The Ministry of Tourism is back with its winter performances in Salalah! I saw a brochure this morning.The first one is on Wednesday (the day after tomorrow): Performance:Morris Dance Country:England Date:Wednesday February 29th, 2012. Location:Salalah - Al Murooj Theatre in Ittin Time:8 p.m Morris dance is spectacular to watch. I've never seen it live before so I'll try to make it (if I can escape yet another wedding). You can read more about this ancient dance here. PS (if you're from the Ministry of Tourism and you're reading this, please bring Irish clogging next time ..... sincerely, Nadia)
I can't believe a whole year has gone by since the Arab Spring reached Salalah. So much has happened. So much changed. I have changed. On February 25th, 2011 a group of men went out onto the streets demanding change. They set up a few tents in the Governor of Dhofar's parking lot and stayed there until May 12th when the army arrested them. Between February 25th and May 12th, people demanded jobs, better benefits for orphans and widows, consumer protection, a new university, an end to government corruption, the ousting of several ministers. And guess what? They got what they asked for. During those few months my sleep was interrupted every few nights by messages from the palace announcing yet another Royal Decree from His Majesty changing this, changing that, firing this person, appointing that person, .... it was truly amazing to be part of that and no matter what anyone says, the protests were good for all of us. God bless Oman.
PS (I heard a few young men were planning to go out into the streets today to stage an 'Anniversary Protests'. Nothing happened. Not that I'm aware of anyway. There were plenty of police checkpoints though....)
Yup. That's how we started our weekend. Around 5 p.m yesterday we suffered a complete blackout in Dhofar that lasted until after 10 p.m. More than five hours. No explanation. I received a badly spelled apology from Dhofar Power Company after the power came back on. We've also been suffering from bad dust storms and heavy wind in the past three days, so spending the evening outside also wasn't really an option. Furthermore, imagine traffic lights on the blink, no street lights at all, and gleeful young men doing insane wheelies on the highway knowing they'll get away with it in the darkness. I was short on candles and my cell phone died, so I spent much of hte blackout on my back in the middle of the living room floor meditating and scolding myself (and humanity) for being so helpless without electricity. Did you guys up north hear about this?
(no, this photo was not published in the newspaper)
The Oman Observer never fails to entertain.
Sun, 19 February 2012 - Oman Observer The 9th Annual Camel Festival organised by Royal Camel Corps of the Royal Court Affairs’ kicked off yesterday in the Wilayat of Thamrait in Dhofar Governorate. The festival’s activities include milking competition, camel races and camel beauty pageant. The festival is the biggest gathering for owners of thoroughbred camels and camel enthusiasts in the Dhofar Governorate, and is considered as one of the most important events to showcase and preserve part of the Sultanate’s heritage. — ONA
Muawiya Al Rawahi has been released. I'm not entirely sure what actually happened, but I know he's out after publishing a very odd (and slightly apologetic) letter from prison through a friend. Put down your weapons, international advocacy groups! (for background information on his arrest, read my post here)
Thanks to a reader (who wishes to remain anonymous), here are some photos from the festival yesterday. I received mixed reviews from my readers (read the comments on the previous post). I still find the whole festival bizarre.
Yes, there's actually a festival in Salalah called 'Festival of the Negroes' or مهرجان الزنوج. And it's happening this Friday. I hate the name and feel it's derogatory. Sometimes it happens once a year, other times twice a year. Sometimes years will go by without a festival. In all cases, it only takes place following a royal order from the palace. The festival basically is a gathering of hundreds of former slaves and their descendants in the centre of Salalah to perform traditional dances (influenced by their African heritage). I find the whole thing disturbing because it has 'slavery' written all over it. The dances are beautiful. It's absolutely fascinating to watch. That entire area will be extremely crowded, so if you want to watch, get there early. . Location: The huge empty parking lot (at the intersection that joins Al Nahdha Street and Al Montazah Road). Keep driving past the Family Bookshop on Al Nahdha in the direction of the ocean, and the huge parking lot is on your left (opposite the Shell petrol station). . Time: It starts after the afternoon prayers (4 p.m). . Photography: allowed of course. Oman TV will be filming. If you're taking photos and want to send some to me with your name on the corner of the photos, I'll publish them on the blog. I'd love to see the dances, but it's definitely taboo for a Dhofari girl to go.
Apparently controversial Omani blogger Muawiyah Al Rawahi was arrested two nights ago for criticizing 'authorities' (read between the lines) on his blog. The blog post no longer exists and according to a tweet last night from another controversial blogger, Ammar Al Mamari, he's still in prison. According to Global Voices Advocacy, he wrote about a number of things including being abused as a young teenager and other stuff I can't post here. You can read for yourself here. Over the years he's criticized Islam, the government, the Mufti, the 'high' authorities, and seemed to have gotten away with just about everything. Why now?
As for Ammar, his blog was also blocked in Oman since March 2011 after he posted death certificates of protesters from the protests in Sohar and other evidence that real bullets were used when authorities claimed rubber bullets were only used. What's surprising is that Ammar's blog seems to be open now. As for Muawiyah, he's rather eccentric. I've been following his blog since 2009.
I think this is going to get ugly. You can't silence people. I can't say anymore. Keep in mind that I did not read his post and am not aware of the details.
Morning folks! How are you spending the last day of the holidays? I came across this website online and thought you might be interested in reading about the Treasure Hunt Oman - International Media Challenge. Their challenge starts today and ends on February 12th. They're spending the last day in Salalah (Nadia approves).
Dhofar is the Southern province in the Sultanate of Oman. Salalah is the capital city of Dhofar (in fact, the only main city). Our little corner of the world is unique in many ways. If you look at the labels at the bottom right of this page and check out some of my older posts, you'll know why. As a Dhofari, I have insider's input. If you read my posts (old and new), you'll begin to appreciate (if not already) the richness of our amazing little world. Salalah is very special, and very different. Tribes, nature, mystery, magic, jinn, you name it. If you're wondering why I'm fluent in English, it's because I spent several years studying abroad. However, I am a Salalah girl through and through. I do not blog as often as I used to because my life is insane, but don't give up on me. I do write. I've been writing for EIGHT years! I have a lot of positive (and rather amusing) things to write about. Many of my posts revolve around women. I do not aim to only criticize the society in Salalah or the way of life. I am proud of who we are and how we live. I only intend to tell it as it is.