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Expat teacher in Bahrain expelled for Facebook entries
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veiledsentiments



Joined: 20 Feb 2003
Posts: 16183
Location: USA

PostPosted: Thu Jan 05, 2012 3:08 am    Post subject: Expat teacher in Bahrain expelled for Facebook entries Reply with quote

This may have been mentioned here before and I missed it. There are 4 articles by this teacher linked on the Atlantic page.

There are things going on all over the Middle East these days, and one must be careful what one posts on Facebook or on this board if you are recognizable.

VS

http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2012/01/witness-to-an-uprising-expelled-from-bahrain-for-posting-to-facebook/250752/
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mashkif



Joined: 17 Aug 2010
Posts: 144

PostPosted: Fri Jan 06, 2012 3:35 pm    Post subject: Re: Expat teacher in Bahrain expelled for Facebook entries Reply with quote

veiledsentiments wrote:
This may have been mentioned here before and I missed it. There are 4 articles by this teacher linked on the Atlantic page.

There are things going on all over the Middle East these days, and one must be careful what one posts on Facebook or on this board if you are recognizable.

VS

http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2012/01/witness-to-an-uprising-expelled-from-bahrain-for-posting-to-facebook/250752/



We're definitely on the wrong side of history with this one. This has nothing to do with Iran -- which I detest -- but the majority population of a relatively wealthy country just wanting to have the freedom to say who runs their lives and how.

YASQOT HAMAD!!!
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johnslat



Joined: 21 Jan 2003
Posts: 12899
Location: Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA

PostPosted: Fri Jan 06, 2012 5:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

"How had I become, by a few YouTube videos and Facebook comments, perceived as such a threat to the government?"

I think he may be overestimating his importance. I doubt that the government regarded him as "such a threat," more likely, I'd say, a minor irritation. He annoyed them, but "such a threat?"

Regards,
John
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veiledsentiments



Joined: 20 Feb 2003
Posts: 16183
Location: USA

PostPosted: Fri Jan 06, 2012 5:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I agree John... it is more likely the employer who got rid of him, not "the government." (not exactly the same thing even if it is a government institution) What it shows is that posts that we may think are innocuous are not perceived as such by employers in the Gulf. They do NOT deal well with public criticism... especially by a Western expat.

So, if you want to keep employed, do be careful.

VS
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johnslat



Joined: 21 Jan 2003
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Location: Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA

PostPosted: Fri Jan 06, 2012 5:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dear VS,

Unless he was using ironic hyperbole - but that seem unlikely to me. The impression I get from the tone of the article is that he takes himself - and the impact he might have - very seriously.

Regards,
John
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mashkif



Joined: 17 Aug 2010
Posts: 144

PostPosted: Sat Jan 07, 2012 10:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

johnslat wrote:
Dear VS,

Unless he was using ironic hyperbole - but that seem unlikely to me. The impression I get from the tone of the article is that he takes himself - and the impact he might have - very seriously.

Regards,
John





Neither of you seems to understand that Bahrain is a police state. It always has been but especially so over the past 11 months. People, regardless of nationality, get arrested, interrogated, fired, deported, and worse simply for clicking on "Like" to a single comment on a single Facebook page. You're either pro-Khalife and you show it by signing "loyalty pledges" and plastering your vehicle with pictures of the "king," or you're an enemy. And if you're an enemy, you're -- at best -- out.

The most infuriating part in the whole story is that America and the West have bought the regime propaganda about its being the bulwark against Iranian encroachment in the region (and I'm not fan of Iran by a long shot), and are persistently turning a blind eye to violent and brutal suppression and harassment conducted by regime mercenaries every single day against tens of thousands of people.
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johnslat



Joined: 21 Jan 2003
Posts: 12899
Location: Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA

PostPosted: Sat Jan 07, 2012 2:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dear mashkif,

"Neither of you seems to understand that Bahrain is a police state."

Oh, I think I know what a police state is - I taught in Saudi for nineteen years.
When you're in such a place, and you find the government's policies intolerable, you have three choices: 1. leave immediately 2. stay - but shut up 3. or stay and agitate.

If you choose the last option and suffer ill consequences, should that come as a surprise? Well, only if you're really innocent of what a police state is.

