Sunday, November 6, 2011

'Eid Programming Note, Literally


(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.

8 comments:

  1. Will be interesting to see how much response we'll see from this, especially since they appear to be adding some good cinematography in the mix.

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  2. Bahrain: Inside the assassin’s smile
    http://www.jofr.org/2011/11/05/bahrain-inside-the-assassin’s-smile/#.Trb7LWD9goQ

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  3. I'm sure you've read this:
    http://www.enduringamerica.com/home/2011/11/4/middle-east-special-will-the-monarchies-survive-al-qassemi.html

    on bahrain he states:
    "Many intellectuals I have spoken to in the Gulf have told me of their disappointment with the opposition who did not respond positively to the seven principles of reform offered by the island’s Crown Prince in March, calling it “a wasted opportunity” that will not likely be available for another few years."

    Do you think it was a "wasted opportunity" were we really going to be a democratic country had we responded more "positively"

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  4. Justin, allow me to respond to Mr. Anonymous real quick.

    As for the intellectuals he spoke to, they seem to be either misinformed or just saying that to make themselves feel better and not wanting to give a better answer.

    The fact of the matter is that the CP's seven points came only a couple of days before the Saudi army came in and martial law was declared. That was too little time for the diverse opposition to give a clear response.

    Besides, the government had it all calculated they had been working through state television and other means in creating sectarian strife. They had already began spreading their thugs on the streets. If anything, the CP's seven points came as a reaction to him seeing where the country is heading if he didn't offer anything. But he was too late.

    The CP sat there for 3 weeks saying we should talk without offering anything substantial. Note that the people had already given the government a chance towards setting its records straight twice. Once after independence with the 1973 constitution, which the government reneged upon, and another after the 2001 National Action Charter. The people weren't going blindly go into a dialog, which only God knows where it would end.

    Let's face it, even if the response to the dialog wasn't positive enough, as our dear writer likes to frame it... was the government's response justified?

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  5. The documentary is out: http://youtu.be/8BkJ0bxxXTk

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  6. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nyeGlZcqf3I&feature=related

    Journeyman documentary on Bahrain titled "Undercover Kingdom" that was posted on YouTube on Oct. 4th. Thought you'd be interested in checking it out.

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  7. Positively Galvanized!

    http://thehill.com/blogs/congress-blog/politics/192305-on-an-island-far-far-away

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  8. Thanks for the links. Tom strikes again! Byline says it all really:

    "By Tom Squitieri, journalist and working with the Bahrain government on media awareness and access."

    Surprised not to see a reference to the IAEA report on Iran or to the opposition's links to Jerry Sandusky.

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