This is a guest post by Abraham Alawi, a Bahraini who now lives in Australia. Abraham wrote in response to a photo of NSWNMA officers taken to express solidarity with the imprisoned Bahraini health care workers.
Dear members of the NSW Nurses and Midwives Association,
I’ve seen some photos of your solidarity campaign with the victimised health staff in Bahrain and I’d like to say that it really touched my heart and made me happy.
For me that level of support is better than a statement by a politician because it is pure and genuine, right from the bottom of your hearts and expecting no gain. It really revives the hope that regardless of boundaries and borders, nationalities and religions, races and ethnicities, we remain kindheartedly connected and share core values that transcend all sorts of differences.
I’m originally from Bahrain. I’ve been living and working in Australia for three years, before that I was in New Zealand. I’m neither a refugee nor an activist, but I haven’t been able to return to Bahrain since 2008 because it could be a one-way journey – merely because sometimes I express my opinion in the media about what is going on in Bahrain.
Abraham (at back) and his brother.
When the uprising broke out in 2011, my younger brother participated in the peaceful protests and saw his friends being arrested and shot at by the police and the army. He managed to flee to Malaysia and was planning to stay there temporarily until things settled down a bit. I convinced him to seek asylum in Australia because we don’t know how long the situation will remain like that in Bahrain. So I applied for a visitor’s visa for him and he booked a flight from Malaysia to Australia and sought asylum at the airport. He was afraid. I told him don’t be, just tell the truth, don’t lie, don’t exaggerate, just tell them what happened to you and your friends. He was detained at Villawood Detention Centre for some months and then granted asylum. I’d like to thank Australia and the Australian people for providing such protection and shelter for him. He’s now studying and working in Perth.
The Alawi brothers, Abraham on right.
I’d like to express my gratitude again to all members who participated in the solidarity campaign. I’d like to assure them that their support didn’t go unnoticed and indeed has a huge positive impact on the people of Bahrain. It’s the worst feeling ever to feel that you are helpless, left behind alone under an oppressive regime that has no respect for human life. So when they see such solidarity and support it empowers them and motivates them to keep fighting for their rights.
South Coast nurses and midwives in solidarity.
I know most people don’t like politics, but when there’s torture and killing it’s not a matter of politics any more. It’s not a matter of ‘I agree’ or ‘I disagree’, it’s a human issue. Nothing can justify such brutal actions against any human being.
Mona Vale branch of the NSWNMA in solidarity.
In Arabic, we call nurses the ‘angels of mercy’ – your support and solidarity was a true reflection of that.
NSWNMA officers in solidarity at annual conference.
I quote Martin Luther King: ‘In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends’.
We will always remember your kind words and support.
Previously on Nurse Uncut: Bahrain’s gaoled nurses and doctors