Hotspot, Bloodspot, or Blindspot?
Bahrain`s protracted and intransigent political deadlock remains one of the paradoxes of the Arab uprisings. At the nexus of regional influence, global political power, and economic interests, the human rights and democracy movement there face colossal challenges to realizing its goals. Not the least of these is a complicated network of media that both advantages and disadvantages the regime and its adversaries. In this video interview, we speak with Alaa Shehabi, a British-born Bahraini who is an economics lecturer, activist and writer on the varied aspects of media in this ongoing conflict. From the hyperbolic narratives of pro-government state media and the deafening silence of the Arabic media such as Al-Jazeera, to the growing dominion of cyberactivism and the increasing rhetoric of sectarianism. Shehabi explores the global media`s attention to the F-1 Formula race offering a chilling account of her arrest alongside a British journalist who was reporting on protests that coincided with the race. She gives a deeply unsettling description of what is effectively a media blackout on the small island kingdom and the struggle of a small population to break out of a soundproof enclosure. Shehabi is a human rights activist whose husband is a political prisoner in Bahrain. She holds a PhD from Imperial College London.
The interview was conducted on 29 April 2012 in Lund, Sweden on the heels of a conference entitled "Contesting Narratives, Locating Power" about the uprisings in the Arab world.