I have a 9-year-old son with asthma, so I panic every time there is tear gas, which is on a daily basis now. Every night, we hear the sound of explosions and gunshots non-stop. While the protests don’t happen directly near my house, the winds bring the tear gas to us. I can hardly imagine life without it now. You can see big clouds of it just hanging in the air.
Our house is newly built, so it’s safe enough inside. However I can feel the gas every time I need to go to the kitchen, which is separate from the house. But I am lucky compared to the nearby villagers. Their houses are older and poorly built, with cheap air-conditioning systems that let all the tear gas inside. I worry for these people just as much as I worry for my children. But if we dare to speak out about this, we become traitors!
Recently I was stopped at a traffic light on my way home from my children’s school. We saw a group of boys, mostly teenagers, crossing the road. They were protesting peacefully, carrying Bahraini flags. Suddenly a couple of riot policemen came out of nowhere. As they were walking toward the boys, one of them loaded his teargas gun. I could see him smiling as he shot it at those boys. My 9-year-old got scared and shouted, ‘Mom, look, they just shot at the people who did nothing… they never even talked to them or warned them!’
I try to keep my kids indoors as much as possible. The police don’t just shoot gas at protesters; they shoot it everywhere. Because most of the protesters live in villages, they assume everyone living in a village is a protester. They shoot directly into the courtyards of houses.
I wanted to leave. I asked for a transfer from my company to work abroad, and they agreed. But my husband changed his mind; he thought the situation would get better, and didn’t want to leave his parents here. But it’s only getting worse.”