Saturday, April 30, 2011

Al Harah blocked? Yikes.

I had no idea it was blocked ... it's almost like having the Sabla blocked! Al Harah is one of Oman's most active internet forums. Read the newspaper article here.
As for our protest situation, about 2000 people marched through town yesterday. Some pretty harsh slogans were being chanted (I won't repeat - too sensitive). They're getting impatient. Fellow blogger covered it here. I drove around the area afterwards but couldn't get near since police were blocking the highway. I wonder where all this is leading...

Tuesday, April 26, 2011


It's been raining heavily in Salalah these past couple of days. As in pouring all night.. and puddles everywhere ... and blocked roads .... and mini-wadis running ..... and right now we're in the middle of a heavy rainstorm ..... PARTY TIME! YAAAAY!

PS (don't blame us for being happy. we haven't had rain since the monsoon ended last September)

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Whoa. Local News.

Brief Update:
(1) Yesterday around 1200 people marched down the highway after Friday prayers at the 'People's Square' (sitin area) in Salalah. Why? To remind authorities that they're continuing with the sit-in until their demands are met. It's been two friggin months already. They put up two huge new banners. One says 'Jobs for all - cancel loans - Islamic banks!' (there's a fourth element but I can't remember ...). The second one says 'We're strong - We'll Stay - United' معتصمون - مرابطون- صامدون

.The Friday sermon yesterday was a little tough. The speaker, a Mr. Hardan, addressed His Majesty in parts of the sermon in a rather .... rough manner? Many of the people who were there felt uncomfortable after the sermon. Anyway, they marched and again Salalah made it to the front page of the newspaper this morning.

.(2) Murder in Salalah: on the weekend a senior official (deputy-wali) from Salalah murdered another senior official in the centre of town right by Al Shanfari mosque. Both men were extremely well known and the town is baffled. Why would someone in such a senior position murder someone (died of gun-shot wounds) in the centre of town in a public parking lot? It makes no sense,but it happened. The murderer, from a very well-respected mountain tribe confessed almost immediately afterwards and some claim he may have confessed to the crime without committing it because he's more likely to get out of jail by paying the family of the deceased a huge settlement. The 'real' murderer may have been a younger man from his family and most people believe it was an honor killing (involving a woman? a man? who knows). I hope wasta doesn't play a role in solving the murder (as was the case in previous crimes) and I hope the police crack down on weapons in Salalah. Everyone has weapons! It's frightening. I hope the truth comes out and we break these useless traditions of protecting the 'reputation' of certain families by covering up what they've done. In all cases, please say a prayer for the families of both men. What both wives must be going through.... I can't decide whether it's better to have dead husband or a murderer for a spouse. Ugh. May God give them strength to get through this. Ameen. What are your thoughts on this? Are you aware of any crimes in Salalah that were covered by 'wasta' over the years?

.(3) Say goodbye to Al Haffa Corniche/beach as we know it.The families living on the ocean received their settlement from the government just a couple of weeks ago and should be out of their beachfront houses by the end of this year I assume. Sad. Sad. Sad. I know I can't stop development but Al Haffa beach is the ESSENCE of this town.


Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Happy Birthday to Me!

I can't believe I forgot to acknowledge Dhofari Gucci's 2nd birthday! (April 7th!). Shame on me. It's never too late to celebrate, though. I bought blue grill shades too. Would it damage my reputation too much if I switched to blue for a while?
Local news: protests continue, people are tired, .... why doesn't His Majesty speak? Reassure his people?
The Hilton has some great offers on this months (38 a night?)... check it out if you'd like to spend the weekend melting (literally) away in Salalah. Have a great weekend (and Easter if you're Christian)
(P.S Lulu Hypermarket is the bomb. They now sell the shampoo I used to buy when I was living abroad)

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Update (20): Protests in Salalah

The heat is getting under everyone's skin, including the protesters. Yesterday afternoon I saw about 50 protesters at the sitin in the People's Square. At night it probably swelled up to a few hundred only. The heat will probably drive them away eventually. I wonder how they survive the nights sleeping outdoors ....

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Update (19): Salalah Protests

It's Saturday. Yesterday around 1000 people attended Friday prayers at the Poeple's Square in Salalah. Two new banners were put up at the entrances to the square. Still very quiet and peaceful but they claim they're not moving. I have mixed feelings. In the meantime, summer heat has officially hit Salalah. It went up to 32 celcius yesterday and the humidity is horrible. What's the point of wearing makeup if it's going to melt off the moment you step outside your front gate? How does one handle the heat? A good suggestion from Secret Salalah here. I'll buy a chilled coconut today.
Have a great week!

Friday, April 8, 2011

Update 18: Salalah Protests

Only about 1500 people gathered for Friday prayers at the People's Square in central Salalah (opposite Governor's office) today. The Imam who gave the sermon, Nasser Sakroon, encouraged protesters to continue what they are doing and not end the sit-in. No police or army in sight. I hear Sohar was also quiet today. Insha'Allah things will calm down now....

