A shocking video of a Bahraini man slapping a man who appears to be a South Asian migrant worker has set off a firestorm of controversy in the Middle Eastern nation, highlighting the ongoing abuse suffered by thousands of migrant workers in the country.
The violent interaction is replayed several times in a clip that was uploaded to YouTube earlier this month. The video has been viewed more than 150,000 times, and hundreds of Bahrainis have taken to social media to protest the deplorable treatment of the man, according to the BBC.
Arabic-language hashtags translating to "Bahraini Slaps Worker" and "Indian Worker Slapped" have been trending across Twitter, and even Bahrain's foreign minister has sent out his support for the injured man.
"He came from his country bearing homesickness and being away from family, to work in the toughest of jobs for a modest wage. And a despicable person comes and slaps him," Sheikh Khalid Bin Ahmed al-Khalifa said on Twitter last week.
More than half of the 1.4 million people living in Bahrain are estimated to be migrant workers, according to the Post. Many of those individuals are from South Asian countries and end up as part of a low-paid workforce whose lives contrast starkly with those of the country's many oil-rich citizens.
Human Rights Watch issued a report in 2012 that found widespread exploitation and abuse of migrant workers in Bahrain. At the time, the nongovernmental advocacy group called for increased labor safeguards and legal means of recourse against abusive employers.