- Published on Tuesday, 15 March 2011 20:00
- Category: Letters From Oman
MUSCAT- Protests broke out in Oman a few weeks ago, though one would never know it by looking at local newspapers. Like most of its Gulf neighbors, the Omani press is tightly monitored by the government, reporting mostly on the King’s greetings to foreign nations and his royal decrees. Such scant local coverage, in addition to a general ignorance about the country, has resulted in limited information floating around major news networks. Through a combination of bits and bites from Internet media, official articles, and several well placed sources inside the Omani government, I hope to explain exactly what is going on in Oman. And it’s probably not what anyone expects.
Though it has been crowned the latest participant in Arab world protests, Omani popular resistance, like many other aspects of the country, takes on its own distinct flavor. In comparison to Egypt and even its Gulf neighbors, demonstrations have been relatively small, ranging in size from about 40 to 4,000 people, and nowhere near as explosive, with only eight recorded deaths in two weeks of protests. Most importantly, the protesters’ demands are also nowhere near as radical, remaining quite distant from neighboring calls for removal of heads of state.