Saturday, January 19, 2013
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.
Friday, January 4, 2013
Good Afternoon folks! And a belated Happy New Year!
Dhofari Gucci's first post of 2013. I've been super-busy lately, so forgive the gaps:
1) This morning I received the government announcement about Oman's new government-owned national railway company. The first phase includes Dhofar. Exciting.
2) Rumor has it that McDonald's is set to open in Salalah in that new golden building on the highway before Centrepoint but on the other side of the highway. Can anyone verify this? (FYI: I'm not a fan of McDonalds, but I'm sure many readers are). I drove past there yesterday and it looks like they're setting up a two-storey restaurant, but no signs yet.
3) I read this eye-brow raising article by Saleh Al Shaibany o Reuters Oman "Taboo on premarital sex can lead to tragedy in changing Oman". It saddens me to know that it's true. The number of kids at the orphanage is evidence enough. Naturally, society/authorities try to hush things up as much as possible. Problems will never be solved or dealt with unless they're brought out into the open. (notice how he never mentions rape, which is a common reason for these pregnancies. Victim-blaming).
4) 15 Million Rials to develop tourist facilities in Dhofar in 2013. Article here. I say set up more bathrooms, and teach apartment owners to use booking.com. Last year's Eid Al Fitr tourist-crisis was a true disaster. Remember my post from August "The Invasion"?
5) Oman introduces black point system for driving offenders. This makes me happy.
6) Dhofari Gucci is busy figuring out resolutions for 2013. Need to work on becoming a better person. In the meantime, Bon Iver's 'Skinny Love' is stuck in my head today... particularly Birdy's version of the song. Watch it here. That child is incredible.