Interview with Matar Ebrhaim Matar, former Member of Parliament from Bahrain. Matar is visiting Australia to obtain support for the resistance in Bahrain.
Matar Ebrahim Matar is one of the leaders al-Wefaq, an opposition organization in Bahrain which supports the opposition parties in Bahrain. It is akin to Hezbollah in Lebanon but does not wish to be compared with it. Al-Wefaq works side by side with the Democratic Progress Tribune which consist of leftists parties and secular movements ( an anti-imperialist organization in opposition to the monarchy). The significance of al-Wefaq lies in its religious outlook which oppose the monarchs of the Gulf States who are mostly Sunni. Shia means followers of Ali (Mohammed’s cousin who was killed in Iraq. Sunni means ‘the law’ or the sayings and actions of Muhammad’.
Bahrain is a military base for the United States and its authority is puppet in the hand of US. The Saudi Army occupies Bahrain to control the opposition of the people. The American 5th fleet resides there.
They support Syrian and Hizbollah resistance but are wary of being compared with them. I canvas this question in the interview and Matar gives a more nuanced response than I have given here. I would not compare the al-Wefaq religious movement with the uprising in Teheran in 1979 because Khomeini wished to introduce a new theocratic constitution in Iran whereas Matar describes in the interview how he wishes to introduce a secular constitution in Bahrain.
Al-Wefaq have a progressive position (like Hizbollah) on women’s issues when you compare it to other religious movements, but not as good as socialist and secular groups.
There is a lot of corruption in Bahrain in the electoral, judicial and financial sector.
“One activist, Abdulhadi al-Khawaja , was arrested last April for his role in anti-government demonstrations that swept through his country in February and March, has been on a hunger strike for eight weeks to protest his life prison term.
In June, al-Khawaja and seven other Shiite opposition activists were found guilty of plotting to overthrow the country’s Sunni royal family. They were sentenced to life in prison.
The Bahrain Center for Human Rights, a nonprofit human rights group started by al-Khawaja and for which his daughter works, has appealed for his immediate release on humanitarian grounds.
His life is in danger, Maryam al-Khawaja said, “and getting to a situation where there might be an unrepairable damage to his physical well-being, if he survives.” from CNN-NN (sic)
More than 65 people have been killed, hundreds injured and around 3000 people sacked from their jobs since the uprisings began.
“I was shot by around 40 cluster bullets which are still in my body. I went to a private hospital but I didn’t receive any treatment because the hospital was invaded by military troops“, a Bahraini refugee, Ahmed, said.
Physicians for Human Rights have described the military crackdown on health services and professionals in Bahrain as “the most extreme violations of medical neutrality in the past half century“ — from Media Release by NSW Greens’ MP, David Shoebridge.