Looking Back (The Arab Spring)
14/02/2011. We parked along the back roads of Diraz and walked towards the roundabout. I knew my way around the village as I have photographed many cultural events at the mosque and narrow surrounding alleyways. We found about three hundred protesters along the banks of Budaiya highway. They were peaceful. Children waved Bahraini flags and others showed peace signs. Traffic was flowing but the police presents were clear. I could see the shields of the riot police through the waving arms and banners. About sixty men in body armour, three rows deep. “Down down Al Khalifa” was the last chant I heard before the tension started to build. People were falling back, running towards us. To my right I saw about ten people jumping over a wall and running past me. In front of us the New York Times photographer fell with cameras dragging on the tar road. I didn’t really know what to focus on but I started snapping anyway. The deafening sound of concussion grenades and teargas canisters popping around us was followed by a wall of white CS gas. We retreated into the direction of the village, trying to escape the stinging gas cloud. A woman emerged through the smoke offering me an onion. It neutralises the chemical burn of the CS gas. They must have expected it then. I tried to take her picture but my memory card was still processing the previous images. We passed men with bloodied faces as we reached the truck. The people of Bahrain have now joined the Arab spring.
These images are serving as testimony of my experiences while following the conflict in Bahrain from mid February till April 2011. I maintain an unbiased positional perspective regarding the situation in Bahrain.