UK: Bahraini doctor’s message to NHS marchers

Dr Mahmoud al-Fardan worked in the Accident and Emergency department at Salmaniyya Hospital in Bahrain. He fled Bahrain in the wake of the brutal crackdown against protesters in 2011, having seen dozens of his colleagues arrested and sentenced to long jail terms. He witnessed the storming of Salmaniyya Hospital by the riot police and army on 16 March 2011 and was detained in the hospital for several days, beaten and suspended from his job. 

He wrote this message for healthworkers and campaigners marching on 18 May 2013 against privatisation and cuts to the NHS in London:

I have a message for my colleagues in the UK: just fight for your rights and for the best health service you can. Health is the main issue for any community, along with education. These services empower society. When people have a good health service and a good education they can build their future. We’ve faced hard times in Bahrain recently. But despite the arrests and jail sentences, we’re still fighting for our health service, even though the government is targeting medics and humiliating us.

I believe that doctors and healthworkers here in Britain can win what they are fighting for through peaceful protest, and by continuing to organise and demand their rights and the rights of society itself.”

Activists from MENA Solidarity will be leafleting the protest on 18 May. Come and join us in Jubilee Gardens, Waterloo from 11.45. Download a leaflet version of this article here

What you can do in solidarity with Bahraini healthworkers:

  •  Read more about the campaign in solidarity with arrested doctors, nurses and pharmacists in Bahrain here
  • Pass this resolution through your union branch
    • This union condemns the imprisonment of Ibrahim al Demistani, Hassan Matooq, Ahmed Ali Almushatat, Haleema Al Sabagh, Dr Ali Al-Ekri, Dr Ghassan Dhaif andDr Saeed Al Samahiji, and resolves to write to the Bahraini authorities calling for the immediate release of those still in jail, the reinstatement to their jobs of those who have been release, and for the release and reinstatement of all other political prisoners in Bahrain.
    • This union further condemns the British government’s continued willingness to sell arms to Bahraini authorities despite the ongoing repression there. Since 14 February 2011, the British government has approved at least £16m of export licenses for military equipment to the Bahrain, including small arms ammunition, body armour and training hand grenades. We call on the British government to stop the export of military equipment to Bahrain.
    • This union resolves to circulate details of the campaign for the arrested medics to our members and encourages them to take part.
    • This union further resolves to send this resolution to our region / annual conference calling on the union to mobilise a national campaign to highlight the repression against healthworkers, other trade unionists and activists in Bahrain since 2011.
  •  Put up leaflets and posters about the campaign around your workplace. If possible, make links with colleagues in the same departments and wards where the arrested Bahraini medics worked. If you aren’t a healthworker yourself, why not speak to union reps at your local hospital about the campaign?

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