But if you think the Bahraini government perceived that teacher to be "such a threat," I'd say that you are unacquainted with police states. He was, if anything, a very minor irritation.

Regards,
John
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veiledsentiments



Joined: 20 Feb 2003
Posts: 16183
Location: USA

PostPosted: Sat Jan 07, 2012 2:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

mashkif wrote:
Neither of you seems to understand that Bahrain is a police state.

Obviously you have not read carefully. Nothing positive has been said about the situation in Bahrain (or the US position). I put this up as a warning to everyone to be careful what they post here or on Facebook because all of the Middle East countries are police states of varying levels of oppression.

The difference between that teacher and John and I is that we wouldn't have posted anything on Facebook. And certainly not a video on Youtube that could be connected back to us.

VS
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sliim



Joined: 27 Jan 2006
Posts: 55

PostPosted: Sat Jan 07, 2012 5:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

With all due respect johnslat, I disagree that the teacher was writing in a tone that sounded self-aggrandizing.

However, your three choices of “1. leave immediately 2. stay - but shut up 3. or stay and agitate” is entirely correct.

But given that the teacher was witness to incidents like “Three of the youths (students from the University of Bahrain) were handcuffed, hoods were placed over their heads, and they were taken away on a bus, never to be seen again,” I think that the teacher took a brave and correct course of action. It was neither over-the-top subversive, nor did it acquiesce to the ongoing abuses by the Bahraini government. Essentially, the teacher was faced with the moral dilemma of remaining silent or speaking out. That is not an easy call, and staying quiet would probably eat at one’s conscience. Personally, my time in the ME taught me that I am not able to live in such conditions.

I remember the one time that I did consider moving to Saudi, I was provided with a document to sign from the Saudi embassy in Canada that said (and I am quoting fairly accurately from memory):

“I accept that if I violate the laws of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, I shall be subject to capital punishment. Ladies entering the kingdom are requested to dress modestly.”

Well, when I politely called and requested to discuss that clause with the embassy staff (after all, the general nature of the statement didn’t specify which laws merit such an extreme punishment), I was scolded, yelled at, and hung up on.

So for me, forget it. I would never accept to live in a police state to begin with, but I would not criticise those who do and opt to do what the teacher in question has done.

Personally, I find it more honorable than remaining silent.

Some people believe that by being quiet they are staying “neutral,” but I disagree. The state demands acquiescence, and to abide by the will of the state while students are disappearing and doctors are being criminalized for helping wounded protesters, is, in my view, to side with the state in the conflict.

Further, I was once told that it is an Islamic axiom that, when one is witness to injustice, that they must change the situation with their own hands, and if one cannot, then to speak out against it, and if one cannot, then to at least feel bad about it in one’s heart—but that the latter course of action is the lowest form of faith. Consequently, if one uses the axioms of the host culture as a yardstick for the teacher’s conduct, I would say that the teacher did fairly well under the circumstances.

But I guarantee you this: that I would never set foot in a country to work for an employer that holds my passport, demands me to sign my allegiance to the government, and generally keeps me hostage.

Never, never, never again.
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crewmeal1



Joined: 08 Jul 2010
Posts: 75

PostPosted: Sat Jan 07, 2012 6:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

think the article should have taught us one thing and that is not to get involved with the Country's politics. If you love a Country as much as you do when there are problems stay out of the arena, as there will always be divisions. Your students will be on both sides of the fence and will always ask you for your opinion. Before you know it your words will be taken out of context and used against you in whatever form they like.

I had examples of this when teaching in Syria a couple of years ago. I have always known what the political situation has been like, but I love Syrians for the people that they are not their politics. I ensured I didn't get involved in any such discussions or take sides, especially as I didn't fully understand it. Many students asked me my opinion on Tony Blair and George Bush, and of course I said they'd done a lot of damage in the west which is what they wanted to hear, but that was it I wouldn't elaborate any further.

Moral of this story is stay out of the limelight if you want to enjoy that Country no matter what you think. Facebook is a no no with political feelings.
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mashkif



Joined: 17 Aug 2010
Posts: 144

PostPosted: Sat Jan 07, 2012 9:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

johnslat wrote:
Dear mashkif,

"Neither of you seems to understand that Bahrain is a police state."

