Friday, June 29, 2012

New Series: “I’m super! Thanks for asking! Because everything is super when you’re … in Oman!”


In the spirit of the new guidance given to us recently from the venerable [and Government appointed] Oman Human Rights Commission, the dept. of Public Prosecutions, and compliant (as always!) with the comprehensive Omani publications law, here’s the news from Oman*!

[*not a police state, despite what the Economist says, like they know anything].

New Series: “I’m super! Thanks for asking! Because everything is super when you’re … in Oman!”
To honour the far sighted arrest, imprisonment and soon to be meted deserved punishment of those bloggers and activists, intent on causing trouble and hiding behind their abuse of free speech in this glorious country, we’ll have a series of posts about Oman in general, highlighting the positive things these people don't want you to know. These so-called Omanis (we all know if they act like this they can't be real Omanis) can't be allowed to bring the Omani Anglo-Bloggoshere into disrepute.

Starting with…

Government and The Law.

Government

Oman is governed by an excellent political system known as an http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Absolute_monarchy Absolute Monarchy, aka an Autocracy. His Majesty Sultan Qaboos issues all the laws, without the needless constraints of a written constitution or the oversight of a constitutional court. (There is a Basic Law, which effectively acts as a constitution for regulation and is just wonderful, but the Sultan can modify it if he wants to.)

This system of benign dictatorship ensures that all such laws and regulations are fully aligned with the wishes of the all people, by definition, and this is evidenced by the way all laws are greeted with delight by the citizens.


Photo: HM Sultan Qaboos. A true warrior Diplomat, handsome, debonnaire, visionary, and the original inspiration for The Most Interesting Man in the World ads by Mexican beer company Dos Equis. True story.



We all know that a fundamental foundation of the Oman system is that the authority of His Majesty The Sultan must be held inviolate. Because all Omanis agree on that absolutely, and wouldn't even think of deviating from that even in their dreams, this national unanimity is robustly protected by very strong Lese-majesty Laws. Even the hard-core looters carried signs in praise of His Majesty. (It goes to show that just because someone's a seditious rioter doesn't mean they're stupid opposed to HM.)

This blog has always held to the observation that there is a word for what Oman would be like without HM Qaboos - And that word is "Yemen". And without an Opera House or Grand Mosque at that. And fewer pastels. Even Al Qaida are apprently leaving Yemen and coming here of late, that's how bad Yemen is.

Great leaders though the ages have agreed a benign dictatorship is the best system ever devised to govern a country, as long as you have a dictator who is benign and wise, as we have had here in Oman during the more than 40 years of Blessed Renaissance. That's why we were awarded most progressed nation by the UN.

It is not a problem what so ever that there is no publicly known successor to His Majesty, no heir nor Crown Price. We can proceed secure in the knowledge that everything will be OK and that His Majesty will continue to live for many decades making all the big decisions on behalf of a grateful citizenry.

Some of these seditious critics abusing their right to free speech claim that robust institutional systems are not in place to moderate the power of a future successor to the Sultan. All Omani people are united behind His Majesty, and HM has wisely put in place a process for the succession, so it is not something people need fret about, it’ll all be OK. The tremendous talents intrinsic to the very DNA of all members of the Royal Family, under the wise guidance of the Oman Military, will ensure the eventual successor is just as infallible, honorable, visionary, dedicated and benign as Sultan Qaboos. Afterall, just look at how things were in Oman even before his Majesty. And that was exactly the same a completely different system. See?

His Majesty also appoints all the members of his Cabinet and the Ministers that administer the functions of Government. All these appointees are regularly made to appear before the democratically elected members of the Shura, where they must answer questions. There are no political parties in Oman's Shura, people vote for their representative's tribe or family personal probity and status. They might well have a degree.

Despite the fact that the Shura has few resources of its own and little expertise in the technical details of the Ministerial portfolios or activities, they ask very probing and challenging questions based on solid data and independent evidence, and ensure the Government continues to function perfectly in line with the interests of the people. In addition, the Ministers and their staff never make any mistakes anyway, which is of course why we have to have these Q and A sessions in private behind closed doors, and don’t report the proceedings in the public domain.

It's therefore agreed and self-evident that Oman's system of Government is awesome. In fact, it is so good, I know you'll agree with me that we must ensure that no-one can sully our Government's shining reputation, for example by making false allegations, or publishing slanderous rumours about it or it's Ministers.

Well, like myself, Ms Dragon and all readers of Muscat Confidential, you'll be pleased to know the law here in Oman, guided by those strong and deep Omani cultural traditions you'd have to be a traitor to disagree with, wisely ensures anything people publish which may prejudice the safety of the state is not only criminal, but vigorously pursued and those transgressors punished with jail-time!  Whew.

Law

Making detailed, complex laws that spell out exactly what is required of the citizens is an awful lot of work. So instead, we generally make up our laws on the back of a napkin from a nearby shwarma shop, often just hours before it is submitted to the process to be brought into law via a Royal Decree. And as all Royal Decrees are issued by His Majesty, they are (again, by definition) perfect. That’s how efficient our Government is. No messing around. Everyone knows what the law means anyway, because our laws are based on our strong and deep cultural values of doing exactly what you’re told by those in authority without question.

Should anyone have evidence of any problem with any Government Official, no matter how high their rank, the authorities await you with open arms and would be most appreciative of such evidence, as they don’t have time to waste trying to collect such evidence themselves when there isn’t any to be found in the first place. Instead of creating rumours on-line or on a ‘blog’ [working illegally as a journalist are you now?] or newspaper, which is quite rightly a serious criminal offense, just come to the ROP. Why risk saying or writing “anything” which “may” potentially cause damage to the respect for any Government Institution, which is also illegal? Instead, simply take the matter to the people who are tasked with enforcing the law, as they want to hear your complaint, as we point out to the Americans and the UN all the time.

