The Pearl Roundabout is gone. On Friday, March 18, Bahraini government forces exploded the structure that had been built in 1982 as a commemoration to the importance of pearl diving to Bahrain`s pre-oil economy. The six twisted arms of the sculpture (meant to be dhow sails) that held the concrete Pearl in place symbolized the different emirates that together form the Gulf Cooperation Council. More recently, the site had become the focal point of ongoing anti-government protests and violence unleashed against these civilian protestors by both Bahraini and GCC security forces. Because of these protests, the site had experienced a re-signification of meaning for Bahrainis, the Arab world, and the international community. It became one more bone in a skeleton that joins Egypt`s Tahrir square, Yemen`s Sana`a University, and Libya`s Benghazi. No longer a site that ties the history of the Bahraini monarchy to the history of that country`s economic modernization and to the history (and successes) of the GCC, the Pearl Roundabout came to index histories of protest against the excesses of monarchical rule and the history of violence that calls for democratization will, and have been, met with. Today, the Pearl roundabout incites thoughts of uprising against oppressive regimes. It inspires people to revolution. That is why the Bahraini government, on Friday, March 18, laced it with explosives and imploded it, exposing its insides for the world and more importantly, Bahrainis, to see. It wanted to destroy this new meaning that the roundabout spoke, to silence the possibilities that the roundabout stood for. The Bahraini government and its Saudi conspirators have shown that they will destroy even the infrastructure of protest.
The Peal Roundabout is gone. But for now, the Bahraini uprising remains.
Photgraph of demonstrators gathered at Pearl Roundabout:
Video of Bahrain security forces dispersing protesters at Pearl Roundabout the night before demolition:
Another video of Bahrain security forces dispersing protesters at Pearl Roundabout the night before demolition:
Video of demolition of Pearl Roundabout:
Sequence photos of the demolition of the Pearl Roundabout [image source msnbc.msn.com]: