Thursday, November 23, 2006

freedom? what freedom?

Here in Oman, we boast about the right to freedom of speech that is given to us by Royal Decree of which was issued by His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said - the Sultan of Oman. And in many other different Arab countries - including GCC neighbors - we also hear about how people are always given the right to say what is on their minds in order to lessen the gap between the public and their respective governments.

But how far is this statement true?

Not too long ago, there was an Omani woman who was arrested for no known reason other than having 'suggested' ways to improve the ways of living in our communities and what was officially dubbed 'her opinion' in the development process the government of His Majesty was following. She was taken in and interrogated for quite a while. And after that was done and over with she was presented with a slip asking her to sign on a note that she had violated 'national security' over her remarks, and that she should would not return to her previous action that lead to that case.

In other countries, we hear of several people for just speaking their minds. And seriously, if you don't want to develop the country don't go about saying that 'we listen to people's opinion very seriously and take it to consideration'. Because, clearly that is not the case.

Bloggers are no exception in this topic. Several fellow bloggers have been arrested for criticizing the ways of life in their respective countries. In Saudi Arabia, in Egypt, in Turkey, in Bahrain, and even in the United Arab Emirates.

Bloggers are considered the 'unofficial reporters' of the world because of the raw perception that they see through the incidents and happenings that are occuring in their countries and regions. And if that is taken away then all we'll ever have is government controlled media which is just about as truthful as a dirty toilet seat.

Don't take away our right to freedom.

You want to reason with us; make a debate about it and we'll both come to a solution. Because in the end, it's my country, too.

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Links:

- Egypt arrests another blog critic

- Saudi Arabia's bold young bloggers

10 comments:

Shaykhspeara Sha'ira said...

Extremely upsetting. Freedom of speech needs to be given looser reigns in many of our home countries. Pakistan has off and on blocked blogger for example.

Change is inspired through a change in rhetoric. And if one isn't allowed to express that rhetoric because of fear of being arrested, change will come at a much slower pace, if at all.

DG said...

Sleepless in Muscat: I respect your point of view my brother but I look at things from another angle. What I have noticed is that most "revolutionary movements" have not achieved the results they promised, instead most of the times they brought more negatives than the positives. I am against this policy of confrontation. Of course the government will react in a negative way if you criticize it.

For example, if you abuse me or portray me as evil, what do you expect in return? Whether I am evil or not is another topic. Most people do not react positively to a criticizm. This is human nature. The government are also run by human beings. This is the first point.

The second point is that instead of openly criticizing me & calling me evil or corrupt, if you change your tone & use kind words while at the same time telling me about my mistakes in a polite manner, this will most probably lead to a positive reaction from me. I will maybe even thank you for highlighting that mistake which I might have otherwise over looked. Running a country is not an easy task, many of us can hardly manage the affairs of our house, but when it comes to criticizing our leaders, we show no mercy.

Shaykhspeara Sha'ira: Why blogger was blocked in Pakistan? Were they,the opposition, using it as a platform to criticize the government just for the sake of criticizm? Or was there some other reason? Is it still blocked?

Hot Lemon& Honey said...

Im not sure if you guys read the lovely debate that took place at the so called UAE community blog.
If you didn't its too late, SD conveniently removed all the "debate" so that she "protects" her fellow bloggers.

It all started with the 7 Days issue and the "UAE community blog" showed the true colours of their version of "freedom of speech", left a bitter taste in my mouth.

Here is a link that responded to such madness.

Hot Lemon& Honey said...

sorry
http://www.amiri.info/ (cut it and paste in in the URL section)

Shaykhspeara Sha'ira said...

DG I belive it is still blocked. Well does it matter whether it was used to criticize teh gov or not? Ordinary pakistanis use it. They criticize and highlight problems.

Hot lemon n honey, I have to admit I missed that whole drama but lemme check out the link.

Rejected said...

Hello there,

I am looking for good bloggers. Journalists to be more specific.

Can anyone please recommend me a few?

Many thanks

BuJ said...

Interesting... one doesn't hear much about Oman in terms of censorship...

as for SD being a censor.. ironic given that her claim to fame was being blocked then unblocked but the eatsalat.

Jonh Neo said...

Hey Sleepless, Happy merry christmas.
see you soon, Sleepless

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