Following an event at The Fletcher School on October 25, 2012, The Fletcher Forum sat down with Matar Ebrahim Matar, a former member of parliament representing the Al Wefaq opposition party in Bahrain, and Nada Alwadi, a journalist, writer, researcher, and co-founder of the Bahraini Press Association. In separate interviews, the two spoke with Artin Afkhami (F’13) and Elissar Harati (F’14) about their experiences during the 2011 government-sponsored crackdown in Bahrain, and what they see as future challenges to the growth of the democratic process in Bahrain.
Matar Ebrahim Matar is a former member of parliament representing Al Wefaq, the opposition party in Bahrain. Along with 17 other opposition MPs, he resigned in protest against government crackdowns on demonstrators in early 2011. Following his resignation from Parliament, Matar was detained for three months and prosecuted for taking part in “unlawful” anti-government protests. Matar was eventually acquitted, and no government officials have yet been held accountable for his ill-treatment in prison. Matar supports a gradual transition to democracy in Bahrain with a clear road map facilitated by regional and international actors.
Nada Alwadi is a Bahraini journalist, writer, researcher, and co-founder of the Bahraini Press Association with the purpose of defending local and international journalists who have been attacked or targeted by the Bahraini authorities. Alwadi reported on the recent crackdown in Bahrain for several international media outlets including USA Today. She holds a Master’s degree in Mass Communication with an emphasis on women’s political empowerment in the media. She was a Humphrey/Fulbright fellow at the school of journalism at the University of Maryland. In 2011, Alwadi was one of the recipients for the first James Lawson Award for Nonviolent Achievement by the International Center on Nonviolent Conflict.