A shared political consciousness
As the first state in the Arabian Gulf region to discover oil in 1931, Bahrain has a long history of political and civil society activism. Many of the first generation of modern political figures were educated in new schools set up during the 1920s, giving Bahrain a strong progressive edge over many of its neighbours. The first girls’ school in the entire region appeared in Manama in 1928.
Due to Bahrain’s small size, most of the prominent figures who would dominate Bahrain’s political scene over the coming decades went to school with each other; including members of the ruling family, political activists and professionals.
The first manifestations of political activism appeared among workers of the national oil company, Bapco, with workers demanding better pay and conditions; as well as preferment for Bahraini workers. During this generation which appeared between the first and second world wars, one of the noticeable features was the eradication of sectarian barriers. People from both Sunni and Shia villages attended these modern schools together and worked alongside each other....