F1 Bahrain: F Stands for Forgotten Uprising

by John Ainger

Looking back, I think the only things I knew, or thought I knew, about Bahrain was that it used to be a British colony, it had a Saudi-style monarchy, was somewhere near Dubai, and that it hosted an annual Formula One Grand Prix.

I remember finding it strange that such a small, and seemingly insignificant country, would hold such a prestigious sporting event. When I was asked therefore, how much I knew about Bahrain, images of wealthy Arab men wearing the traditional Guthra (a white head covering with a black rope holding it in place), watching highly tuned motor vehicles whizz round a space-like circuit – an oasis in a scorching desert – were the first and only ones that appeared. I sweat at the thought…

And then I was introduced to my Bahraini colleague, Faten, who in turn introduced me to a documentary called “Shouting in the Dark”. (Scroll to the bottom to watch the documentary).

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During the Arab Spring, I was vaguely aware that some protests were taking place in Bahrain, but was most certainly not aware of their magnitude. I watched the documentary with feelings of disappointment, that as a keen follower of International Affairs, I should have been more aware of what was happening. I was also surprised that it had not been covered more by the British and global mainstream media. I felt deep levels of sympathy with the people of Bahrain – the people oppressed and imprisoned by the men who watch cars whizz around a race circuit in the middle of a desert.

I urge others to watch the documentary, to really gain a full understanding of the on-going human rights violations, and political persecution imposed on the citizens of Bahrain.

I hope that Bahrainis don’t give up on their struggle, and that we as international citizens will find it in ourselves to continue to seek out and help the struggles of the disenfranchised, even in the most isolated and forgotten corners of the world.


The author, John Ainger, is a British Master graduate in media and politics from the University of Amsterdam.

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