Kim Kardashian’s hometown, L.A., has three times as many people as Bahrain; not too many milkshake customers. So why did Kim Kardashian really go to Bahrain and how was it possible that a successful TV reality player became a pawn? According to Uncut’s Dec. 1, report, Kim Kardashian flew into Manama, Bahrain’s capital, on Saturday “to launch the country’s first Millions of Milkshakes shop — but ‘sources’ close to the reality TV star told TMZ that her trip to Kuwait and Bahrain is about more than promoting frozen drinks.”
Given the fact that Bahrain is a small island country with a population of 1,234,571 people (less than a third of Los Angeles’ 3,792,621 people according to a 2010 census), Kim Kardashian could launch more milkshake shops almost anywhere in the world but in Bahrain.
If Kim Kardashian’s reason for going to Bahrain included “to use her celebrity to raise awareness about important issues in the area” as reported by the “celebrity-stalking website” TMZ, Bahrain is not quite the ideal place either.
Bahrain is a small island and the most important issues taking place at the moment are in Cairo or Israel, more than 5000 miles away; at least that is what Kim Kardashian has learned.
What Kim Kardashian has raised so far are the expected protests by about 50 hardline Islamic Salafists who were dispersed by riot police with teargas. Kim Kardashian most likely didn’t even see them.
The awareness that Bahrain does need (instead of milkshakes) is that international human rights organizations have only faced difficulties in entering Bahrain.
Maryam Alkhawaja, the Acting President of the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights (BCHR), wrote on Nov. 29, 2012, in an “Open Letter to Mrs. Kim Kardashian.”
“I am pleased that you’ll be visiting Bahrain, and that you’re interested in using your celebrity to ‘raise awareness about important issues in the area’ … since you have listed this as a priority, we’d like to extend an invitation to you to meet with local human rights defenders, who have been documenting Bahrain’s deplorable human rights violations since the unrest started two years ago.”
The letter continues,
“The revolution in Bahrain began on 14 February 2011, and for the past two years the struggle for human rights and dignity has been faced with a violent crackdown. Although not everyone may have heard of the revolution, Bahrain is well known for its Grand Prix and the Bahrain International Air Show. This is because the government of Bahrain want you to believe that the country is merely the home of exciting business opportunities and a modern, new Middle East. No matter how they spin it, Bahrain has had at least 84 people killed since February 2011 and more than 80 children arrested in just the past several months. People have even been arrested for things they’ve said on Twitter. I don’t know about you, but I’d hardly call that modern. If you are, as was reported, planning to meet with ‘local leaders’, we hope that you take time during your trip to learn about abuses that have largely been ignored by the international community. Given your fame, it is impossible for your trip to remain apolitical.”
According to a Twitter comment published by Global Voices on Dec. 2, “Wafa Alsayed comments on in inviting Kardashian to dabble with politics saying: @WafaAlsayed: No offense, but asking Kim kardashian 2 comment on the political situation in Bahrain is like asking a chipmunk 2 prepare a 3 course dinner.”
Unfortunately, Kim Kardashian’s speech (Global Voice video) to an enthusiastic audience of screaming young girls after a milk shop opening in Bahrain seems to support Wafa Alsayed’s point of view.
“It’s my first time to Bahrain. I am so excited to be here. I love you, too. I really wanna come back on vacation and just lay out by the beach. I am just so thankful for Sheeraz that he brought me here. I’ve been on the phone with my sisters and my family and everyone just telling them that they have to come here. I love how glamorous all the girls are here. I mean your make-up and your hair and your clothes. You guys are beautiful. It’s so beautiful here. The people are so amazing and everyone from the States has come to visit.”
While Kim Kardashian’s reality of “make-up, hair, and clothes” appear apolitical, there is more politics behind Kim Kardashian’s visit than Kim Kardashian is most likely aware of.
Sheeraz Hasan, one of Kim Kardashian’s promoters for her visit to Bahrain wrote in a Twitter post, “Sheeraz, Inc has the authority to bring deals and investment opportunities from around the world to present directly to the Royal Families of Qatar and Bahrain.”
According to Uncut’s Dec. 1, report, Kim Kardashian ”is just another case of a celebrity cluelessly brushing shoulders with corrupt government officials.”
