In the chain of taking action against human rights violations, the first step is always awareness. There are many, many issues around the world that we need to deal with but in order to make progress, we must always start with getting the worldwide population aware of issues at hand. Because of this importance, reporters, writers and journalists are essential to the battle for human rights. Nicholas Kristof writes
for the New York Times on many different global topics, but takes a special interest in human rights and equality, especially in developing countries. He has noted, many different times and on many different forums, human rights violations in Bahrain. In particular, Kristof has noted Bahrain’s strong efforts to shut down any and all protests, be they peaceful and in person, or bloggers online. One protester was arrested and detained because of one tweet. Protesters on International Women’s Day were tortured and even killed for speaking against the king and his government. One reason why these human rights issues are so important is because of Bahrain’s status as a U.S. ally. In fact, in certain instances the police force taking action against protestors employed U.S. tanks and weaponry to stifle demonstrations. Clearly Bahrain violates human rights, but why has no one heard much in terms of resolving this issue?
Kristof has made it a personal matter in recent weeks after he was denied entry in a Bahrain airport. Because of U.S.-Bahrain relations, U.S. citizens should be allowed to travel freely without a visa in the country. However, Kristof was told that he needed one and then subsequently denied that visa. While being held at the airport, he took to Twitter to raise awareness. “Seems as a US taxpayer I shld get access to a country that we support–even if #Bahrain is now a bastion of repression,” Kristof wrote. “Obama admin is pretending not to notice repression in Bahrain,” he added. Though one could argue that it took a strange, unfortunate detainment and deportation to get Kristof to publicize Bahraini issues, at least he began to raise awareness. In a long and complicated process of resolving repressive human rights violations, this important first step of raising awareness is key to achieving equality and success.