On that day, 14 February 2011, there was a sense that things would change. The energy of the crowd was electric and contagious. The frustration that had built up for years unfolded in the form of peaceful protests in Pearl Square—the revolutionary space that had housed hundreds of thousands of Bahrainis for months, and had been subsequently destroyed by authorities. On that day, 14 February 2011, history repeated itself in Bahrain, as the sources of power repressed the majority through the forceful dispersion of protests, extrajudicial killings, the use of imported tear gas, arbitrary arrests, and systematic torture.
Despite the hollow gestures of "reform" initiatives and the expensive public relations image that Bahraini regime has paid for in the halls of power in Washington and Europe, the change in Bahrain since 14 February 2011 has not occurred through some generous bestowment by the regime. Rather, the change has been brought about by the masses disenchanted with the rhetoric of empty promises. Despite the absence of international support for the demands of dignity, justice, and human rights, the spirit of Bahrainis has sustained the uprising.
Image of confrontations between riot police and protesters on 14 February 2013 (Image provided by author].
Despite the abundance of American arms and Saudi Arabian soldiers, Bahrainis today refuse to yield. From the seventeen year-old boy, who lost his eye sight as a result of tear gas, to the young elementary student expelled from school for making a political statement, to the prisoners of conscience locked away in jail cells for expressing themselves in the face of a repressive regime, today`s Bahrain will not give up.
An image of a protester resting on the street during protests on 14 February 2013. (Image provided by author].
An image of Nabeel Rajab in 2012 holding a sign that reads, "sumood" [perseverance] (Image by Saeed Saif).
That word has become the most prominent word in Bahraini vocabulary. Meaning "perseverance," it encapsulates what the revolution of February 14 is all about.
Tear gas engulfs a protester on 14 February 2013 (Image provided by author).