Bahrain Grand Prix 2012 Kicks Off Despite Protests, Media Bans
Bahrain Protests Did Not Stop Bahrain Grand Prix
Despite street protests and international calls to boycott the Formula One event, the 2012 Bahrain Grand Prix is going ahead as scheduled. Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone said he had no intention of calling off the Bahrain Grand Prix, even though the ban on foreign journalists means that fans will have trouble following the race.
Indeed, the Sky TV crew was denied entry to Bahrain, though Sky holds the UK rights to broadcast the Bahrain Grand Prix. Sky must cover the race from Dubai.
Bahraini Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa is calling the race "a force for good", though it's unclear what that's even supposed to mean.
Bahrain's popular uprising, known as the Pearl Revolution, failed to get Western attention support, unlike the uprisings in Egypt, Libya, and Syria. Bahrain's government, with help from the Saudi military, crushed the uprising without a peep from Washington or London, probably because of the tiny Gulf state's strategic value: oil and geography.
Manama has been able to count on the acquiescence of governments and the active support of others. US and British PR companies are working overtime to get across the official point of view. "Imagine if a British police chief was in Damascus dumping on the protest movement in Syria," said the Labour MP Denis MacShane of the security role of former Metropolitan police assistant commissioner John Yates. "There is a complete double standard when it comes to Bahrain."