Saturday, January 19, 2013

A Different Time

I read a very balanced and slightly controversial post by one of my favorite people Mahfaif this evening. His post on the continuous detention of writers, bloggers and activists in Oman reminded me why my writing has slowed down (and his too). It reminded me how worrying the situation is in Oman. It reminded me of the nightmares I had a couple of nights ago when outspoken blogger and giver of rather interesting Friday sermons in Dhofar Mr. Said Jadad was arrested. It reminded me of the hints I've received over the past few months. The "we know who you are and we know where to find you" hints. The rather quiet meeting I had very recently with someone I know who was obviously trying to get a message across and obtain information (i.e. Are you or are you not an activist?). I answered 'define activism'. He was silent. He was asked to question me without making me feel I was being questioned. He failed. I have nothing to hide. Half my posts on this blog are cheerful bits of news from Salalah, and most of what I do in my real life is mild. Occasionally I have little passive-agressive (as one reader called them) bursts of controversial passion involving human rights. Most of my bursts are related to women, though. I stay safe. He looked me in the eye and said 'be careful. they're watching'. I did not ask who 'they' are because I don't need to. All I know is that I have no interest in being detained, questioned, or punished. There are other ways to do good for this country. I reassured my friend that all is well and that I have no intention of doing anything dumb and that I am eternally loyal to my country and its englightened leader. I also assured him that I am not in touch with any international human rights agencies (I'm not). That was his main question.

I have no idea why I've blogged about this, but since I'm an honest blogger I decided to share. Times are uncertain in Oman. Times are changing. I think I'll sit back in my armchair with my pink grillshades for a while and watch with interest.

Bottomline? Gucci is not too happy.

5 comments:

  1. There was this suggestion I was planning to pass to you in figuring out your new years resolutions for 2013, but I got caught up in more urgent commitments and I simply couldn’t post that comment. I know it is none of my business to suggest it, as decisions are entirely yours, but as an older person I deem it to be an obligation to part with some little advice helpful to the young.

    In 2013 write less of politics and more of social enhancements for your immediate surroundings particularly women empowerment and other relevant issues.

    That is my 2 cents.

    Mti

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  2. Hi Nadia, I'm spellbound because I've always seen your blog
    as an interesting free-thinking source of info about a country
    I fell in love with at first sight really appreciating your ”bursts
    related to women” without seeing you as an activist at all.
    The 'we know who U are and where to find U' sounds like a
    mafia curse to my Italian years but I do believe you have nothing
    to hide, anyway as you wisely said, there're many other ways to
    do good for your wonderful country, nonetheless I'll miss your
    unique insights. Hope times will change for the best for
    everyone in Oman, إن شاء الل

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  3. hmmm. just to let you know that I have enjoyed reading your posts, most of the time light and fun. it is unfortunate that you feel your safety is being threatened when it appears you are doing nothing wrong. but i think it is always good to keep in mind that change never happens without resistance, and the only change that I have read that you speak out for the progression of women in dhofari society, which is nothing to be ashamed of or wrong for advocating for and is certainly not in contradiction to the government's vision. so what if you are being watched - GOOD! that is what you want right ... at least you know your voice is being heard and making a little ruffle of impact otherwise they probably would never have bothered getting in touch with you. don't put out your light just because others have noticed it. I personally think it is wonderful that you take the time to have a voice and write about what you feel. i find it a bit bizarre that there would be interest on whether you are in touch with international human rights agencies - why are any human rights laws being broken?? maybe that should be the focus of the investigation rather than a blog about salalah weddings and ma3ajeen.

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  4. I can relate to the paranoia. Sometimes blogging honestly I worry I could lose my job. It is frustrating because I am a westerner and I am used to total freedom in the United States but in the Middle East I feel that it is better to "play it safe".

    However, if there is something truly wrong in the way things are done. If people are being abused, how is it right to remain silent and pretend nothing is wrong? Only by voicing what needs to be changed, changes it right?

    I think great changes are made with great tact and grace and powerful leaders.

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