Sodium Haze: F1 immorality exposed over Bahrain

Thursday, 9 June 2011

F1 immorality exposed over Bahrain

This is a shocking picture isn't it?

The man in the photo is Ja’far Kadhim Ibrahim - a human rights defender who suffered this beating on May 7th at the hands of the Bahrain National Security Apparatus - part of an NSA policy to raid the homes of prominent human rights activists and stop them speaking to foreign media - the BBC reported exactly this policy back in March.

The Bahrain Youth Society for Human Rights  has details of this incident and you can judge the story for yourself.

I wanted to post this picture because it brings home the depth of the brutality of the Bahraini regime - puts a human face on it.

It makes this snippet from the Guardian today all the more important.

[Guardian] Meanwhile there was further evidence yesterday of the worrying amorality – immorality, even – of Formula One, which has largely turned a blind eye to the killings, woundings, tortures and arrests that have been going on in Bahrain as the people protest for more human rights and greater freedoms.

It was reported that Rubens Barrichello, the chairman of the Grand Prix Drivers' Association, had said drivers are not opposed to racing in the Gulf kingdom as long as their safety is guaranteed. "The logistics are quite tough for all the teams," the Brazilian said. "I think we're in good hands. The teams have forwarded what they think to the FIA and to Bernie and whatever the outcome is I'll be happy."

Later in the day Lewis Hamilton, Pastor Maldonado, Sergio Pérez, Vitaly Petrov and Adrian Sutil were all asked why it was not a matter of principle to race in Bahrain. Most of them replied that it was a matter of safety. Not one of them referred to moral or ethical problems. While it is true that some drivers are under pressure from teams and sponsors not to say anything too compromising, it is equally true that too many do not understand the issues.

That does not apply to Red Bull's Mark Webber, the only driver to speak out against staging the race for reasons other than safety. "I gave my view in February and it is unchanged," the Australian said. "The situation is changing hourly but listening to the big cheeses it looks like it might be difficult to have a race there this year.

"It's important we have an understanding of the places we compete at. If someone asks you an honest question on something that's not related to tyre pressures and front wings you try to give a real response from how you're brought up."

The Haze Opinion: Mark Webber says it all really - and the silence from the rest of F1 is shameful.
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