Ali is a very passionate young Bahraini Shia, who loves Arabic music, fizzy drinks and over-speeding. The only western music he claimed to like are Bob Marley's and Michael Jackson's. Ali is a former co-worker. He was about 19 when I first met him 2 years back.
Ali was the first protester killed after violent repressions from riot police in Bahrain's 2011 Feb series of peaceful demonstrations for more political freedom and rights. A second protester was killed in the same manner, during Ali's funeral procession. At pre-dawn today, Bahrain's riot police stormed the protesters' camp (with women and children sleeping); 2, possibly more, are reported dead; over 70 reported injured. (Update: More reported death and injured turnouts. For more details, follow this link.)
He was a bit rough on the edges, but you can tell he's a good guy, respectful and considerate. There was this one time that he defended me when an Egyptian guy co-worker publicly reprimanded me for some cultural gaffe. (I crossed my legs, christ!, while sitting in the front seat of the car.) One thing I enjoyed while riding with him (he was a company driver), was the music he played. A tad too loud (that's the way I like it, too), but when he hears my phone ringing or that I'm about to make a call, he readily turns it down. He never returned the sunglasses I left in his car, though. (They were my fave pair, my travelling shades, that went with me when I went to China, Mindanao, etc.) He attempted to give me something else, a replacement, but they just weren't the same pair. He prolly gave it to his girl, I suspected. So it's all good. I stopped asking for my shades after about 3 months.
I left the company (and Bahrain) one or two weeks after he did). All the remaining Pinoy's left a few months after. Everybody was leaving. (That says something about the company. But I digress.)
It's more real when you know the actual people who's killed in these violent dispersions half a world away. The cut pierces through. I feel for the people of Bahrain. I feel for Ali's family and friends. I feel for Ali. So much. It hurts.
[I wrote about the Bahrain political situation while I was there. The first few days after I got there, I noticed political posters on the wall and knew something was up. I googled. My previous posts on the Bahrain resistance: (1) There goes my neigborhood. (2) The Bahraini resistance ]