Teachers' Strike in Bahrain

 

Teacher’s Strike in Bahrain

 

 

This morning on CityPulse, I saw that there was a teachers’ strike in Bahrain. There was a shot of Arab women sitting in an empty classroom. I watched videos and learned that today the Teacher’s Union in Bahrain called for a general one day strike.

Many women were crowded into the classrooms of Duraz Primary Girls’ School, voicing their thoughts. Dressed in black, some with their faces covered, they looked sombre. Their angry faces and gestures reflected their mood. One held up a written placard. There was one in particular who was sitting down like the others and then she started to speak. As she spoke her voice began to get louder and then she was on her feet shouting at the top of her lungs and pointing. To say that she was furious is an understatement.

The Duraz Intermediate Boys’ and Jaber bin Hayan Primary Boys’ schools  were also on strike (http://arabrevolution.posterous.com/teachers-strike-in-bahrainthese-are-the-women).

No violence was reported Sunday, but many parts of the country were paralyzed by a general strike called by opposition groups and workers’ unions.

At state-run Gulf Air, union leaders urged workers to join the strike. But an e-mail to employees by the airline’s director warned that any no-shows could face dismissal. The carrier said no flights have been disrupted.

At the Sanabis Intermediate Girls School, however, about 10 women teachers sat outside the empty school yard in a sign of support for the strike.

“We are on strike to support our fellow people in the square,” said Samira Ali, 40, a science teacher. “We feel emboldened with our cause after blood was spilled. I want a real constitutional monarchy where my voice is heard and my message reaches to the government.”

Samira Salman, a 48-year-old Arabic teacher, carried a sign reading: “You can take my life, but you can’t take my freedom.” She wore a Bahrain flag as a cape. “We won’t leave until our demands for the government to resign are met. I want everything to do with the system to fall. Our blood was on the street and I feel more confident about our cause,” she said after returning from the protests crowds refilling Pearl Square in central Manama (http://www.newser.com/article/d9lgdsjg0/bahrain-opposition-plots-strategy-before-talks-as-general-strike-called.html).

President Barack Obama discussed the situation with King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, asking him to hold those responsible for the violence accountable. He said in a statement that Bahrain must respect the “universal rights” of its people and embrace “meaningful reform.”

In the United Arab Emirates, an important Gulf ally for Bahrain, Foreign Minister Sheik Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan urged Bahraini’s opposition groups to accept offer for talks as a way to restore “security and stability (http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/ml_bahrain_protests).

I saw a snapshot of Bahraini women shouting slogans with their fists in the air. Let us support them in their fight for their voices to be heard. Pray that they would get a government that will respect their rights. Women are speaking out and will continue to do so until their demands are met.

 

~Adele Butler, A Celebration of Women 2011.

 

Bahrain Human Rights:  http://www.bahrainrights.org/

 

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