Oman is a Sultanate, and effectively, an autocratic monarchy. We have a supreme council, appointed by a Sultan (HM) that effectively can deny or approve anything put forward by any other body in the country, of which, only the Shura council members, the lowest body, are elected. (...Some of them, have been jailed, for---this is assumed by many Omanis who twitter it---slandering other higher-level council members).
------My father (French) is Liberal, and so has my family been, since the 19th century Reformers/Grits became the Liberals, which you can think of, kind of like the Whigs of British politics I guess? So far as genetics are concerned, we were Vikings, and had a slightly democratic past compared to other societies in the lower Middle ages? Anyways, my direct ancestors were French, and in Canada, before the British won it from Napoleon. In fact, many of them were part of the French aristocracy, thus, Royalists, up until the French revolution, when they escaped to the U.K., although my most direct ancestor, during the Napoleonic wars, ended up on the French (losing) side in Canada, after which he was pardoned by the British, and sent West...And was, so family lore would suggest, a Liberal. But who really knows though, right? The man switched sides and uniforms more times than is worth the effort to count. I'd declare him more surely, an opportunist, but perhaps the man was merely a survivor.
...Needless to say, my father voted against French independence in Canada, and English is our first language, and my grandmother-on-his side made me memorize the modern peerage of England. And nobody from even the most prejudiced parts of the family is allowed even to be against gays anymore, because Elton John was knighted.
That's the politics and religion of the French---now English---side of my family.
My step-father (who probably voted Republican but might have voted Democrat from time to time), an American, once accused me, a Canadian, of being a Royalist, as if, the Queen of the United Kingdom, holding a seldom-if-ever-at-all-used power to deny a law from the parliament of Canada and Canada's senate, could ever worry me. He seemed highly superior over it, as if, well, turning traitorous for taxes on tea way back when in one's history, were a great source of pride for him, although his family immigrated there, long after independence. Due him, I made my debut as a debutante at a cotillion hosted in Huston.
My more liberal, feminist friends and relatives back in Canada of course, laughed at me.
My teachers and professors never made their religious affiliations known to me, but they were majorly Liberal, and, only if exceedingly rich, then Conservative, for purely financial reasons like tax breaks.
----So, from that, what are my views then, upon democracy, nationalism, and patriotism itself, but utter confusion?
America (and France) are structured differently than the governments in the United Kingdom of Great Britain, Canada, and Australia, although all are labelled "democracies". All have bright points, and dark spots. This is what I love:
That constitution is why Donald Trump will probably not be able to do every racist and prejudiced act that he has promised his----majority--- supporters.
So can even the great ideals of a solid legal constitution protect nationals of a given country from the evils of the majority in a true democracy?
....I fear not, I suppose. And so I find Republic-style democracies to be lacking.
My husband told me just the other day two co-workers mentioned that "mixed Omanis were even worse than black Omanis" (i.e. Yemeni Arab+black African mixed Omanis) and I saw an Arabic comment on a popular Omani chat thread where the writer called a black man a "slave". This was YESTERDAY!!! ....Among educated people.
And I hear comments all the time about Omani girls, such as "she's belushi" or "she's zanzibari" and that's why she can do this or that but others can't....and I worry.
Does the new generation see colours here? Or is that only in the population over thirty and its dying?
My husband also can't lodge a complaint when a section at work screws up, because its head is a dude with a rival tribe name. People will assume my husband is picking a fight because of tribe, instead of asking them to fix a broken system.
Oman is majorly Ibadhi, with some Sunni, and some Shia, and each have their own manners of jurisprudence, and preconceptions about each other, and their own ideas of what a shariah-minded government should enforce on society. I know, Sunni examples are bad (Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia). Shia examples, not better (Iran). Ibadhi examples, well Oman isn't ruled by religious law terribly much, but if you look to its past, it was a pretty closed country. Wilfred Thesiger wasn't allowed to go to Jebel Akdhar, when Oman was governed by what was supposed to be Ibadhi Islam. And having a lot of Ibadhi inlaws, I feel Oman would be much as bad as Saudi Arabia, because people would still want to enforce aspects of life that are not actually governed (or should not be governed) by Islamic law.
My husband, his sister, my co-wife, have all called me racist.
Ironic, I who was raised to see people by nations, not colours or religions or financial demographics, and seeing nations, not limit people in their places to being but those nations, should be called a racist.
For surely, I only refer to other ex-patriot groups as "white", "arab", "indian" because others here use no other relatable way of identifying them. That a worker can be reduced by mere language (as used here in the GCC) from that they are--- a human being---to being merely their employed position, country of passport, or skin-tone, is not racism or prejudice on my part, I find. I speak with the language I am forced to communicate with, but it is not my native tongue.
So can I be prejudiced? Can I be racist? Is that belief itself racist, because I hold it superior to other forms of understanding?
I don't believe I am racist, but is it possible to be an expat, and not be prejudiced? To not form opinions of a different (because expat eyes often take in wider landscapes) nature than the native inhabitant of a given land or country? Can these opinions ever be held as superior, and not be reduced to racist or prejudiced forms thinking?
...Government may be the same, but my experience being as confused as it is, I do not feel that the ideas that I dance with interchangeably in my mind---monarchy or democracy---can be expressed in superior terms.
...At least not by me. I either know too well, or know too little of them, to be able to hold either long above the other.