Police arrest protesters in Bahrain's capital Manama, 11 February
The police started questioning me about my attendance at the protest, how I go there, and why I was present. Did I know that "they were saying bad things about the Bahraini regime, that they were chanting down with Hamad"?
Do they allow people to say bad things about the government in America?” asked one. The others nodded at his logic, certain that I would now understand the outrageousness of the protesters’ actions.
“Of course. People said bad things about George Bush all the time. They hated Bush. And now lots of people protest against Obama.”
They were quiet, and I pressed on, telling them that I was in their country, Pakistan, a few years ago supporting the lawyer’s democracy movement. “The people hated Musharraf, and they went to the street.” I hoped I played my cards right—what if these guys liked Musharraf? But nobody liked Musharraf. I watched their eyes blink in understanding. They hated their dictatorship, but were supporting another non-democratic regime.
Eventually, they left, taking the youth with them. The woman thanked me, if I had not been there, perhaps they would have taken her too.
I walked back towards where protesters had re-gathered. Little did I know that in the next few minutes, I would not escape so easily.