On a warm October night in suburban Manama, the capital of Bahrain, families gathered at a revamped office block. They were there to tour the labyrinth of simulated explosions, wax corpses, and interactive torture chambers in the so-called "Museum of Revolution"—an exhibition set up by members of the opposition to showcase the nastier realities of an uprising and crackdown that's consumed the island for more than two and a half years.
A Bahraini court has sentenced 50 people to between five and 15 years in jail for setting up a group that organises anti-government protests, and that authorities say is working to topple the government by force, activists say. Bahrain has seen almost daily protests by members of the Shia Muslim majority since February 2011, when it crushed a Shia-led uprising demanding that the Sunni Al-Khalifa dynasty give up power.
In Bahrain, all it takes is clicking on the wrong link to end up in jail. A new report prepared by Bahrain Watch, an activist organization critical of the ruling monarchy, details how the Bahraini government creates fake Twitter accounts to reveal the identity of anonymous anti-regime tweeps -- and then prosecutes them on the basis of "secret evidence."
Discussions focused on local, regional and international cultural identities and the role of cultural exchange in shaping an inspiring dialogue rhetoric that uses cultural diplomacy as a means to achieve sustainable human development and real peace.
Relations between Bahrain and the United States reached a new level of volatility this week as the kingdom's cabinet approved a parliamentary proposal to, as Information Minister Samira Rajab said, "put an end to the interference of U.S. Ambassador Thomas Krajeski in Bahrain's internal affairs."
The minister of foreign affairs has made the diplomatic economy a top priority of his action. This is why the new Directorate for Businesses and Global Economy has been created, as of March 1, 2013. This directorate will be the first point of contact at the ministry for businesses – for large groups as well as SMEs. It will also ensure that their interests are properly taken into account in negotiations that are likely to impact their activities, in particular with respect to issues relating to global economic regulation.
Rocker Andrew W.K. made headlines recently with the quest that ultimately wasn't—his initiative to bring positive partying to Bahrain on behalf of the US State Department. A case of rockers being held down by the man (isn't that what sparked the punk movement?).
In bizarre news of the day, the U.S. Department of State of has named Andrew W.K. the Cultural Ambassador to the Middle East. "This is a tremendous invitation," W.K. said in a statement on his website. "I'm very thankful to the Department of State for giving me the opportunity to visit a place I've never been before."