Two years ago, the world was captivated as a chain of popular uprisings swept across Middle Eastern countries, and hope for democratic reform reached a fever pitch.

But that fantasy has faded — particularly in Bahrain, where protests against corruption that started in February 2011 have yet to bear fruit. Tens of thousands of protesters took to the streets, calling for transparency and an end to nepotism. But the government responded with a violent crackdown that ended in hundreds of injuries, widespread reports of torture, and at least 47 deaths. Hopes for reform have dimmed.

“We must forget about this thing called ‘Arab Spring,'” said Mohamed Jawad, an audio engineer who took his oud and his anti-corruption message to Transparency International’s 15th International Anti-Corruption Conference in Brasília in November.

Jawad feels the international community has abandoned the democratic aspirations of his country, due in part to wealthy nations’ need for Bahraini oil and other resources.

In this 100Voices video, Jawad expresses his despair to anti-corruption groups as they gather in Brasília. He was interviewed by 100Reporters’ Chad Bouchard.

Chad Bouchard
Chad Bouchard, a staff writer for 100 Reporters, is an investigative journalist focusing on politics and corruption. His stories have appeared in The Washington Post Magazine, The Sunday Telegraph, The Financial Times and other publications. His radio stories have aired on NPR, Public Radio International, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, and the Voice of America.

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