Tuesday, 3 June 2008


Only Palestine mattered.Omani TV, in common with the other Arab networks, showed night after night the harsh treatment meted out on Palestinians by the Israeli army.They showed families being evicted from their houses at gunpoint, then showed these houses being demolished. Palestinian children throwing stones were fired on by Israeli soldiers and Palestinian women were constantly harassed.It was certainly one-sided.However,one began to understand the visceral hatred that exists between Arab and Jew , as well as the strong bonds of kinship that exist among all Arabs , enabling them to identify totally with the plight of the Palestinians.

As we entered the nineties, it all began to change.In 1991, Iraq invaded Kuwait and British and American soldiers were out on the streets of Oman.The country was a forward base for the liberation of Kuwait , and was in the world spotlight. There was a tense atmosphere as war approached. Speculation was rife as to whether Oman would be invaded too.We learned that nurses in the nearby hospital were doing courses on treating the victims of chemical warfare. Oman’s rulers were pro-Western, and sent soldiers to fight Iraq, but this certainly did not apply to everybody.Many secretly admired Saddam for having the guts to defy the West,and said it was wrong for Muslims to fight fellow Muslims.Then came the internet and satellite television.Suddenly, it seemed Oman was connected to the outside world. Omanis watched CNN or the BBC and were exposed for the first time to highly sophisticated news channels.The government agency OMANTEL attempted to censor material, but could not exert total control. A lot got through.

ภาพ Al Nakhal Fort, with Hajar Mountains in background

ถ่ายโดย Chris Mellor
ภาพจาก Lonely Planet