'Ashura is an annual Shi'i ritual commemorating the death of Imam Husayn at the Battle of Karbala in AD 680. In Bahrain, the ritual runs for two weeks and involves processions with more than 100,000 participants. Bahrain is a small but ethno-sectarian heterogeneous island state, where a Sunni minority dominates a Shi'i majority. The religious ritual of 'Ashura therefore has deep political connotations, and a variety of analyses, aspirations, and actions are played out in the context of the ceremonies. This article discusses 'Ashura from the various viewpoints of participants and observers, thereby raising the question of the relationship between analysis and event. I argue that the ritual itself includes an interpretation of the relationship between the Sunni and Shi'i sects, and that this leads to a variety of reflections among Bahrainis on what 'Ashura is and should be.
Analyses of an Analytical Event
Resistance to Transitional Justice in Bahrain
The purpose of this article is to explore the nature of resistance to transitional justice in Bahrain. To date, much academic attention has been directed toward measuring the effects of transitional justice mechanisms on dependent variables such as
Religious Rituals and Embodied Spirituality among the Bahraini Shi‘a
This article analyses the relationship between the seen and the unseen in the cosmology and practices of Bahraini Shi'a. Rather than contrasting the visible and the invisible, the study delineates the hierarchical relations between them, within a whole or cosmology, as reflected in various discursive and non-discursive actions that are supported by the religious beliefs of Bahraini Shi'a. Issues of the Hidden Imam, concealment, dissimulation and other unseen dimensions of the cosmos are discussed. The article finds that the Shi'a construct the invisible in their social world by using visible ways of creatively enacting their hidden thoughts and beliefs, as represented in their religious discourses, rituals and body symbolism. Their belief in a divine higher power provides a source of emotional, spiritual and socio-political empowerment.
Why Pro-democracy Activity Was Avoided in Gulf Nations during the Arab Spring
Charles Mitchell, Juliet Dinkha, and Aya Abdulhamid
, widespread collective action proliferated across much of the Middle East and North Africa, namely, Morocco, Libya, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Tunisia, Algeria, Syria, Yemen, and Bahrain. In this article, we examine the Arab Spring collective action that unified
As we look back in 2017 at the Arab Spring, we get a sense that it went astray rather quickly after beginning in December 2010. While in Egypt the military has taken over, Libya, Syria and Yemen have descended into chaos, and in Bahrain
Demography, Identity and the Road to Equitable Policies
In 2005, the nations of the Gulf Cooperative Council (GCC), which consist of Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, housed over 12 million international migrants. Employed mainly within the service and construction industries, these foreign workers have become a demographic majority in some GCC countries, creating an urgent need for more progressive immigration and equitable integration policies. This article provides an overview of migration to the region, situating it within the larger global emigration/immigration context. By focusing on the various stages of migration and the economic role played by migrants, the article argues for policies that protect the economic, social and political rights of labour migrants. It concludes with recommendations that consider conditions in both the GCC and migrants' countries of origin.
Osvaldo Croci and Marco Valigi
The uprising against Colonel Muammar Gaddafi was part of the “Arab
Spring,” a wave of demonstrations that began at the end of 2010 and
led, in a short space of time, to the fall of regimes in Tunisia and
Egypt; uprisings in Syria, Yemen, and Bahrain; and street protests in a
number of other Arab countries. Following the collapse of the ruling
administrations in neighboring Tunisia and Egypt on 14 January and 11
February, respectively, street protests against Gaddafi began in Libya.
The violent reaction of the Libyan regime led to uprisings throughout
the country. On 27 February, anti-Gaddafi forces established a provisional
government, known as the National Transitional Council (NTC),
in Benghazi. The ensuing civil war resulted in the intervention of a
NATO-led coalition to enforce United Nations (UN) Security Council
Resolution 1973, which provided for the establishment of a no-fly zone
to protect civilians. From their stronghold in eastern Libya, the anti-
Gaddafi forces, aided by NATO air cover and air strikes, slowly took
control of the rest of the country. They captured Tripoli on 28 August
and then moved against the remaining pro-Gaddafi forces in northeastern
Libya. Gaddafi’s last stand in his hometown of Sirte ended on 20
October, when he was captured and killed.
A Case in Education for the Gulf Cooperation Council Countries
Faryal Khan and Maricel Fernandez-Carag
, on gender disparities in secondary education, while Bahrain gender parity was achieved, gender discrepancies in learning achievement remain a challenge in Oman. On 19–22 May 2015, the World Education Forum (WEF), which took place in Incheon, Republic
Aḥmad al-Izkī’s Fusion of Shakespeare and Classical Arab Epic
government-sponsored. 18 There is thus a degree of official encouragement for the performing arts in Oman, and one might extend that observation to the Gulf as a whole. The six member states of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) – Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar
Rethinking Resistance to Transitional Justice
Briony Jones and Thomas Brudholm
actors of resistance may differ between the articles, there is a series of crosscutting themes that enable us to reflect in greater depth on the phenomenon of resistance to transitional justice. Drawing on varied case studies on Bahrain, Cambodia, and