Bahrain has become the forgotten Arab revolt. Though you can't blame the press for concentrating more on Libya, Egypt and now Syria, sadly Bahrain has been forgotten in large measure because it does not fit in to the stereotype stories the mass media knows how to tell. Certainly there is a young pro-democracy movement like in Egypt, but the west also has a story about Shia Muslims being a threat to democracy and stability. In Bahrain the west has been stuck in its own inability to decide which media myth is taking place, and the discourse around Bahrain has had to retreat to social media.
Just watching the hashtage #Bahrain is an eye opener. The discussion is always packed and the hostility of the two camps is very disturbing. Bahrain is evolving in to more of a civil rights movement than a nation revolution for democracy. As such it could become very tribal, the government supporters are trying very hard to make the issue Tribal. The danger is this could become something of a civil war, though a Libya like situation is most likely impossible.
Barain's government in punking Twitter in what we call a Troll Bomb. The goal of the governments attack is to turn the web community tribal. As fragmented tribes it is much easier for them to continue to hold the ground and avoid reforms.
But the legitimate issues of Bahrain's Shia majority are so solid that the issue will not go away. Rather we are seeing it festering on Social Networks while much of the world tries to ignore a complex issue out of existence.
We anticipate that sooner or later the social network debate will go real world. Virtual communities crave to become real, and people on twitter and blogger will, in time, seek to re-take much of the streets.
Track Real Time Twitter Density for Bahrain
Clima Tweeter Meter Facebook App
We have been tracking Twitter from the ground in Bahrain, we are seeing fewer and fewer tweets giving their geo-location, a sure sign of anxiety about the crack down. But we still see surges following major news and anticipate future mass demonstrations which will raise twitter levels from the ground significantly.
Photo By Gail Orenstein web 3.0 lab/Clima. Young man making a video in front of the Bahrain Embassy, London.
UPDATE: It seems that even CNN is learning about the reality in Bahrain