(The video above is now updated to the full (~12 min) segment.)
I'll be off for most of 'Eid, but I did not want to fail to mention an upcoming documentary on Bahrain from--wait for it--ESPN. The program, examining the post-February crackdown on sports figures, will headline a November 8th episode (the season finale) of E:60, a sort of "beyond the sports headlines" investigative series. If it's anything like the similar "30 for 30" series, it should be well worth watching. (Indeed, Bahrain's rulers must already be taking note. They've released at least one of the footballers involved--a 17 year-old Iraqi national from Al-Muharraq Club arrested seven months ago--in a supposed 'Eid al-Adha gesture of goodwill. What about not imprisoning teenage soccer players--or killing the elderly fathers of opposition leaders--in the first place?)
One hopes that members of Congress and/or President Obama, known to be a regular ESPN viewer, catches the program. The story may differ a little from the one reported to them by the Defense Department. Showtime is 7:00pm EST.
From the preview:
What if a country's biggest athlete, a legend, a hero, a player who brought the nation some of its biggest sporting moments, was at practice one day and was suddenly taken into custody by masked men? What if he was held for months, tortured, his career ended, banned from his team and for playing for his country, all because he expressed his political views? It's not a storyline from a Hollywood script -- that is what allegedly happened in Bahrain. Specifically, it's what Alaa Hubail says happened to him. Hubail is the most famous soccer player in Bahrain and says similar treatment was forced on his brother, Mohammad, also a member of Bahrain's national soccer team; and to Anwar Al-Makki, Bahrain's internationally ranked table-tennis champion. In a story largely ignored by the Western world, these athletes describe in detail the horrific torture they endured at the hands of their government -- a government that is allied with the United States despite allegations of human rights abuses against pro-democracy protestors. E:60 goes to the Middle East for the first time to investigate how athletes were caught up in the clash of democracy, freedom, repression and politics. Jeremy Schaap reports.