Maryam al Khawaja's Perilous Journey Home

You know, this is one of the reasons why calls for dialogue are never taken seriously in Bahrain. The government calls for dialogue and then they start arresting people arbitrarily during peaceful protests. They attack people with pellets and tear gas and so on.

When I was driving in Bahrain I had my window open, and I got hit with this whiff of tear gas. And it felt like I was dying. I had to close my window; I had to leave really quickly.

And the first thing that came to my mind is that I was sitting in a car. I didn't even see the tear gas -- this was just the aftermath; you can't even see it in the air. And I still felt like it still had such a strong effect. For a second all I could think about was how do the families deal with this? When tear gas is shot inside their homes and they have little children -- and it's not like it's something you can protect them from -- what do they do?

This is something that is still happening in Bahrain. Just yesterday my colleague was documenting a case where two tear gas canisters were shot inside someone's house. And that's why people don't take the government seriously when they say "dialogue."


Do you think it would be more dangerous for you to go back to Bahrain now, after having gone back once before?

I know that just because they let me in this time and I wasn't subjected to harassment or arrest, it is in no way an indication that that is going to be the situation if I go again. I believe that the fact that I was not subjected to anything was a political decision that made by the government. All it takes is for them to make another political decision -- of arresting me.

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Armin Rosen is a former writer and producer for The Atlantic's Global channel.

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