As for the F1 cracks are appearing everyday in the wall of the race. In addition to numerous sports channels which have decided not to go to "Bloody Bahrain” the Porsche Supercup Squad MRS has decided to withdraw from the race. India team limited its participation in the races that began the preparatory phase today.
The people of Bahrain have decided to remove the Alkhalifa dictatorship at any cost. No power on earth will be able to defend the decaying regime any longer. Almost all major international newspapers and networks have taken stands against holding F1 race in Bahrain. On Wednesday, The Times published an article by David Mepham, the Director of Human Rights Watch London office titled: "Don’t fool yourselves; Bahrain hasn’t changed” in which he obliterated the argument presented by Bernie Ecclestone that Bahrain is quiet and peaceful. More consciencious objectors are likely to boycott the event which will has now become one of the most controversial in the race’s history. The ruling family has prevented foreign journalists from entering the country such as those of Reuters and Associated Press.
For the first time in the history of the Al Khalifa the London Embassy of Bahrain became the centre of attention as two Bahraini protesters took position at its roof for 24 hours. At 1.30 pm Monday 16th April Ali Mushaima and Moosa Abd Ali climbed a scaffolding on a nearby building and walked their way to the two prominent jailed leaders; Hassan Mushaima, who has cancer and Abdul Hadi Al Khawaja who is on his 70th day of hunger strke. The lives of both are under threat while the Alkhalifa regime continues to ignore international calls to release them. The two Bahraini activists have been on hunger strike for two weeks, spent five nights outside the US Embassy in London before occupying the roof of the Embassy. Their action was a sign of determination to achieve the release of Bahraini prisoners whose imprisonment and ill-treatment have only solidified the people’s resolve to remove the Alkhalifa from power. Their antiquated regime has become a liability even to their own allies whose support is the determining factor for their survival.
An Early Day Motion (EDM) has been signed by more than twenty Members of Parliament calling for the cancellation of the Grand Prix scheduled to be held in Bahrain over the weekend. The All Party Parliamentary Group for Democracy in Bahrain sponsored the EDM which "believes that the Formula One race will be used by the Bahrain government as an endorsement of its policies of suppression of dissent”. At the same time as that news was filtering through to teams out here, the All Party Parliamentary Group for Democracy in Bahrain published an open letter which it has sent to some of Formula One’s biggest sponsors, urging them to boycott this race.
The Bahraini freedom movement had also sent an open letter to Formula 1 management (FIA) and teams to protest the holding of the F1 race under the killing and the brutal response of the Al-Khalifa forces to peaceful protesters across Bahrain.
Following is the full text of te letter as published on the movement's website:
20th April 2011
Mr Bernie Ecclestone
F1 Management Team, London
Apart from the Alkhalifa hereditary dictatorship no sensible person, political or human rights body has expressed agreement to holding the F1 race in Bahrain. In addition to the security imperatives, the races is seen as an endorsement of a regime that has been found by its own created and funded investigation commission to have engaged in systematic torture, extra-judicial killings and dismal attention to the most basic of human rights. Yesterday credible and reputable media has been banned from entering Bahrain including Reuters, Agence France Press and others for fear of coverage the protests and demonstrations that have continued within the 14th February revolution. Meanwhile John Yates, the former Deputy-Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police has confirmed two disturbing things; that he, as the main man controlling the Alkhalifa brutal police and security services, cannot guarantee the safety of the teams taking part in the most controversial race in Formula One history and that he may resort to the use of live ammunition against demonstrators. Bahrainis are not against F1 but against propping up the regime and breaking its isolation.
In these circumstances, the question is: What enjoyment will remain for the fans of the F1 race? How could the drivers take part efficiently and professionally if their own safety is not guaranteed and the lives of other fellow human beings are under threat by the ruthless police forces of one of the most repressive regimes in the Middle East? Furthermore; how could you give the go-ahead to a race when at least two of the most senior opposition figures are on their death beds; once suffering from Cancer while the other spending his 70th day on hunger strike? Haven’t you listened to the pleas of the mothers of martyrs and torture victims? They have all said in one voice: No to F1 race in Bahrain. How could you allow a normal sports event to take place in an extremely abnormal circumstance?
When your drivers take to the tracks at Sakhir, the hearts of the grief-stricken mothers, orphaned children and widowed women will be full of fury, anguish and disappointment. They will be praying to their Lord that those who have caused their misery be afforded the appropriate justice. What would you say if you happen to meet face-to-face with one of them? A man with your seniority and experience would have at least listened to the calls from all corners of the world for the cancellation of this year’s Gran Prix in Bahrain. Your heart is expected to throb in tune with those of the bereaved and pain-stricken. Has the life-given wisdom abandoned those who are in a position to take a humane decision to take an alternative course of action especially after the regime cracked down hard on demonstrators in the past few days? This aggression has been recorded live and broadcasted over the TV screens all over the world. You would have been awarded great respect and admiration if you had taken the courageous decision and cancelled the race.
It is not too late yet. The next 48 hours are crucial in the race, not among the F1 teams, but between the right and wrong; the executioner and the victim and between vice and virtue. You can still take the decision that would rank you among the brave, the humane and the wise of the world reputable personalities. Failing this, history will be harsh on those who abandon their moral responsibility and remain hostage to their "contractual” terms which are, sometimes, counter to the values and wisdom of the human conscience.
Please act now and save the lives and freedom of Bahrainis as well as the welfare and integrity of F1 and its teams.
Dr Saeed Shehabi