No F1 in Bahrain
Voting began on Wednesday for the "best video" section of the Bahrain International Circuit (IAA/BIC) F1 Social Media Contest, sponsored by the regime's Information Affairs Authority.
With the IAA proclaiming that the entries will promote "unity" as well as entertainment, this seems the ideal moment to highlight a set of videos that may not quite meet the approval of the judges.
Using toy cars, 3D-modelling, and video-editing software, Bahraini activists have produced short films calling for the cancellation of Formula 1's Grand Prix, scheduled for this weekend. Some give the visual message that the race should not be held amid the ongoing human rights violations; some focus their appeal around the release of detained human rights activists Abdulhadi Alkhawaja, on the 71st day of his hunger strike.
Others are menacing. One activist, whose video cars raced through fire and burst into flames, explained that he intended to tell insurance companies that they should increase their premiums, putting financial pressure on F1's teams. The threat of tyre burning and Molotov cocktails in another video was explained in more benign terms, simply adding a bit of drama to spice up the footage. If sincere, this intent may be lost on a Bahraini audience warned only yesterday by the regime's police advisor, John Yates, that the safety of Grand Prix spectators and teams could not be guaranteed.
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