Al Jazeera's "Bahrain: Shouting in the Dark"
|The government of Bahrain destroyed the statue at the center of the Pearl Roundabout, which had become the epicenter of antigovernment protests. (Reuters)|
By late February when thousands were pouring into the Pearl Roundabout in the capital of the Gulf kingdom of Bahrain, the Arab Spring was unfurling at a blinding pace. Popular protests had recently deposed the leader of Tunisia, and Egypt was in the throes of revolution, as President Hosni Mubarak had just been ousted. So the unrest in Manama, however momentous in its own right and strategically important to global interests, quickly became just another beat in the wider story changing the Arab world. And it was a beat, it turns out, that was promptly administered by major powers and generally left as a footnote to history.
That footnote, however, marks a significant reference point for the Arab Spring. As described in "Bahrain: Shouting in the Dark," the visceral documentary video produced by Al Jazeera English, the uprising in Manama was, "the Arab revolution that was abandoned by the Arabs, forsaken by the West and forgotten by the world." With exhaustively dramatic scenes -- including footage of the 3 AM assault on Pearl Roundabout where police scattered protesters by opening fire, shooting hundreds -- the documentary pits the individual struggle of frustrated citizens on the street against the wider, high-stakes global maneuverings of the Gulf Cooperation Council, the powerful Saudi leadership, and the West, each of whom angle for influence over the fate of the strategically vital island.
Not long after it was first broadcast, the Al Jazeera documentary ended up a victim of its own aggressive reporting. Reports surfaced early this month that the network, which is financed by the Qatari government, pulled the plug on subsequent rebroadcasts. Al Jazeera staffers suggested that officials had caved to the demands of leadership in Bahrain as well as from the state that rolled tanks into town to back Manama's crackdown, Saudi Arabia.
Watch the video in its entirety here.