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Bahrain Conflict: Historical and Analytical Study Research Paper

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Updated: May 21st, 2020

The unrest in the world can be observed in many places where people and the government find themselves in conflict over views, policies and social order. In the last years, the Persian Gulf has been swept by waves of demonstrations with severe outcomes for people. Arab Spring is the name that is commonly used for protests and rebellions that take place against the government, which often lead to violence and loss of life (Panara 80). Bahrain has been majorly touched by violent protests and people are demanding that their rights and freedoms be considered, as well as their wants for a better life.

The conflict itself has deep roots within individual needs of people, social conflict and unique culture. One of the significant factors is that unrest in the Arab world has taken a form of a wave where people are supported by other nations. When a part of the world conflicts with the regime and demands acceptance of human rights, it gives an example for other nations and people do not feel as isolated from the rest of the world. It is crucial that people unite in the fight for their freedoms and establish democracies and governments that are ruled by individuals who decide what is best for the majority of the population.

The history of protests and demands of human rights in Bahrain goes back to the beginning of the twentieth century. People started fighting for their independence hundreds of years ago. First, the area was dominated by Persians and then the British Empire was the ruler of the region. Comparing to close-by nations, Bahrain is one of the oldest ones and has rich cultural history. An interesting fact is that the British government was very much eager to set up laws and regulations, as “This trend was reflected in the attitude of the British authorities as Major Daly, the Political Agent appeared to be in earnest about the question of setting up local departments and internal organizations, especially the establishment of a local judiciary” (Radhi 43).

This shows that there were people who wanted to set an order and give people their rights, so that they can enjoy their lives, even under Britain’s rule. But the wants of individuals did not go too far and since the beginning of the century, human rights were constantly violated and ignored by the government. The only response that people have received were violent put downs of peaceful protests, brutal and unjust treatment. A significant determinant in the conflict and how it was handled is that the authorities that uphold the law have behaved irresponsibly and criminally, violently forcing people to obey, torturing arrestees and killing innocent protestors (Radhi 20).

The denial of medical attention and ability to leave scenes of violence became very common and this outraged people even more. It is evident that the techniques that were used by the government could in no way establish communication or cooperation from citizens but only led to further separation between people and politicians. The hard times that have been predominant for the longest time and have intensified in the last couple of years have proven how people are tired of unjust treatment. The courage and determination that people have exhibited after unacceptable violence deserves great respect and shows how much people are displeased with the current matter of affairs. For people to resort to such drastic actions and continue protesting after their fellow citizens are killed and injured, means that there will be no resolution without the government taking care of its people and changing policies that are demanded to be changed.

It is a sad truth that everything people are asking is the acknowledgment of their nature given rights and freedoms but the government cannot produce results which will allow people to be a part of the system. It is not a small portion of the population but the majority that feels repressed and violated. Not only there is a battle between the government and citizens, there is an inter-social conflict that is taking place. The worst thing is that women in Bahrain are also exposed to violence and their rights and equal treatment are non-existent. The unfortunate fact is that while the majority of society is fighting for human rights there is violence and denial of just treatment within the society itself, from citizens towards other citizens (Miller 363). This can be explained by the fact that men are denied their rights from the government and public institutions, and they have nothing left but to act their anger out on women. This is another significant issue in Arab society, as there are two parts to the problem.

A movement going against the way government runs the country and abuses everyone in general and there is a social conflict as well, where women are separated from society and equal treatment even further by being abused from the hands of both government and men. In order to analyze the issue, several theories must be considered. One is the social conflict theory which is closely tied with human basic needs for primary resources, as well as governmental support and laws. Social mobilization theory has also been key in the developing events, as many people had to be included in the protests and the particular way these demonstrations were carried out had a significant effect and outcome. Cultural theory is also very relevant in the interconnections within the society between different classes and genders. Not only the government creates the absence of any order and justice but there is also alienation that is going on in the population itself. Overall, human and governmental basic needs will help to understand the issue and look for possible solutions to the conflict (Dreyer 11).

