Tuesday, July 10, 2012


So... two guys get sentenced to jail for 'insulting' His Majesty the Sultan. The first guy, Hamoud Al Rashdi (a writer) was sentenced to six months and a fine of 200 OMR). The second guy, Hamad Al Kharousi (a poet) apparently wrote a poem insulting the character of His Majesty and was sentenced to ONE FRIGGIN YEAR in jail and a fine of 200 OMR. Given the current situation in Oman, that was pretty stupid in my opinion (writing the poem, not the court ruling to any confused readers) Both are out on bail. Another group of 'activists' are awaiting their trial.

Question: both are being referred to by international human rights organizations as 'Human rights defenders'. I'm not familiar with either of them. If you know anything about their human rights activism (?), do share. I'm interested.

To be honest guys, there's plenty to write about from Salalah these days. I should be doing some festival coverage and updating you on all the interesting events, lectures, conferences and concerts. Unfortunately, the campaign of intimidation against anyone with an opinion in Oman has me feeling rather low. There is no such thing as 'complete freedom of speech' but we can get close. Oman is definitely nowhere near there. And to be honest, I think it's the wrong time to pick on bloggers and activists in Oman. The situation in the Middle East is unstable and all eyes are on the Arab states that have not flipped. Oman is pretty stable but we're not immune to anything.

I am deeply loyal to His Majesty but I also believe in basic human rights. I'm trying to understand this whole situation from the government's point of view and then from the perspective of all the activists and who want a different Oman. I can almost understand both sides. Unfortunately, I don't think the recent chain of events is going to work.

So, onto a little Salalah news: apparently two or three young women were also detained briefly for their 'negative' writings online? FROM SALALAH? HOLY SHIT. Not sure how this one will play out. I know who they are.

Frankincense Ice Cream obsession: you may now taste Trygve's wonderful ice creams at Ittina Cafe in Iteen. Drive past the festival in the direction of the mountains and once you get to the roundabout with all the small restaurants and barbecue stands, turn right and drive up the hill. The restaurant is at the top of that hill. It has a nice family section and you can get yourself a good hookah fix there as well.

Rain: it rained for a couple of days then dried up for about a week, then started raining again a couple of days ago. That's probably added to my depression.

Late night reading:  herehere, here, and Amnesty International's semi-biased action plan here.

Gucci is not happy.



  1. Frankincense ice cream is finished for a month, so I was told when I tried to buy some

  2. uh..you are putting yourself at risk by calling the court's ruling "stupid"

  3. Good question Nadia, I was actually hoping you would know more about the "Human rights" thingies these people are involved in. All I've seen is some blog (theoman-freedom in arabic, thanks Google translate) with some unsubstantiated claims. I call that a cry for attention. But then again, that's what keeps the "human righs" organizations alive. I'm not saying their wrong, but I'm not giving them the benefit of doubt.

  4. Dear "know the limit": I meant writing a poem criticizing the Sultan was pretty stupid.

  5. JB - I'm questioning their human rights 'activism' as well. Not everyone who makes noise is an activist. Since when does writing an insulting poem and then getting arrested for it make you a human rights activist?

  6. "know the limit" should first "know how to read", haha! Talk about putting words in someone's mouth. I like how you've edited the text to include exactly what you meant in parenthesis just to clarify what some people couldn't seem to grasp!

  7. Andy! Need to keep myself on the safe side :)

  8. Be in your side - the right track
    No one is safe in the world unless Almighty think so... so Ramadan is coming.. so we can pray to Almighty to have a world of happiness and peace.....

  9. You have been missed Nadia! (and I'm sure we ex-pats have missed many events in Salalah as a result - we tend to rely on you to pass on the info that we'd otherwise never have access to...) :-(

  10. How is it that I only JUST discovered your blog? I'm definitely adding you to my homescreen for my morning reads.