Society of Bahrain
The censorship only generated more interest, and screenshots of the banned pictures circulated widely. Private landholding in Bahrain has long been a sensitive issue. Well into the 20th century the Baharna, the indigenous Shiite landowners, suffered the arbitrary confiscation of their properties by the ruling family and its allies. According to opposition sources, 95 percent of the nation’s land area is now privately owned, 80 percent by the royal family itself. Since the emergence of the oil economy in the 1950s, when industrial and real-estate development became far more profitable than agriculture – especially date farming – former agricultural land has been rapidly cleared for the construction of luxurious residential areas, office blocks, and golf courses. The former agricultural labourers and pearl fishers have flocked to the cities, where most live in the poor, crowded, working-class neighbourhoods of Manama and Muharraq.
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