As of late 2015, approximately 460,000 migrant workers (mostly hailing from the Philippines and South Asia) have landed in Bahrain, a tiny island nation in the Persian Gulf that remains an important ally to the us and Saudi Arabia.1Protected by both nations for sometimes contradictory geopolitical factors—its strategic location allows for us Navy ships to be stationed near Afghanistan and other frontiers of the ongoing Gulf Wars, and its oil reserves are precious to the Saudi elites—Bahrain today imagines itself as a more welcoming haven for migrant workers than its neighbours, even as it has failed to enforce labour laws and has left grievous abuses of workers unaddressed. Those who have dared to protest human rights violations have been spectacularly punished, as they were during the Arab Spring of 2011, when Bahrain’s revolutionary Shiite Muslim majority was violently suppressed with the financial and military backing of its biggest allies. More recently, in January 2016, Bahraini activist Nabeel Rajab was sentenced to six months in prison for posting a Tweet critical of the monarchy, demonstrating the continued silencing of dissenting voices.2In this charged political landscape, how does an artist working from within Bahrain’s borders speak back to power?For Filipino American
Asian Diasporic Visual Cultures and the Americas – Brill
Published: Mar 14, 2017
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