THE LEVANT – As she rushed to her father’ side as he’s been taken ill, Maryam Al Khawaja, daughter of prominent rights activist and main figure of the opposition in Bahrain – Abdel Hadi Al Khawaja, was once again confronted with the reality of state-run oppression.
A pariah in her own country for having dared risen above the crowd to denounced Bahrain’s brutal regime, Maryam and her family know only too well the bite of repression.
Very much her father’s daughter, Maryam is as brave as she is determined.
Those who know Maryam say boundary-treading is in her DNA. “Let’s face it — she grew up in that milieu of human rights activism,” said Joe Stork, the deputy director for Human Rights Watch in the Middle East, who has worked and travelled with Maryam in Washington and Geneva and been with her on panels and at conferences. “Abdel-Hadi is a very charismatic character; he’s always been very courageous, very outspoken, and very much inclined to push the envelope. And that’s her role model.”
While her father lies in a coma, his body wasted for he refused to admit defeat before tyranny and deny his people’s aspirations for equality and freedom, Maryam stands stranded in Manama’s airport, denied entry by a regime which does suffer criticism.
The flagship of Bahrain uprising, Al Khawaja family has captured the imagination of an entire nation and given us all a lesson in dignity, compassion and determination.
End the violence! Free Bahrain!
“Nobody can give you freedom. Nobody can give you equality or justice or anything. If you’re a man, you take it.” MALCOM X
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