Rida Al-Ghasra Echoes Che Guevara’s Words: Shoot You Coward!

2017-02-22 - 6:48 am

Bahrain Mirror (Exclusive): When his execution was decided, Che Guevara told the person sent to kill him, "I know you are here to kill me. Shoot, coward, you are only going to kill a man."

Have you ever heard of a revolutionary hero, who was not accused by the tyrant regime he revolted against, of being a traitor, terrorist, saboteur, instigator, or criminal? Do authoritarian regimes but take out those revolutionaries, whom they had enough of, after they had threatened their power and authority, slipped away from their grip, targeted their prestige, and destroyed their "tough" image?

The revolutionary fighter Che Guevara was executed by a firing squad to later become the icon of revolution to all peoples of the world, and his picture, since his demise, became a symbol used by everyone, and an international insignia of popular culture. While the Libyan revolutionary Omar Mukhtar was being executed, he repeated his revolutionary slogan: "We either die or become victorious." He later became a legend of struggle. The Filipino revolutionary José Rizal was executed in an open arena, which became a touristic attraction after he was buried there. That site tells the tale of the execution of a national hero, and the day of his death is commemorated as a national holiday. Many more stories were told of other revolutionaries as well throughout history.

Bahrain's Rida Al-Ghasra was said to be a young revolutionary whose revolutionary passion pumped through his veins, and was dubbed by Bahrainis as Bahrain's Guevara. On his last day, Rida went to the sea, and he knows that he had two options: either freedom or martyrdom. The choice of going back to be locked behind bars was not an option for him. He rather took guide in Guevara's saying, "We either achieve freedom or remain tortured", and so if Rida did not achieve his freedom that moment, he would no longer accept to remain tortured in prison.

The regime as well did not consider the option of returning Rida back to jail. It in fact did not consider any other option but killing him, as it had reached its limit of tolerance with him, especially after he made a fool out of it, following his fourth and final escape from Jaw Prison.

At sea, Rida found himself facing commandos surrounding him in large numbers; numbers that suggest they are attacking a full-scale war battalion and not a single person holding a weapon.

Rida fired at them, and he knew that this is exactly where his end would be. The Coast Guard boats circulated his small boat from every side. Rida knew there was no way surviving, and that his firearm would fail to protect him from them, but would be their pretext to kill him. Nonetheless, he chose to die steadfast and in resistance until his last breath, since "real strength is to be at the zenith of your steadfastness when many think you had fallen."

Rida is not a political leader, nor does he represent a political faction. He is merely a young revolutionary; a young man who embraces the revolution in his blood. He never gives up on the revolution, nor does it give him up, his courage or boldness. Rida has the ability to influence others around him with his raging spirit, and that is why the authorities thought him to be the most dangerous threat to them.

Rida had had enough of this tyrant and arrogant regime, which has monopoly over power, the revolution, and people's lives. He could no longer tolerate living under the humiliation and indignity caused by this regime. The sparkle of revolution never faded from his eyes, not once, since his early days. The more oppressive the regime became, the more the revolution became part of Rida. His revolution did not start in 2011, it was rather the last stage that extended till the day of his death. His choices might have changed in his ways of resisting and confronting the regime, yet the revolution remained his flaming power that continued to shine, the more the regime increased its recklessness, arrogance, repression, torture, and intimidation.

Rida might have chosen a path others do not approve of, yet he found it to be his only option, after the people exhausted all their peaceful methods while the regime exhausted all its violence ways and tyrannical means against them. At the Pearl (Lualua) Roundabout, Rida's choice was not different from other protesters there. His ambition was the revolution that dreamt of change, just like other protesters who carried roses as their symbol of peace. After the regime persisted in its mob-like violence and barbaric brutality against every one who dared to dream, Rida no longer remained like them. Rida decided that violence should be met with violence, and surrender before these atrocities is a weakness that deprives people of dignity and a sense of humanity, and allows the tyrant to cross all red lines. "If inhumane circumstances were imposed on people and they did not rebel, they would gradually lose their humanity."

Rida decided to face the violent regime and not be defeated by its arms and forces, and to confront the mercenary forces who were imported from different countries to suppress and kill this nation. The charge of being a terrorist awaited him. The Bahraini regime often uses terrorist charges as a pretext to take out its opponents; either physically or by prison sentences amounting to more than 100 years; as in Rida's case. Rida never held a weapon in the face of a citizen, burn any public property, intimidate any citizen, or kill a police officer. None of that was mentioned in the charges raised against him by the Minister of Interior under the pretext of terrorism. The maximum charge was violent confrontations with repressive security mercenaries on the streets, which is a form of rioting that happens in any place witnessing angry protests in the world.

The Bahraini regime was fed up with Rida, his extraordinary boldness and courage. Rida became the regime's major dilemma, which it did not know how to tackle. Torture did not succeed in breaking him, nor did the prison verdicts reaching up to 104 years succeed in containing his revolutionary passion and rebellious disobedience. The iron cuffs placed around his hands and feet also failed to prevent his escape. Rida broke the prestige of the entire security corpse when he broke the record in his number of escapes from the notorious Jaw prison. One person was successful in destabilizing an entire prison, by succeeding in the greatest escape witnessed by Bahraini prisons.

It is no longer possible for the Ministry of Interior to return Rida Al-Ghasra to its defeated prisons alive, and it is not possible for Rida to accept a return after his final escape but as a martyr. Rida stood in his last moment, facing the heavily armed commandos, addressing them one by one: "I know you are here to kill me. Shoot, cowards, you are only killing one extraordinary Bahraini revolutionary." Dear Rida, you have become the icon of a Bahraini revolutionary.

Arabic Version    


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