Last week I had the privilege of being invited to Bahrain to participate in an intensive all-female programme focused on the portrayal of women in Arab media. As someone who is a tad bit passionate about women’s issues, I snatched the opportunity and flew to Bahrain only to discover fellow Muscat Daily columnist Nick Smith sitting a couple of seats away from me on the flight. Fortunately for you (and him!), this column isn’t about Nick, but about Bahrain from a Dhofari young woman’s point of view.
As we struggle to recover from nationwide jetlag (my sister’s words, not mine) caused by the new weekend, many of us in the south are still scratching our heads trying to figure out how to plan our days from now on.
Earlier this week during a brief jaunt to Muscat, I picked up some trousseau items for a young friend of mine who will be marrying her first cousin in a few weeks. Naturally the marriage is arranged, as is the case with most marriages at this end of the country.
Most of March for me was spent at a snowy human rights retreat. The experience was so intense and stimulating that I had no time whatsoever to keep up with what was going on in Oman. I usually monitor Twitter, Facebook, local news forums, and all Google alerts concerning Oman and Dhofar in particular. Upon my return to hot and humid Salalah a few days ago, I asked everyone ‘So what’s the news?’ The recurring answer was ‘McDonald’s opened’.
February 25 marked the second anniversary of the eruption of Arab Spring protests in Dhofar, the southern region of Oman. Protests in Muscat, Sohar, and other areas of Oman started earlier, and by the end of the first quarter of 2011 almost every major town in Oman witnessed some form of demonstration or peaceful sit-in.