Oh, I think I know what a police state is - I taught in Saudi for nineteen years.
When you're in such a place, and you find the government's policies intolerable, you have three choices: 1. leave immediately 2. stay - but shut up 3. or stay and agitate.

If you choose the last option and suffer ill consequences, should that come as a surprise? Well, only if you're really innocent of what a police state is.

But if you think the Bahraini government perceived that teacher to be "such a threat," I'd say that you are unacquainted with police states. He was, if anything, a very minor irritation.

Regards,
John







Most of the above has nothing to do with the point I was trying to make, which was that in a police state _any_ dissent makes one a threat. Whether that "dissent" takes the form of a wink to a particular individual or throwing a Molotov cocktail at the regime leader's cavalcade is not distinguished. Fact is that the Khalife regime _did_ see the gentleman in question as a threat simply because he was not pro-regime or at least completely quiet. His message and tone were not self-aggrandizing at all.

As for keeping quiet, at one point or another one may come across a situation that is so unjust that one cannot keep quiet. Some people bite their tongue and turn a blind eye lest they lose their precious dinar- or riyal-salaries, or out of some utterly misguided politically-correct dogma that they have no business interfering in another country's affairs, ever. I accept such a position but I could never respect such a person.

Personally, I hope the loathsome Khalife regime collapses as spectacularly as those of Saddam, Ben Ali, Mubarak, Saleh and -- hopefully soon -- Assad, and that the people of Bahrain get a chance to decide of their free will who runs their lives and how. I also think we (America) should get on Hamad's case and tell him in no uncertain terms to stop doing this s!@# or else. I say this from Iraq but I would happily say it in Bahrain and to hell with the consequences.

That's it on the subject from me.
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johnslat



Joined: 21 Jan 2003
Posts: 12899
Location: Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA

PostPosted: Sat Jan 07, 2012 10:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dear mashkif,

"Most of the above has nothing to do with the point I was trying to make, which was that in a police state _any_ dissent makes one a threat."

Sorry - I disagree. There is a BIG difference between a "threat" and a "minor irritation." And I repeat - if you think the Bahraini government perceived that teacher to be "such a threat," I'd say that you are unacquainted with police states.

If he really thought he was regarded as "such a threat" by the government, than again, I'm sorry, but, in my opinion, he overestimated his importance quite a bit.

Your posts remind me that starry-eyed idealists really are the most dangerous people in the world. I would suggest, for your own well-being and safety, that you avoid working/living in countries that are "police states."

"I say this from Iraq but I would happily say it in Bahrain and to hell with the consequences."

Well, you'll either have a short life (mosquitoes are also minor irritations, but that doesn't stop them from being swatted) or, perhaps, you'll grow up. I hope it's the latter.

Regards,
John
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sliim



Joined: 27 Jan 2006
Posts: 55

PostPosted: Sun Jan 08, 2012 12:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

johnslat,

When you make insulting comments like the following:

"Your posts remind me that starry-eyed idealists really are the most dangerous people in the world. I would suggest, for your own well-being and safety, that you avoid working/living in countries that are 'police states,'"

You do very little towards lending any credibility to your arguments. That is unfortunate, because what are otherwise intelligent posts by an experienced individual end up coming across as mere condescension and contempt for alternative opinions.

I guess 19 years of Saudi has really sucked the life out of you.

It makes me glad that I never went.
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johnslat



Joined: 21 Jan 2003
Posts: 12899
Location: Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA

PostPosted: Sun Jan 08, 2012 12:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dear sliim,

Insulting? I was being quite serious. Anyone with the attitude that mashkif has SHOULD stay very far away from police states; otherwise the chances are excellent that he/she will end up in prison or worse.

Sorry - Saudi hardly "sucked the life out of" me; in fact, it guaranteed a very pleasant semi-retired life.

You probably should be glad you never went. If you are of the same mind as mashkif, I doubt you could have lasted. And you might well have gotten into a lot of trouble.

Regards,
John
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sliim



Joined: 27 Jan 2006
Posts: 55

PostPosted: Sun Jan 08, 2012 3:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

My apologies johnslat.

I should have known better than to feed a troll.
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