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Bahrain (and Beyond) Live Coverage: Activist Zainab AlKhawaja Writes from Prison

See also EA Video Special: Intelligence, the Iraq War, and What's Next --- Key Questions and Some Answers
Saudi Arabia Feature: Regime's Historic Decision "To Ban Everything"
Syria Live Coverage: Who Represents the Opposition?
Sunday's Israel, Palestine (and Beyond) Live Coverage: US Restarting Negotiations?

1950 GMT: Libya. Oman has granted the late leader Muammar Gaddafi’s widow and her family asylum on humanitarian grounds, an official at the Foreign Ministry has said.

The move was co-ordinated with Libya and Algeria, where the Qaddafis had lived after the fall of the Libyan ruler, following a pledge by the family that they will not use Oman as a base for political or media activity.

The group --- Qaddafi’s widow Safiyyah Farkash, daughter Aisha and sons Mohammad and Hannibal, as well as their children --- has been living in Oman since October 2012, and their expenses are being covered entirely by the Omani Government.

1740 GMT: Egypt. The Prosecutor-General has ordered the arrest of five prominent political activists over accusations about violence near the Muslim Brotherhood's headquarters in Cairo last week.

Those ordered arrested include Alaa Abdel-Fattah, a prominent blogger; Ahmed Domah, a member of the Popular Current; and Hazem Abdel-Azeem, a leading member in the oppostion National Salvation Front.

Abdel-Fattah was arrested in October 2011 and spent two months in detention.

See Egypt Document: Alaa Abd-El Fattah from Prison "Half an Hour With My Son Khaled"

Earlier on Monday, Abdel-Moneim Maksoud, the Muslim Brotherhood's lawyer, filed a complaint with the Prosecutor-General against 169 individuals, --- including party heads, politicians, and "thugs" --- accusing them of inciting violence against the group.

1120 GMT: Morocco. Paul Scheem of Associated Press offers a snapshot:

After just over a year in power, Morocco's Islamist-led government is struggling to fulfill the high hopes brought on by its election in 2011 on promises to fight corruption, provide for the needy and reform the country.

Working within a coalition of often reluctant allies, the moderate Islamists of the Justice and Development Party have found many of their initiatives blocked by an establishment with close ties to the royal palace that still wields ultimate power in this North African kingdom of 32 million.

Like the Islamist parties in Tunisia and Egypt, the PJD, as the Moroccan party is known, capitalized on the pro-reform demonstrations of the Arab Spring and swept into power through the ballot box. But also like their sister parties in the region they are finding ruling to be much more difficult than being in the opposition.

1050 GMT: Bahrain. In a lengthy letter from Isa Town Women's Prison, detained human rights activist Zainab AlKhawaja --- serving a three-month sentence for her dissent --- has reviewed the two-year history of the pro-democracy protests and invoked an example from the US:

With hope and determination, the people of Bahrain took to the streets on 14 February 2011 to peacefully demand their rights. Their songs, poetry, paintings and chants for freedom were met with bullets, tanks, toxic tear gas, and birdshot guns. The brutal Al Khalifa regime was determined to end the creative, peaceful revolution, by resorting to violence and spreading fear. 

Faced with the regime’s brutality, Bahrainis showed great restraint. Day after long day, protesters held up flowers to soldiers and mercenaries who would shoot at them. Protesters stood with bare chests and arms raised shouting, "peaceful, peaceful" [silmiyya, silmiyya] before they fell onto the ground, covered with blood. Thousands of Bahrainis have since been detained and tortured for so-called crimes such as “illegal gathering” and “inciting hatred against the regime.” 

Two years later, the Bahraini regime's atrocities continue. Bahrainis are still being killed, detained, injured, and tortured for demanding democracy. When I look into the eyes of Bahraini protesters today, too many times I see that bitterness has overtaken hope. The same bitterness Martin Luther King Jr. saw in the eyes of rioters in the slums of Chicago in 1966. He saw that the same people who had been leading non-violent protests, who had risked life and limb without the desire to strike back, were later convinced that violence is the only language the world understood. 

I, like King, find myself saddened to find some of the same protesters who faced Bahrain’s tanks and guns with bare chests and flowers, today asking, "What's the use of non-violence? What’s the point of moral superiority, if no one is even listening?" Martin Luther King Jr. explains that this despair is only natural when people who sacrifice so much see no change in sight and feel their suffering has been worthless.

AlKhawaja concludes:

Yesterday I fell asleep while looking at my prison cell door with its iron bars, and I had a dream. But this time it was a small and simple dream, not of democracy and freedom. I just saw my smiling mother, holding my daughter's hand, standing at the door of my prison cell. I saw them walk through the metal. My mother sat on my prison bed as my daughter and I lay side by side, our heads in her lap. I tickle Jude and she laughs, and my heart fills with joy. Suddenly I feel we are in a cool and protective shadow, I look up and see my father standing by the bed, looking at the three of us and smiling. I dream of those I love, it is their love that gives me the strength to fight for the dreams of our country.

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