Wednesday, April 11, 2012

6 Reasons to Boycott the Bahrain F1 Grand Prix

On April 22, Bahrain is to host a Formula One race.  Citizens of Bahrain, human rights activists, and fans worldwide will be boycotting the race.  Why?

1. It is not safe, on or off the track.  The tiny country is simply not safe for fans, drivers, and the support crew.  Protestors and security forces constantly clash and both sides have sustained casualties (although the protestors have suffered disproportionately more).  With tear gas, Molotov cocktails, and live rounds being used, collateral damage is inevitable.  Formula One spends millions every year to make the sport safer for its participants.  Why ruin an almost perfect safety record by inviting inevitable injuries, or worse?

April 11, 2012

2. Do not support a violent regime.  A significant portion of the Bahrain citizenry is oppressed politically and economically.  Force, coercion, and the denial of legal due process are used by the government to suppress protestors with legitimate grievances.  But the ruling royal family wants the world to believe otherwise.  It is using the Formula One race as evidence that all is well in the kingdom.  Do not buy into the propaganda.  Do not support a violent and undemocratic regime.

April 10, 2012

3. He's our SOB.  Franklin Roosevelt famously described ruthless Nicaraguan dictator Anastasio Somoza as "a son of a bitch, but he's our son of a bitch."  The reason Western governments and media have been relatively silent about the atrocities and horrors happening in Bahrain is because it is our ally.  The United States Navy's Fifth Fleet is based in Bahrain as a counterbalance to nearby Iran.  If what has been happening in Bahrain in the past year happened in less friendly countries like Libya or Syria, the West would have imposed sanctions by now and would be clamoring for air strikes.

April 8, 2012

4. China is bad, but right now, Bahrain is worse.  An oft-made argument is that if we boycott Bahrain, we should boycott the Chinese Grand Prix as well.  Many of Formula One's venues are guilty of human rights violations, some more egregious than others.  As bad as China is in terms of its human rights record, the situation in Bahrain, at this moment, is relatively worse.  In Bahrain, not China, nearly a quarter of its entire population has participated in anti-regime protests.  In Bahrain, not China, doctors were deemed criminals for treating wounded protestors.  In Bahrain, not China, the same royal family has been in power for more than a century.  We have to draw the line somewhere.  And today, that line is drawn at Bahrain.

April 7, 2012

5. Not boycotting is just as political.  Many assert that Formula One should stay out of politics.  The reality is that going forward with the race is just as political of an act as boycotting it.  By participating in the race, you are implicitly supporting the government and condoning the human rights abuses.  If both options are political, you might as well be on the right side.

April 6, 2012

6. It is just a game.  Ultimately, this is all for entertainment.  It is the fourth of 20 races this season.  The championship is not on the line.  People do not need to get hurt or lose their lives over a game.

April 2, 2012


Anonymous said...

Great post, thank you!

Alan said...

Well said.

I linked this.

Speeder_76 said...

Like it a lot. Well said, well balanced. Good work!

Alianora La Canta said...

7. The Bahrain GP organisers, in creating an entire "UniF1ed" ad campaign, linked F1 with politics. This contravenes Article 1 of the FIA Statutes. So technically speaking, this race shouldn't have been happening even if the people in Bahrain were completely at peace with one another.

Anonymous said...

Well I'm from bahrain and I don't take sides I think we need the race cuz F1 bring money and goverment need to fix things here from that money if you cancel it that mean's ur shitting in mouth of for the ppl that says the writer is correct well u all can kiss my ass!

Anonymous said...

I'm from Bahrain and I am looking forward to going to the race this weekend. Not all the people of Bahrain want the race to be stopped. People in Bahrain are not oppressed economically - although Bahrain is not an oil rich country, it does a lot for its people. Bahrain is a country that has been growing since its independence thanks to the foresight of its great leadership. It is a country that has diversified and ensures that its main asset that are its people are well looked after. In Bahrain, we have free health care, free education (from ages 6 to 18), local universities are highly subsidized, petrol is subsidized, food is subsidized and government housing is made available to all Bahrainis on a first come, first served basis. What the media puts out is the sensational stories - the real stories of Bahrain are not heard. The doctors who are on trial are not as innocent as they would like to think they are - they were not put on trial for treating protestors - many doctors treated protestors and were not put on trial - you have to ask yourself the question why these 20???? Read the BICI report and you will know the answer.
In Bahrain "the peaceful protestors" go out on their "peaceful" demonstrations with molotov cocktails to attack the policeman under directives from their religious cleric Ayatollah Isa Qassim". The policemen on duty are not armed - all they have is tear gas to disperse the crowds - put yourself in their shoes and see how you would react.
So called "human rights activists" go out of their way to incite violence, International Human RIghts organizations take a one sided bias view on what is happening in Bahrain.
The F1 has to take place and the FIA's decision is right. Here's looking forward to the F1 race weekend this year and for many more years to come.
For those who want to boycott - it's your loss and you don't know what you're missing - the atmosphere of being there is always euphoric and this year will not be any different.