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Update 17: Salalah Protests

Short update: Salalah protests continue. Again last night rumors spread that the sit-in would be over today, and there definitely was an attempt to break them up, but it was unsuccessful. The tribal leaders 'Sheikhs' met with the Governor of Dhofar this morning in attempt to figure out a way to end the sit-in, and the sheikhs walked from the governor's gate to the makeshift protest camp 'People's Square', and tried to convince them to leave. They said no. I'll wait to see what else happens ...

PS (rumor has it that HM is in Salalah)

Monday, April 4, 2011

Update 16: Salalah Protests (not the end)

So yesterday's rumor turned out to be false. The protests continue in Salalah and they plan to stay in the People's Square (nickname for governor's parking lot) until the Sultan addresses them himself or their demands are met. Read more here. Officials keep coming to speak to them, but isn't it clear? The people do not trust the government anymore. Simple as that. Ministers mean nothing anymore. Reality hurts, but it's true.

Yesterday's press conference with Sayyid Fahd Al Said was a positive gesture, and I'm sure most of you agree with that. He encouraged newspapers to not hold back when publishing news about protests. He reminded them of the critical role that media plays in times like these. He told them to report current events in Oman without sugar-coating them. He confirmed that people were working day and night to work on addressing the demands of the protesters. He assured the nation that every human is entitled to a decent life. Read the rest below. Don't mind the crappy translation. I love how Omani newspapers just can't seem to let go of the word 'glory' and 'glorious' when describing Oman and/or the ruler.

Sayyid Fahd bin Mahmoud meets Editors-in-Chief of Local Newspapers and Magazines and Senior Media Officials.

Muscat, April 3 (ONA)- Sayyid Fahd bin Mahmoud al Said, Deputy Prime Minister for the Council of Ministers met today with editors-in-chief of local newspapers and magazines and senior media officials in the presence of Hamed bin Mohammed al Rashdi, Information Minister and Sheikh Abdullah bin Shuwain al Hosni, Undersecretary of the Information Ministry. .

At the beginning of the meeting, Sayyid Fahd hailed the qualitative and quantitative development witnessed by the Omani media and the efforts undertaken by the local newspapers to present the views and ideas. He pointed out that the modern media is not only a mean for transmitting news but rather a very important interactive process that enhances communication among officials and citizens and enhances the social constructive dialogue so that everyone can shoulder his national responsibilities.He said that education and awareness are among the major task of media men so that every citizen feels that he is not living alone and that there are some people who care for him, listen to his views, aspirations and transmit it honestly. At the same time, it provides that piece of information which may not be known to him to rest assured about his present and future.

Sayyid Fahd affirmed that the meeting provides the opportunity to identify the challenges facing the Omani media and how to overcome them. . As for the current events on the Omani arena, Sayyid Fahd pointed out that His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said is a wise leader who managed to guide Oman to the highest ranking of glory, progress and good reputation. "We should all preserve the achievements at which the loyal people of Oman took part in realizing them", he added.
Sayyid Fahd also pointed out that the Sultanate should not be compared with others when it comes to addressing the events that were not known in the Omani society. No doubt that the care and interest covers all those living on this kind land and that it is important to preserve the safety and security of people and their property. The policemen are watchful to ensure this while maintaining highest degree of self control. We consider the safety of everyone in this country as gain for all of us because our society vehemently dismisses all forms of violence. Therefore, it is important to focus on raising awareness of good behaviours in addressing the demands, especially that freedom of opinion is guaranteed to everyone in the society and receives attention of the leadership and all officials who work tirelessly to satisfy the demands that ensure descent life for every citizen. He affirmed that the corrective steps recently taken by the state will be seriously activated, especially those related to strict auditing in a bid to preserve the achievements of this nation. We assure everyone that the reform march is on the right track of which the general frame was outlined by the leadership, he continued.
Sayyid Fahd pointed out that there are many issues which are now being studied carefully, in addition to evaluating the education policies and areas related to developing the private and public sectors while taking into consideration the Omanis working in these sectors. He added that all steps will see light successively and that they all translate the aspirations that serve the public interest. Sayyid Fahd urged everyone to cooperate to present the civilized reality of this country, known for its rich history and culture.

The participants took part in the dialogue by presenting some views and expressed their deep appreciation for the confidence invested in them by His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said and the support they receive to enable them to carry out their national mission efficiently. They affirmed their commitment to media ethics and adopting freedom of expression to help this generous country preserve its achievements. They hoped that more similar meetings should be held to cast light on a number of issues on the Omani arena.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Salalah Protests: The end?

- Salalah sit-in started on February 25th and continued for five weeks.

- Minister of Justice met with protesters on Friday April 1st to try to convince them to break up the sit-in and go home.

- protesters refused because the minister confessed he had not received 'orders' from the Sultan to break up Salalah protests.

- tension as Sohar protests turned violent yet again

- This morning rumors spread in Salalah (and on the Sabla forum) that protesters decided to break up the protest peacefully and take the tents down. Evidently it's a lie.

- Worth noting that the 37 days of protests have been extremely peaceful.

- Dhofaris rock.

- The End