I was shocked to learn today that my friend Bahraini blogger Ali Abdulemam was arrested. Although this is not the first time Ali has been arrested, he is targeted because Bahrain’s government knows very well that he is a leading voice amongst Bahrain’s youth. As unpleasant it might sound, Ali’s arrest was not a surprise. He is being targeted for merely being influential in a country that has not yet reconciled itself with its own people and their diversity.
I learned of the news via a friend, and then saw that he had sent me an email when he got the phone call from the security forces asking him to come in for questioning. Later, the official news agency published on its website the news of Ali’s arrest. It even alleged that he was apprehended while trying to escape the country. This indicates the little kingdom’s serious turmoil after weeks of arrests and government-sponsored sectarian hate propaganda.
Ali is a free-thinker, a father of three children, and more importantly the kind of voices for reform the West has been eager to see emerge in the region. His arrest is yet another blow to a growing movement for civil rights reform across the region. I hope he will not be forgotten like many other young Arabs whose only crime is to want to have a voice.
A small thing you can do if you are a Twitter user: please tweet about Ali, send a message to Bahrain’s Foreign Minister Khalid Al-Khalifa (@khalidalkhalifa) and ask others to do so as well. Please be polite and reasonable.
A collective of bloggers and activists are launching a blog to campaign for Ali’s rlease: http://freeabdulemam.wordpress.com/
This blog will be populated soon.