Starbucks proudly claims to have “a positive impact” on the communities the company’s numerous branches all over the world serve. “As good neighbors we get involved with local efforts to bring people together and create positive change whenever we can,” reads the Starbucks mission on community involvement. “Bringing people together, inspiring change and making a difference in people’s lives – it’s all part of being a good neighbor. And it’s a commitment rooted in the belief that we can use our scale to be a catalyst for change.”
Starbucks “partners” (employees) in the tiny Middle Eastern island kingdom of Bahrain, however, don’t seem to have gotten that memo.
Managers at a Starbucks outside Bahrain’s Ministry of Justice and Islamic Affairs in the capital Manama, willingly and immediately agreed to an unofficial Ministry of Interior request to kick out a group of journalists, international observers, human rights advocates and the families of torture victims being tried over their opposition to the government.
The incident began as supporters of 23 human rights activists, bloggers, opposition members and dissident clerics gathered yesterday outside the ministry’s high criminal court for the third session of an ongoing trial in which the 23 detainees are accused of various crimes against the state. A group of journalists from the BBC, who had their equipment confiscated upon their arrival in Bahrain to cover the trial, were also outside the court trying to get in.
“A number of activists and journalists were out at the entrance to the court and they made us to move,” Mohammed Al-Maskati, President of the Bahrain Youth Society for Human Rights told Change.org.