The protests and violence of Bahrain have been going on for some time and violations of human rights have caught international attention. As usual, the superpowers are very much concerned with the problems that the world is facing but as the conflict is very much cultural in the Arabic part, it is unique to the nation and thus, it becomes hard to intervene. The Eastern society has had a very specific way of life with own beliefs, traditions and general cultural differences. In order for the world to change, there must be a gradual process that takes place naturally. Forceful intervention will bring only more harm to the country, as people need to develop an understanding of their own culture and how it must be changed. The regime that had its bases rooted deep within the society must be overthrown by people who are citizens, otherwise it will not be effective (Fuchs 9).

Religion and traditions play an important role in the modernization and acceptance of the new order. A part of society is being influenced by the Western culture and society based on freedom of expression while the other one stays conserved and true to ancestral traditions. The fact that people are separated into two camps creates problems for the unification and the protests that take place become less effective. Mobilization theory talks in detail about why people unite and take their views and demands to the streets. Several suggestions propose that the reasons for the ineffectiveness of protests and uprising are due to the lack of unity between people. This can be compared to the conflict that took place in Egypt where people were able to form into a unit, so that their meets and demands have been heard and addressed.

People and their opinions are most effective when there are large numbers of protestors because the majority always rues and the governments have no choice but give into demands of the public. Another major factor is that the government’s armed forces in Bahrain and other authorities were against people and have been active participants in violence against the population. In comparison to Egypt, the army was on the side of people and did not take such direct action towards the demonstrators (Fuchs 10). The government’s unjust treatment greatly limits people of their basic needs and causes instability because there is no external or internal support.

Every society has its own rules and norms but in a nation where governments do not help citizens, the conditions of life become twice as detrimental to people’s health. The psychological and physiological limitations in relation to support and social programs lead to a limitation in the basic needs of people. In this case, human needs are violated on two fronts. First of all, people are being oppressed by the government and the needs for food and shelter are limited. As people cannot rely on the government for support, they are forced to live in slums and neighborhoods where there is lack of educational system, social programs and security. It is also a place conditions become detrimental to people’s physical health and mortality rates are very high. So, living quarters are not as safe as they should be and this makes people even more depressed and segregated. According to Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, the physical needs of a person are primary to their existence (Hegner 214).

In a society that is divided by internal turmoil the resources are hard to come by. This develops another problem following the basic needs, which are security and need for safety. A society that does not feels safe will be fearing what tomorrow will bring and thus, will have less obligations and want to continue. People will realize that the only way to secure their lives is to demand and take it forcefully which will cause escalation of conflict. People who are not happy in their homes will transfer that sort of attitude and behavior to their social life and this will cause even more unrest and instability. The most important solution is that people must start to better their individual lives and the relationships they have with individuals closest to them. A family that is strong and dependent on each other will make the links between people in personal and public lives much stronger, which in turn, will lead to a more united society.

Another equally important need is that of just laws and governments. People who are not able to rely on their justice system will distrust the authorities enforcing the laws and the government itself (Taylor 52). This is specifically the case in Bahrain where the courts have taken advantage of their power and constantly violate people’s rights. This can be seen from the numerous violence cases and unlawful arrests that took place during the protests. The abusive treatment of protestors, who were in police custody, shows not only the immoral attitude of authorities but also the corruption of government officials. In order for the system to work, the criminals must be arrested independent of their social status, class or occupation.

The skewed treatment of people without rights and privileges, cause even more outrage and unrest in the country. Also, the punishment must be sufficient and equal to the detrimental acts performed by the offender. It is clear that when people are tortured, as is the case in Bahrain uprising, people will continue their protesting and demands. The key problem is that government and authorities of the law are separate from the population and use the services of forces that are not of native population. People do not feel protected and thus, cannot rely on the government. This sort of absence of structure creates chaos in the nation and disturbs the peace, as is evident from the situation in Bahrain. One the possible solutions would be to hire police and government agents from the population. This would solve several problems, as people will have jobs that will add security to their lives and increase their resources, so the basic needs will be satisfied. It will establish a direct link between the government and population which will increase trust and mutual understanding in the nation.

