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While my sympathies are always with the oppressed, I can't help but to think of the London riots last year. Some riots are justified, some aren't. I'm not sure where I stand on the Bahrain issue because do we really, objectively, know what's going on there? As to the race itself, I think it's a shame Kimi's good comeback performance was overshadowed by the humanitarian issues (although they always come first). Hopefully there'll be many more (performances) like it this season.
Joe Saward has written a great piece regarding what he thinks after being there. It's an eye opener because he was adamantly against F1 returning to Bahrain:http://joesaward.wordpress.com/2012/04/23/on-the-front-line-at-starbucks/Adam Cooper, another well respected F1 journo has also written interesting things after being there.
I agree with Eadwin about my difficulty to take sides here. We've learn so many times in the Middle East that the oppresor is just the guy that has the power on a given moment. As soon as power changes hands, it's revenge time. In sectarian violence and religion wars nobody is looking for peace.
@All: I read Saward's piece. I really respect him, his knowledge, his insight, and his guts for going there to cover the race (and the story). I also respect him for admitting he was a bit off and changing his mind after his trip.However, I don't think talking to a few English-speaking, successful local businessmen who have a vested interest in not pissing off the gov't (they spoke with a Western journalist who was going to identify them by names) and in promoting tourism should have convinced him of anything.I agree that there are three sides to the story (the gov't, the silent majority, and the protestors). He spoke with the first two parties, but not with the third.I'm not faulting him. He did far more than what he was asked to do.As for the Middle East in general, it's a no win situation. In all of these countries, the protests are led by educated, internet savvy youth. But once they win, the gov't is toppled, and "democracy" is ushered in, then the religious zealots will come into power. This is because poor, uneducated, religious voters will always outnumber the small but active liberal protestors. P.S. You know all those reports of armored cars on the highways? I'll bet you anything the car-ignorant Western media thought the big Lexus SUV police cars were "armored cars".
You're right, the business owners have a vested interest in promoting the race. However, I'd imagine keeping up an image of the Arab spring and promoting trouble in the Middle east being in the Western media's best interests. I'm equally skeptical of both sides. In my opinion, both sides have an obvious agenda and the truth lies somewhere in between.
Regarding Saward's piece, somehow we're just supposed to believe his assertion that they were not plants but also disbelieve all the other reporters' stories. This after the men couldn't even come up with a story about how they met each other.
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