In the wake of the first Arab Spring conflicts in 2011, various Bahraini political groups demonstrated for governmental change, primarily the Sunni pro-government factions and the Shi’a opposition factions. Only recently in Bahraini history, many citizens claim, has there existed such a deep division between Sunnis and Shi’ites in everyday life. Sectarianism and discrimination based on religious affiliation, family history, and economic and social class are now commonplace where they were once not.
In light of these conflicts, Suhail Algosaibi founded The Bahrain Foundation for Reconciliation and Civil Discourse (BFRCD) to help activists on both sides to return to a less divisive, more affable discourse. Since 2012, the BFRCD has organized conflict resolution seminars for bringing together individuals of both sides. One such workshop took place in Northern Ireland, a region whose political conflicts during The Troubles of the 1960s through 1990s somewhat resemble those of current day Bahrain. Though the magnitudes and details of the conflicts differ, Algosaibi and other activists believe some knowledge can be gleaned from learning about other global conflicts.
Photography by Hebah Fisher
Special thanks to guests Yaqoub, Basil, Yasmine, Jane Kinnonmont from Chatham House, Suhail Gosaibi from the Bahrain Foundation For Dialogue, Kingsley Donaldson from The Causeway Institute International.
Written and produced by Hebah Fisher, Razan Alzayani, Lilly Crown, with sound design by Ramzi Bashour.
We fact-checked our data to the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry Report (BICI), a government commissioned report that claims that it has acted independently from the Bahraini government during its investigation.
Aug 29, 2016 Update
The episode erroneously claims Yacoub is a current member of the Bahrain Foundation for Reconciliation and Civil Discourse; he is only a supporter of their efforts.