Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Twittering from Germany can Apparently get Friends and Relations in the Sultanate "detained" without cause

According to Oman Collective Intellgience [ http://www.oman-collective-intelligence.com/2015/01/social-media-growing-potential-in-oman.html ]  twitter "has seen a tremendous increase in its number of active users, which reached 38,000 in 2013 from 14,000 in 2012. Talking in terms of total number of accounts on the site, the figure reached 300,000 in 2013 from around 200,000 in the year 2012. Twitter has become a quick and convenient tool to view and spread news."

Lately, an obsession for many Omanis I know is quietly checking out the twitter account of the currently self-exiled owner of the Barka-based tile and ceramics supplier, Tajer Ceramica. I won't post the link because mostly the man has stopped posting in English due to not wishing to reflect badly on Oman to the international community, but if you haven't heard about his case already, he has written about many high flying officials, how they took expensive stock from his stores without paying [to charitably hypocritically build Mosques and the like], in return for "friendship" although he insisted they pay instead. He has proof for many of his allegations, excepting of course, about what happened to him while he was jailed "for speaking out".

This type of corruption is rampant on a larger scale everywhere in Oman and I can confirm it from friends and relatives working in many sections of Oman's government myself [examples: housing Ministry, Ministry of Education, Baladiyia, Ministry of Fishing, Minstry of Economics and Commerce, the Tourism Ministry, the Diwaan, ect...] (with no one brave enough to be harassed for it though of course).

If you are jailed in cases like the owner of Tajer Ceramica, often you are forced to sign a gag order before release. Being Mr. Tajer Ceramica is in Germany, he doesn't care of course, but writing as he has, harassment of his family and friends in Oman has not stopped. For example, a female friend of the family, and his mother, were arrested/detained without cause... which is done on purpose, considering some of the more conservative culture will think... "that woman has been touched by men---the police" and thus one can see why this is usually an effective initimidation tactic. It makes people want to distance themselves from the family in order to "save or protect themselves".

Jail is enough to scare many who have confided in myself (and since I am applying for citizenship---and I know the Ministry of Interior is corrupt since I was personally told to buy someone's wife a new Galaxy phone in order to get marriage permission----I am not all that brave either right?).

My "friends" all know someone who was arrested.

For example, some teachers who were jailed and beaten for protesting, the Islamic Sheikhs who were forced to sign papers saying they were planning to take over the government in order to get out of jail when arrested for basically running Qu'ran schools that taught citizens to question government [an aspect of Ibadhi Islam since Ibadhi Islam the notion of what makes a Caliph is decided by the Muslims they rule], and simple Omani guys who protested the Opera house {while I disagree with them a little, I don't think they deserve to have been arrested and sent to a "secret" prison}.... all of these people were forced to sign gag orders and seem afraid to discuss even with their closest friends what happened to them in prison. They just say "think before you protest" when asked about what happened to them.

That to me, is more scary than details.

His Majesty Sultan Qaboos cannot support this. I know he is busy, and the situation is complicated, but accountability and transparency has to be added in government AND law for true development of the country.

Anyways, I don't really know if I should write more... This really isn't anything new, but twittering about it, I guess is.


Sythe said...

Interesting... I admire your bravery for even mentioning this on your blog - even while you're applying for citizenship!

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