Saturday, April 23, 2011
Gulf Monarchies' Supporters Harass Activists on Twitter
“The institution of Royalty in any form is an insult to the human race.” - Mark Twain
The monarchies are the last remnants of colonialism in the Arabian Gulf. The royal families of the Gulf are: the Al-Saud of Saudi Arabia, Al-Sabah of Kuwait, Al-Khalifa of Bahrain, Al-Thani of Qatar, Al-Said of Oman, Al-Maktoum of Dubai and Al-Nahyan of Abu Dhabi and several other sheikhdoms that make up the rest of the U.A.E.
These monarchies allied with the British against the Ottoman Empire. The result of this alliance was an agreement between the sheikhdoms and the British, in which the British would recognize the monarchs as the rulers and protect them militarily and in return the Gulf states would sign a treaty stating that they would not enter into any agreement with another power without consent from Britain. This sort of agreement virtually puts all of the control of foreign policy into the hands of Britain, not much has really changed in that area since the time of colonialism. Gulf monarchies, most recently Saudi Arabia and Bahrain, are placing their own interests before the interests of their people.
Culturally, anyone who criticizes the royal families in the Gulf is usually met with a strong backlash of fiercely loyal supporters, who benefit somehow from the monarchies in power. Gulf monarchs are accustomed to being met with adulation from their citizens and this is now changing. Bahraini activists on Twitter are constantly harassed by people on Twitter who create profiles simply to verbally attack and threaten them. Bahraini tweeters, such as the daughter of a detained human rights activist @angryarabiya, have been subject to this harassment.
Certain users such as @ozmukhtar tweeted this about @angryarabiya after she ended her hunger strike,@BahrainiBullet tweeted this when a tweeter he/she had been harassing deleted their account, and @Bahrainia4ever tweeted this to human rights activist Nabeel Rajab. These are just a few tweets since most users who harass others usually delete the tweet or their accounts right after.
If people are facing this much resistance when trying to speak out against the monarchs on Twitter, imagine the backlash when people take to the streets! Oh wait, we don't have to, we've already seen how far Bahrain and the GCC will go to keep themselves in power.