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Letter from Bahrain

Dear Beloit students and faculty,

On a warm sunny day more than 5 years ago, some of us Beloit students
gathered to show support for Bahraini political prisoners and we wrote
and signed a petition against the human rights abuses in Bahrain. I
was very proud to see fellow students care about my country and
people, but what I didn’t realize was the huge effect it had here in
Bahrain, that people would speak proudly of the American students who
cared about us.

Today, I am proud once more, to hear that Beloit students have
gathered in protest against what is happening to my family and
Bahrainis. Your empathy moves me to tears. I feel that my strength
lies in people like you. The Bahraini people are facing tanks and live
bullets with flowers. The Bahraini people are facing a regime backed
by the Gulf monarchies and American administration. What we are
experiencing now feels like a nightmare.

Now more than ever our faith is in people who hear of our suffering
and are moved to action. Specifically, by putting pressure to stop the
American government from backing the Alkhalifa regime.

You might not have been to Bahrain, maybe never even met a Bahraini.
But now you have the chance to save peoples’ lives in Bahrain. The risk
we take here by speaking out are very great. Some have lost their
lives, some have been injured. Not too long ago my father and I stood in front
of troops with flowers, expecting to be shot at any minute. Now my
father, my husband, my uncle and brother-in-law are all in prison
being tortured by the Alkhalifa regime.

On the other hand I’ve seen hope in the eyes of my people, hope for
freedom, and a determination I have never seen before. I believe the
students of Beloit can be part of the reason that someday the Bahraini
dream will be realized.

I thank you all.

Love from Bahrain

Zainab al-Khawaja

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