July 22, 2013

Split Vote for Oman

by Pam
I’ve been on the fence about going with Doug to the Laser Master Worlds in Oman in November. My bucket list has a lot of places I’d like to visit. Oman has not been one of them. In fact, when they announced the location I had to look it up and do some research and we even had a guest post about all the things to do and see in Oman. It sounded interesting. I was intrigued and leaning towards going.

Then we heard about MERS (Middle East respiratory syndrome) which is causing concern with a 50% mortality rate and I was back on the fence. Then Doug pointed out the lead story on CNN this weekend about a Norwegian woman who was jailed in Dubai for reporting a rape. It’s the most backwards story I’ve ever read and just to make sure tourists know it isn’t an isolated incident, they say it also happened to two British women and an Australian woman. And Dubai is supposed to be one of the more progressive Middle Eastern countries!  I’m just not feeling the love for that part of the world.

Of course, I would have been traveling with Doug which isn’t comforting because he has a really odd sense of humor which some people don’t get. When I ask him to hold my purse so I can look at something in a clothes store, he gladly takes it and when I take it back, he feigns shock and loudly tells anyone nearby ‘that woman just stole my purse.’ Now how’s something like that going to go over in Oman? Heck, I don’t even have the same last name as Doug. We just didn’t bother with rings, name changes, or merging anything. I’d have a hard time proving I’m not a single woman and I don’t even know if they’d let us stay in the same hotel room.

Doug thinks it’s all quite backwards and pointed out a comment on the news post that said: No Arab country that has these types of laws should ever get world events. That means no Expo for Dubai, no world soccer, no Olympics. Nothing. They want to stay this backwards, they can forgo modern world recognition.

So, I remind him that in the United States former slaves were given the right to vote 50 years before women were. In Texas, in my lifetime, “women were considered affirmatively retarded” and a married women was classified with “infants, idiots and felons” and “could not buy or sell their own property, sign contracts, make decisions for their children, control their own paychecks, or open their own bank accounts, until Louise Raggio changed all that in 1967.

So, the Middle East isn’t really all that backwards, but I live in the US and I don’t have a need to experience being anything but treated as an equal. I definitely won’t miss the Master Worlds in France in 2014 and Canada in 2015.

12 comments:

  1. Pam, I don't consider that past laws are any real argument, as lots of countries had stupid laws by modern standards and have moved on, ie. Great Britain, Australia, South Africa etc. I'm certainly no big name in sailing and my entry would not be missed. However, I have decided not to go to Oman for similar reasons, although I must point out that Dubai is not Oman. Whether Oman has similar discriminatory laws to the UAE, I don't know, but having heard and read about those much publicised occurrences involving women in Dubai, it doesn't exactly instil confidence, although apparently women are somewhat more emancipated in Oman than in other Arab countries. Sharia law, which is the divine law of Islam, is still the bedrock foundation for all Omani law, so I doubt there can be any more protection for women in Oman than in other Islamic countries. I can only protest in my small way by not going to Oman.

    The handbag story was hilarious!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. From everything I've read about Oman, it is quite safe and women are respected and protected. I have a friend who has traveled extensively in the Middle East and he will be so disappointed in me for not seizing this opportunity. For me it comes down to a gut feeling and it says stay home. Besides, someone needs to be in the US to call the embassy when Doug gets himself arrested for what I'm sure will be an entertaining story.

      Delete
  2. This cruiser weight will only travel to venues with good breeze, good wine and/or good bikinis. Oman offered none of these.

    Ps thankfully the Norwegian woman has been pardoned.

    ReplyDelete
  3. As a resident of Abu Dhabi for the last 4 years, I would urge you to go (and visit us afterward!). Yes, there have been some well publicised stories about weird things in the region but they are certainly not the norm and very few people here worry about such things.

    Weird things happen lots of places. Personally I would worry more about a nutcase with an automatic assault rifle in an elementary school than arbitrary arrest in this region.

    I have only been to Oman as a tourist but I was very impressed by the friendliness of the people and, not having petroleum, it is not at all a country with a surreal abundance of money. Oman, to its credit, has at least publicly pushed women's involvement in sailing with a women's team of Omanis. It is a long way from the the extremes of Saudi Arabia.

    And besides, to call the embassy for Doug you will have 9 hours time difference in Dallas.

    But don't worry, if you do not come, I will be there and depending on how entertaining Doug's story is, I will either completely disavow any knowledge of him or take him some snacks in jail.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You do make me wonder if I'm making a mistake in not going. I have a little more time to decide though. Good to know you'll be there if Doug gets into trouble. I never know what he will do or say but it will probably be memorable.

      Delete
  4. Did anyone else receive an email from Oman Tourism after posting here?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We didn't. What did the email say?

      Delete
  5. Must have been a coincidence, but how weird?! I'll shoot you the email.

    ReplyDelete
  6. What typical American jingoism. I choose not to go to America in case I got shot by one of your newly-freed slaves.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Our newly freed slaves are not to be feared so much as our youth shooting up schools or playing their new "knock out" game. So many Americans are carrying weapons these days that you just never know what might provoke a shooting. America may or may not be as safe as Oman but it's a culture I'm more familiar with and can navigate more safely. In the end it was a business decision more than anything ... I simply couldn't have been away from work for that long at this time of year. Doug has been enjoying the trip so far.

      Delete
  7. Good to hear ;-) You would be most welcome here if you were to decide to come another time.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. thank you. From what I hear, Oman has done a fantastic job of making the sailors and their guests feel welcome.

      Delete

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...