OPNO was happy because it was the first protest she had ever seen in Oman besides the very lazy one near her house where men sit together and eat and paint signs and drink red tea and qhawa. Very much like summer camp. OPNO IS happy that His Majesty has given Omanis the freedom to protest, which by law, they hadn't had before. But she, like MOP, is quite mystified about what the protests NOW seem to about.
This conversation is related from a car-ride rant by MOP (who is Omani and very patriotic) to OPNO:
MOP: "Omanis have become spoilt. They say they want freedom and think people from Japan, USA, UK are free. Ask any person from the West if they expect to get free tuition and a University education while having bad grades from secondary school and they'll laugh at you! That's not what freedom is. Omanis seems to want the freedom to be lazy."
OPNO: "I asked the protesters near our house about a large number of jobs I know are available and if they would take them. They didn't want them, unless the positions were Managerial ones [which they wouldn't be able to handle] or was a job with no work attached to it."
MOP: "The protestors who painted that sign on the roudabout 'We want more'?"
OPNO: "Yes. But I don't think they are educated enough to know what they want to make a change in government that would truly be beneficial to Omanis in the long term."
MOP: "I wrote on the Arabic 'Sabla' what I thought about all this and they called me an Emirati traitor." OPNO [laughs because she knows all about MOP's love for the Emirates].
MOP: "If they were saying, control the cost of living, get rid of theives in government and business and make them pay back what they stole, CLEARLY and as a priority [not just as an excuse for their protests after you dismiss their other petty and selfish demands logically], then I'd be okay with it all. But what more do they want? They do not want freedom or democracy. That would mean they would have to pay taxes. I remember when the government first asked Omanis to pay the rial for medical coverage. They balked at that and complained. Imagine paying full-fee! And for roads, and University!
And demanding a minimum wage of 700 OMR for all Omani jobs? That's crazy. For someone who can't even read you are going to pay him 700 OMR. What about the engineers, and professors? What do you pay them? 3000 OMR? It doesn't make sense. What about the person who worked very hard to be able to do their job... [MOP sighs].
[MOP and OPNO pass the protest and proceed to Rustaq where a funny bit of news is related to them].
Friend of MOP & OPNO: "You know the new law about the 140 OMR for those looking for jobs? In our village people who have never tried to find a job and have no intention of taking any job are applying for it. This old Lady who had never worked, who didn't even have a passport or ID card, went saying she had tried to find a job but couldn't. We know her so we know this is a lie, her family takes care of her and she's never wanted to work. Well, just to satisfy her, the office fingerprinted her for ID and gave her the money. Of course, when they did MANAGE to find her a job she refused it. They suggested to me [friend is a stay at home Mom] to do the same but I refused."