Wednesday, 11 June 2008


The clock cannot be turned back– which is what the Islamic fundamentalists are trying to do. The discovery of oil in the Arab world has unleashed the forces of change and modernization, and these processes will continue.They are unstoppable and inevitable.Oman will continue to develop – the oil revenue will see to that... Sleepy Fanja now has a six-lane highway going past it , a whole mountain torn down to construct it.Bin Laden and his followers wish to take the Muslim world back to a mythical distant past , the Caliphate of the seventh century A.D. , ‘ the good old days’ ,when life was simpler,purer and less complicated than today. It is totally unrealistic, and is not going to happen... If the Arabs can be persuaded to view the future with confidence, with the assurance that their values and their identity are not in danger, they will not embrace fundamentalist doctrines which have no relevance in the modern world. It is our job to persuade them that they have nothing to fear from the forces of progress and modernization, that this is the only way forward

And, finally, we must solve the Palestinian problem. It is an utter contradiction for the Israelis to demand their right to a homeland, and then to deny that right to the Palestinians.The West claims that it believes in democracy and human rights, yet only goes through the motions of protecting the Palestinians. This issue is the catalyst of so much hatred in the Arab world. If the West were able to solve this problem amicably, a great deal of the bile and venom towards us would disappear.

Samuel Huntingdon and others have written about an inevitable ‘clash of civilisations’ between the Islamic world and the West .This is nonsense. As my experience proved, Arabs and Westerners can work very harmoniously together, as long as both parties feel they are pursuing mutually beneficial objectives.

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เว็บอื่นที่น่าสนใจเกี่ยวกับโอมาน Oman Holidays BLOG

Notice: A British mate of mine, Robert Butterfield, sent me his journey story to publish on the blog. His experiences inside the kingdom and abroad would be shared regularly. I’d like to thank Bob for the fantastic writing.

โรเบิร์ต บัตเตอร์ฟิลด์ เพื่อนชาวอังกฤษส่งบทความการเดินทางท่องเที่ยวในประเทศไทยและต่างประเทศมาให้นำลงเพื่อให้เพื่อนๆ ได้อ่านกัน ขอขอบคุณบ้อบที่ตั้งใจเขียนบันทึกการเดินทางมาฝากเพื่อนๆ และจะทยอยนำลงให้อ่านกันอีกครับ


Iraq is a classic example of how not to promote change in the Arab world.Arabs, rather like the rest of us, will change their ways when they feel that it will benefit them to do so. Like us,they welcome modern conveniences and appliances that make life easier yet also wish to preserve what is best in their societies.Like us ,they have a strong sense of identity,which they wish to retain, and a fear of losing the best of their traditions. They are not that different from us. We should have a sympathetic understanding of their fears and anxieties and seek to allay them.We should not attempt to thrust our culture, especially its more tawdry aspects, in their faces, as is being done at present.We should appreciate the positive values of their culture .We have much to learn from their community values, and how they look after each other .Our society is far from perfect and we too have difficulties in adapting to change. We should be patient with the people of traditional, conservative societies and realize that we have much in common. Above all, we should cease to think that our ways are always superior to theirs, and stop behaving in a patronizing way.

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There is also Israel. Israel, despite being a wealthy country, is the number one beneficiary of U.S. foreign aid.There is a powerful Jewish lobby, very active in Washington, which consistently influences U.S. foreign policy in favour of Israel.Thus the U.S. is seen as a sponsor of the repressive tactics meted out by the Israelis on the Arabs. “America props up and arms Israel,” said Nassir to me, “and without American aid, Israel would collapse tomorrow.” Unlikely, but this remark illustrates the power of America and the fact she has neglected to find a lasting solution to the Palestinian problem. This problem has been allowed to fester and has fanned the flames of Arab anger.

Countries like Oman are changing at bewildering speed.Changes which took place over centuries in other countries have occurred in two generations in Oman.It took the British two hundred and fifty years to change from a largely agricultural society to an industrial one.There was a great deal of social conflict along the way.Developing societies are being asked to cope with a pace of change much faster than this.Omanis have shown amazing resilience and adaptability to cope with the changes so far.The IT Revolution is forcing yet more change upon them ,the pace of development is accelerating. Even we have problems adapting.How much greater are the problems of adaptation for people from traditional societies!

The West must not impose its social and political ideas on people, but, instead, allow them to change and adapt in their own good time.Arabs must feel that they have control over the process of change.The current British and American attempt to install parliamentary government in Iraq is a case in point.It looks like neo-colonialism, the return of the white man. To paraphrase George Bush, “We’re the richest country in the world because we have the best form of government –democracy- and we’re going to give it to you whether you like it or not.”The arrogance is breath-taking. Perhaps Arab countries will evolve more representative forms of government in the future. But it will come when a majority of the people want and feel the need for them.

ภาพจาก Destination Oman

Tuesday, 10 June 2008


I left Oman on September 8th 2001, just three days before the destruction of the World Trade Center. That act was committed, I believe, by desperate men who came from traditional, socially conservative societies similar to Oman. They felt that their societies and their whole way of life were under mortal threat from the forces of modernity and development, usually referred to as globalization. The main source of this they identified as the United States. They regarded Western ideas and customs as enormous dangers, like huge tidal waves threatening to engulf them and their societies. The Arabs may have willingly embraced Western weaponry, technology and gadgetry, but they are afraid of Western concepts and ideas, such as parliamentary democracy, female emancipation, pop culture, sexual liberation and our secular values. I totally condemn the actions of the 9/11 terrorists, yet at the same time, I understand the motives that drove them to commit those terrible acts.

For the Arab man in the street,globalization can seem like one-way traffic.The mass media and the internet controlled by Western corporations,impose Western cultural values on you,whether you like it or not. American culture is very much‘in your face’ – it is frequently trashy and tawdry but is imposed on you willy-nilly.You do not have to be an Arab to feel this. The Frenchman who destroyed a Mac Donald’s with a bulldozer felt exactly the same way. The local cinemas in England where I live seem to show only American action films .There is no real choice. If you fancy a night at the cinema, it‘s Bruce Willis, Sylvester Stallone or nothing. You rarely see British films. This can look like cultural imperialism, total cultural dominance - I ‘m sure Bin Laden would agree.

ภาพจาก Destination Oman