Social conflict theory takes a direct look at the conditions of life in Bahrain for a very long time. Since the 1920’s people have been fighting for their human rights, independence and intercultural differences. As the conflict has never seized to exist and people did not have time to adjust to the natural order of things, the protests and rights violations became an inseparable part of the social life. The settlements between the authorities and the people have only been partial, which led to more violent escalations and protests (Ramsbotham 33). The distant separation between those in power and citizens has cause further separation in understanding and mutual respect.

The fact that the economy has been suffering during all this time makes matters worse. Even though there are natural resources that can be used, the infrastructure for the development is much limited and people cannot rely on social programs, as the budget is low. This adds to the unemployment rates and returns to the basic needs of people because inability to work is a great determinant in individual well being. Even when a person is determined to sacrifice time and efforts for the government and work, the positions that are offered are either absolutely inhumane or do not pay enough to support a family. Not to mention the repression that is going on from the government which increases the strain and people become physically and psychologically unable to function.

During the protests in Bahrain the government has shown to be very violent and harsh towards people, determined to force the nation under its own views and rules. Two unequal forces have clashed for a seemingly common goal, as everyone wants to live in prosperity. The difference is that the government has used marshal law and the military help to corner people and give them no way out. The demonstrations that people participated in were peaceful and had one common purpose, to make the government realize their demands. There are several steps to a conflict resolution, first there is peaceful requesting and resolution, where two parties can meet and discuss a new agreement (Edgar 10).

Then, there are protests and people unite to be heard and the demands are produced. In this case, the requests can be either violent or peaceful. In Bahrain, people have started with peaceful demonstrations but have received unequal and unneeded amount of resistance from the government. Even though the protests were peaceful, they were forceful and the government sought direct action. It is very much understandable that after many efforts people lose hope and all that is left to do is protest. Presently, the government has not been completely ignorant to the requests and demands of people and some things have changed.

Since 2007 there have been efforts to change the state of Bahrain to the better and democracy and laws have made an attempt to move in the positive direction. As some government officials are well aware that laws and policies are not being upheld, several reforms have been put in place to enforce the efforts in controlling the governments, both central and local ones. There are few solutions that can be used to increase life quality of people in Bahrain. Government could start to develop industry, as the region is rich with resources and people will use their employment as a reliable factor. The increase of social programs and education for women and men will enable the nation to become internationally noticed, so that global relations develop and businesses prosper.

A strict adherence to the laws would make sure that both citizens and authorities are equal in the responsibility to follow the set order (Turner 45). In regards to the intra-social gender differences a more assertive movement by women could be made. Many cultures have seen significant changes to the treatment of women and the only possible way to accomplish changes is in the same way the population has been addressing the government, in a way of protests. Women must use their numbers, form organizations and make their problems known to the government and the world. This problem has been observed in all cultures, as society has always been one sided towards gender roles and their division within society.

From many examples globally and in the Eastern world, it is possible to conclude that people do not rise up for any reason. Bahrain is a country with a lot of potential and people are very much deserving of a chance to have peace and ability to enhance their lives to the standards they set for themselves.

Works Cited

Dreyer, David. The Dynamics of International Rivalry: An Issue Conflict Approach. Ann Arbor, United States: ProQuest, 2008. Print.

Edgar, Andrew. Cultural theory: the key concepts. New York, United States: Routledge, 2002. Print.

Fuchs, Anna. Bahrain – The Exception in the Gulf. Munich, Germany: GRIN Verlag, 2013. Print.

Hegner, Barbara. Assisting in Long-term Care. Clifton Park, United States: Cengage Learning, 2001. Print.

Miller, Angela. Violence and Abuse in Society: Understanding a Global Crisis. Santa Barbara, United States: ABC-CLIO, 2012. Print.

Panara, Carlo. The Arab Spring: New Patterns for Democracy and International Law. Dancers, United States: MartinusNijhoff Publishers, 2013. Print.

Radhi, Ali. Judiciary and Arbitration in Bahrain: A Historical and Analytical Study. Frederick, United States: BRILL, 2003. Print.

Ramsbotham, Oliver. Contemporary Conflict Resolution. Maiden, United States: Polity, 2011. Print.

Taylor, Anthony. Justice As a Basic Human Need. New York, United States: Nova Publishers, 2006. Print.

Turner, Jonathan. Handbook of Sociological Theory. New York, United States: Springer, 2006. Print.

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