“Kardashian’s trip has been organised by Paresh Shah and Sheeraz Hasan, the duo behind the US-based Millions of Milkshakes franchise. Shah and Hasan have partnered up for various celebrity-oriented endeavors, including celebrity news and gossip site Hollywood.tv. Shah is an attorney, and Hasan a London-born entrepreneur who moved to the United States and launched a career as a producer, presenter, and eventual businessman. After the duo’s first milkshake store opened in West Hollywood in 2008, Kardashian launched the second shop in Dubai last year and they continue to expand in the region, with shops opening this week in Kuwait and Bahrain. The shop focuses on celebrity to draw in customers, boasting a long list of camera-heavy celebrity visits — from Baywatch actress Pamela Anderson to British X-factor alum Cher Lloyd.”
The political involvement of Paresh Shah and Sheeraz Hasan and the use of Kim Kardashian as their pawn is explained by Uncut through the duo’s relationship with Bahrain’s royal family.
“Shah and Hasan appear to have an interesting relationship with Bahrain’s royal family. According to their official website, the two were given a ‘mandate to source unique investment opportunities outside of Bahrain and developing infrastructure within Bahrain’ after meeting with the royal family earlier this year … Bahrain is no stranger to using flashy events to attempt to whitewash its tarnished international reputation. Formula 1 went ahead with the Bahrain Grand Prix earlier this year despite violent clashes between protesters and security forces in the build-up to the race. The country has also enlisted a number of western PR companies to whitewash its image after international condemnation of its human rights record. Its [It’s] not a stretch to see why Bahrain might find the Millions of Milkshakes’ celebrity-focused approach appealing.”
Maryam Alkhawaja, the Acting President of the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights, is right with his words to Mrs. Kim Kardashian, that “it is impossible for your trip to remain apolitical.”
As Kim Kardashian’s TV reality clashes with Bahrain’s reality, it becomes apparent that Bahrain does not need milkshakes but human rights.
One can only feel compassion for Kim Kardashian who appears to have become a pawn in not a TV reality game but in the game of real life. Maybe doing what 32-year-old Kim Kardashian does best, being a player, not a pawn, might be a better. After all, it is Kim Kardashian’s human right.
More articles by this author…
Video games and the Museum of Modern Art: ‘Pac-Man instead of Picasso’
Behind-the-scenes: 4 things Carrie Underwood shares with Maria, ‘Sound of Music’
Larry Hagman’s death: Co-star at his death bed, ‘You die the way you live’
Behind-the-scenes Tom Cruise: Did Suri Cruise inherit Tom Cruise’s dyslexia? (Slide Show & Video)
2012 Businessperson of the Year: 10 surprise facts about Amazon.com’s Jeff Bezos (Slide Show)
Discover ShopDiscover.com: How to ‘shop & earn money’ in 3 easy steps
Lindsay Lohan crosses the continent: From New York to Los Angeles
Anne Hathaway’s birthday on Nov. 12: ‘Robopocalypse’, ‘Anne Hathaway Day’
Behind-the-scenes look: Katie Holmes joins New York residents
Behind-the-scenes look: Tom Cruise’s lawsuit, cooking ‘turkey for daughter SURI’
Why Abraham Lincoln would have chosen Daniel Day-Lewis for ‘Lincoln’
Criticism on Daniel Day-Lewis as Lincoln: ‘He talks like him, walks like him’
‘Team of Rivals’: Lincoln, Doris Goodwin, Steven Spielberg, Daniel Day-Lewis
The power, legacy of Steven Spielberg’s dyslexia in 60 Minutes: ‘I own my fear’
George Lucas’ near-death experience: One moment in heaven, a lifetime on earth
George Lucas’ near-death experience: George Lucas’ and Disney’s win-win deal
Philosopher Paul Kurtz’s death at 86: What does it mean to be human?
The nature of dyslexia: Tom Cruise, Anthony Hopkins, Keira Knightley, Joe Wright
Anna Karenina, Keira Knightley’s dyslexia: How Keira’s parents got her to read
James Middleton, Kate’s brother, owns his dyslexia: ‘I wouldn’t change a thing’
Dyslexia comes to life in ‘Anna Karenina’: Keira Knightley, Joe Wright
Princess Diana: Her childhood, legacy, love for Prince Harry, William, the world
Prince Harry’s classy mother: ‘My God, what’s happened?’