very same way as the modern tyrants …. However, the Pharaoh did not stop, he wanted to challenge God`s power and build a high monument in order to climb it to see who is Allah Almighty …. and that the Pharaoh is the only God of the universe!! The pharaoh asked Haman, his deputy and partner, to build a huge monument to prove to the people that God does not exist …. “So kindle for me (a fire), O Hâmân, to bake (bricks out of) clay, and set up for me a Sarh (a lofty tower, or palace) in order that I may look at (or look for) the Ilâh (God) of Mûsâ (Moses); and verily, I think that he [Mûsâ (Moses)] is one of the liars.” (Qur’an: AlQassas; 38) …. Allah mentions corruption again instructing Prophet Musa (as) to: ‘…. Go to Pharaoh. Indeed, he has transgressed.’ (Qur’an, 20:24) …. Regarding Pharaoh’s body, the Qur’an notes that: ‘Today I will save your dead body so that you may be a sign for those who come after you.” “The Qur’an and Modern Science”, Dr. Maurice Bucaille; Qur’an, 10:9
    One of your think tanks reports about your hoped “perpetual transfer of power mechanism” under “Change and Succession in Saudi Arabia” – Middle East Policy Council, Foreign Reports Bulletin, Nathaniel Kern, Matthew M. Reed: “In the three weeks since Saudi Crown Prince Sultan passed away, many Western pundits have speculated about succession, given the advanced age of senior members of the family, and the uncertain prospect of a generational turnover …. On November 5, nine days after appointing Prince Naif bin Abdul Aziz as Crown Prince; King Abdullah filled the other outstanding vacancy resulting from the death of Crown Prince Sultan on October 22. By appointing Prince Salman, 75, as the new Minister of Defense, King Abdullah has also placed Salman in the lead position to become Crown Prince when Naif becomes King, although the final decision will rest with the Allegiance Commission …. More than a dozen other responsibilities held by Sultan will be reshuffled, with the King and the Crown Prince taking these over. They include various powers, like control over the once-scandal-ridden strategic petroleum product storage program … The new Crown Prince’s portfolio will thus expand to include economic and administrative affairs, as well as coordinating policy towards Yemen, where the Kingdom sees great risk in terrorism and instability …. The King established the Allegiance Commission in October 2006 with hopes that it would guarantee smoother transitions in the future. …. During Sultan’s illness, the King had the absolute power to dismiss him and name a replacement, but he elected not to do so …. Crown Prince Abdullah was the effective ruler from 1995-2005 during the prolonged ill-health of King Fahd, but he lacked the full powers of a King. Thus, with Crown Prince Naif now covered by the Commission’s ability to intercede for reasons of incapacity, some of uncertainty in succession matters may be alleviated.”
    Pharaoh Salman bin Abdel Aziz,
    Summing up, with another flagrant testimony that indicates clearly Pharaoh’s “governing methods and tools”. It is your turn now to preempt; to steal; to appropriate; to win insidiously; and to take surreptitiously, from the Saudis, your illegal and additional “share”. Here is an old, new, Pharaoh’s “Road Map”: “Prince Bandar Bin Sultan Bin Abdul Aziz: The U.S.-Saudi relationship would not be cozy as it is without there being someone well connected on both sides that can move comfortably between them. That someone is the fifty-four-year-old Prince Bandar. Although he ranks low on the royal bloodline (his father is King Fahd’s brother Sultan, the Saudi Defense Minister, but his mother was a house servant), Prince Bandar has been the Saudi Ambassador to the United States since 1983. Prince Bandar once told associates that he is very careful to look after U.S. government officials when they return to private life. ‘If the reputation then builds that the Saudis take care of friends when they leave office,’ Bandar has observed, according to a source cited in The Washington Post, ‘you’d be surprised how much better friends you have who are just coming into office.’ Practically every deal with the Saudis eventually becomes hard to trace, lost in some desert sandstorm back near the wellheads where the money sprang from the first place. Many Washington’s lobbyists, PR firms, and lawyers live off Saudi money. Just about every Washington think tank has taken it. So have the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and every presidential library built in the past thirty years.”
    Dr. Walid Ruwayha
    Your Saudi “Dissident” Paris Neighbor

  4. […] gas Friday, hours after Formula One chief Bernie Ecclestone declared the Gulf nation safe to host a Grand Prix race next […]

  5. Yes there is opposition to the Grand Prix, but there’s also a huge amount of support. Over the next few days you’ll be seeing Bahrainis turning out in hundreds of thousands to watch this race. Most Bahrainis value the huge benefits this race brings to our country and would be furious if it was cancelled. Do we only deserve to be listened to if we throw molotovs at police?

    Your observation that “Bahrain continues to turn away from reform and support of basic rights towards repression” is incorrect by all standards. Bassiouni and many others have credited Bahrain on the very substantive reforms which have been introduced in recent months; and the state has made a number of very significant moves to bring itself in to line with the rule of law and human rights standards. The police are now exercising much greater restraint in managing protests thanks to extensive retraining and clear new guidelines. Even if you were to argue that the Government still hasn’t gone far enough please have enough intellectual honesty to acknowledge that they are moving in the right direction.

    You make some very brazen generalisations about what Bahrainis want. Yes, most Bahrainis support the King’s drive towards reforms, and there is still much that must be done to make our system fairer, more accountable and more effective – but the vast majority of us support reform not bloodshed and revolution with highly uncertain outcomes.

    Please don’t just listen to those who are shouting the loudest.

  6. Mahmoona says:

    Can we get a petition going to stop this – on Avaaz on something?