Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Further Introductions

Since everyone knows that credibility is the foundation of the Interweb, I'll say a bit about myself and how this blog will/does differ from others that discuss politics in Bahrain.

I am a current Ph.D. candidate in Political Science at the University of Michigan. I spent the summers of 2006 and 2007 and most of the rest of 2007-2008 in Yemen as a Fulbright Fellow. I then moved to Bahrain after the Yemenis bombed (i.e., tried to bomb but killed only other Yemenis, as they regularly do) the U.S. Embassy and the State Department in its wisdom made everyone on government funding leave the country. As it turned out, the move served me well as I was able to continue my Fulbright through June 2009 in Bahrain, and to finish my dissertation fieldwork to boot. I am now in Doha through May 2011 completing a post-doc with a local survey research institute.

As for the reason why the world needs another blog about Bahrain (though I think there are not so many anyway), the main answer is that nothing currently maintained, so far as I can tell, is written by a non-Bahraini. If this might seem rather like a plus, and in some respects it is, it does raise the issue of neutrality in a place where few are neutral. These also tend to lend themselves to polemics in the comments section rather than constructive discussion or questions.

That said, a great and well-known blog is Mahmood's Den. Though it too is affected by the problems mentioned above, it offers a helpful local perspective and benefits from being, as it were, much closer to the action.


  1. I have come across your blog through a retweet! So whether you like it or not you are on tweeter, my advice is start tweeting yourself.

    Your work is commendable and i thank you for providing an unbiased view. I wish your work could be translated into Arabic so that the Gulf locals can benefit as well. I am disappointed (but not surprized!) to see that there is a biased reporting in the Arabic Aljazeera compared to what is being reported in the English Aljazeera when it comes to report on Bahrain.

    For the record I am a Qatari Shiaa.

  2. Thanks for your comments. It's funny that you mention that you're a Qatari Shi'i. Everyone here always tells me "there are no Shi'a in Qatar." How big is the Shi'a community would you say?

  3. Hi Justin,
    I would say there are about 5000 Qatari Shiaa in Qatar. Here is a partial list of Qatari Shiaa families: Alfardan, Alkhalaf, Salalt, Alhaddad, Alsaffar, Aldehneem, Al Najjar, Al Haidar, Al Mousawi, Alyousef, Al Majed, Al Bukshaishah, Albouhlaiqah, Mashhadee, Lari (please note there are also Sunni families from Al Najjar and Al Yousef).

  4. Ah, thanks for the helpful information. I still haven't quite grasped the geography of Qatar, but would you say Shi'a tend to be concentrated in one area or are spread more or less randomly?

  5. The main area around AlAhli sports club is one that comes to mind

  6. I see. Well, thanks for your insights. I plan to release some more of the Bahrain survey findings soon. I hope you visit again.