Bahraini Children Deal with Kingdom’s Repressive Violence Through Art

By Sam Quatromoni

In early 2011, the government of Bahrain met calls for democracy with a violent crackdown. Dozens of people were killed, and thousands arrested. Today, the crackdown on pro-democracy protesters continues and King Hamad and his unelected government remain in place.

Children have witnessed much of this violence first hand and we asked some of them to draw something from their experience. These are now being exhibited on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. Many of the drawings feature tents at the “Pearl Roundabout”––the center of democracy protests in Bahrain during February and March 2011, and also the “Down Down Hamad” slogan.

We asked clinicians with experience in trauma to look at the drawings and make an assessment––these are also included. In one typical example, the clinical analysis describes a drawing as “overtly indicative of trauma. This child is experiencing heightened emotions, particularly fear, sorrow, and anger. She appears to be in an acute phase of grief.”

The exhibition will be displayed on Capitol Hill, from May 7-11, 2012, in the United Methodist Building, 100 Maryland Ave, NE (Lobby). The exhibition will also be displayed at other U.S. venues throughout the year.

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Published on May 10, 2012

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