After riotous outbursts and continuing violence, few would believe Bahrain to be a nation of previous peace and contentment.
While Northwestern watches the events with a foreign and disconnected eye, one of the college’s very own international students, junior Christine Roy, experiences heartfelt pain and distress as she can only hear over the phone or witness through the news of her home country’s precipitous turmoil.
Roy informed that Bahrain’s political dynamics present conflict as the monarchy’s leader is a practicing Sunni while 70 percent of Bahrainians are declared Shiite’s. Though disconnect is prevalent between the two religious groups, peace has been generally familiar to the Middle Eastern country.
“This outbreak is nothing like what I have seen in my 20 years of living there.” Roy confesses. “Bahrain has always been known for its peaceful and religious freedom.”
As recent protests in Egypt have resulted in apparent political progress with regards to government officiating, Bahrain hoped the same could be true for their own country.
However, the harmless outcomes of Egypt’s short-lived disorder have not been exemplary of Bahrain’s attempts. After the beginnings of what appeared would be friendly discord, police rioted and attacked citizens, sending the country out of control.
Used to freedoms of religious practice and speech, “The usual, busy night life has been replaced with protests, riots, tear gas and processions.” Roy said.
After conversing with her family amidst the conflict, Roy expressed,” It’s heartbreaking to not be there in my country with my family and friends. It’s hard to be so far away and just be an observer.
Further observations indicate increased high security and severe law restrictions. Roy reveals, “Their army tanks have surrounded the Pearl Roundabout and there is a curfew in Bahrain now,” in order to protect citizens.
While little connection may seem to pertain to NW, Roy reminds students and faculty that despite where one exists, the world will always establish a close connection to the busy lives we lead.