Just ask a good friend of the blog, our Man from the Ministry Mti! I'm confident he'll tell you do do exactly that!

(Of course, making a false or unsupported accusation to the Police or Internal Security is a very serious matter indeed, and could lead to important people being insulted and offended by your very accusation of malfeasance or incompetence. And offending and insulting people is a crime in Oman, in fact a crime we prosecute far more often (and more successfully) than we prosecute crimes of corruption. So I’d make darned sure your evidence is water-tight before going around making wild unfounded accusations against members of His Majesty’s Government sunshine, or before you know it you’ll be helping Big Abdullah make his bed every night in Muscat’s wonderfully-respectful-of-all-human-rights penal facility for uppity people like you. )

Just a warning there, certainly not a threat or an attempt to intimidate anyone.

Please report any suspicions you may have, especially if they are suspicions or complaints about people who are creating suspicions, because we take those complaints very seriously indeed.

The Basic Law, examples

Oman guartantees all Omani people and lawful residents free speech and freedom of expression. It's in The Basic Law, issued in 1996. Here, read it: http://www.omanet.om/english/government/basiclaw/overview.asp?cat=gov&subcat=blaw. Here's a sample.

Article (29) Freedom of opinion and expression, whether spoken, written or in other forms, is guaranteed within the limits of the Law.
Article (30) Freedom of postal, telegraphic, telephonic and other forms of communication is sacrosanct and their confidentiality is guaranteed. Hence, it is not permitted to monitor or inspect them, reveal their contents, or delay or confiscate them except in circumstances defined by the Law and in accordance with the procedures laid down therein.

Article (31) Freedom of the press, printing and publication is guaranteed in accordance with the conditions and circumstances defined by the Law. It is prohibited to print or publish material that leads to public discord, violates the security of the State or abuses a person’s dignity and his rights.

Article (32) Citizens have the right of assembly within the limits of the Law.

These articles are subject to subsequent legislation, which is what makes them so Universal. You see, all Omanis have freedom of expression as a right in the Basic Law, (well, except where we make it illegal, obviously).

And we make it perfectly illegal like this http://www.main.omanobserver.om/node/67972 - just one tiny excellent example of Omani law in action from the new Publications Law:
Decree amends publication law
Mon, 10 October 2011

It is prohibited to publish anything which may prejudice the safety of the state or its internal or external security - MUSCAT —
His Majesty Sultan Qaboos has issued Royal Decree No 95/2011 amending some provisions of the Law of Publications and Publishing. Article 1 stipulates that Article 26 of the said Publications and Publishing Law shall be replaced with the following text:
“Article 26: It is prohibited to publish anything which may prejudice the safety of the state or its internal or external security or all that relates to military and security apparatuses, their bylaws and internal regulations, any documents or information or news or official secret communications, either by publication through visual, audio or print media or through the Internet or any means of the information technology unless a permission is obtained from the competent authority.
It is also prohibited to publish the wordings of the agreements and treaties concluded by the government before they are published in the official gazette. Article 2: The Decree comes into force from the day following its date of publishing in the gazette. — ONA


This is a wonderful law, and I've written enthusiastically about it before, as regular readers will know. (Although, I must confess, for absolute elegance the defamation laws are my favourite, if you must know).

I asked a friend of mine who is a real-life Senior Judge here in the Western world if he would review it, and give his expert judicial opinion on the above as a piece of legislation.

He read it very carefully, and announced it was "a world class example of fascist law", and there was nothing to review. It was so comprehensive, in his opinion, it made ANY statement on the Government's actions criminal by definition. "There is no free speech with that law, none."

Wow. Our legal minds are that good people! World Class Law!!  Go Oman!


~

So, that was our fast tour of Oman's Governance and Law. We'll add to the series as we go through the balmy days of summer. Hell, maybe we'll even get around to Blue City III...




29 comments:

  1. Brilliant !

    As an ex resident of Oman I agree completely.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Mmmmmm. Me 'tinks this was not written by (the original) UD. 'Tis that or just maybe that the bugger is/was on the bottle... or partaking of de ganja.

    Willie Dryer

    ReplyDelete
  3. Omanis,

    A bountiful country awaits...get in that dhow and set course for Christmas Island detention centre and claim political asylum.

    Oman is fcked.

    Bob Carr.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I Don't know what to say UD!

    Anyway, I will reread this post later.

    Mti

    ReplyDelete
  5. Anonymous LurkerJune 30, 2012 at 4:24 PM

    Quite the post. Willie Dryer, I, too, suspect that the dragon may have been chasing himself at the time of writing this... ;)

    ReplyDelete
  6. Twenty four hours and the website still isn't blocked. You must have good connections.

    Fred

    ReplyDelete
  7. I don't think/believe UD's writting is anti-Establishment. So why block it?

    Mti

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Mti, your are right. And that's what counts. Right? Do you agree with what people with evidence of corruption should do? And if not that, what?

      Delete
  8. I'm surprised it's still unblocked as well. Simply for mentioning the Mexican beer ad :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Bit of a cop out there Susan.


      Do you have an opinion?

      Delete
  9. Yup, hacked.

    The African Queen

    ReplyDelete
  10. I keep telling you. There is no free speech in Oman. Elton John doesn't sing about s*x, he says something about rolling like thunder under the covers. Do Omani activists have that little imagination?

    And as Mti says, why should MC be blocked?

    ReplyDelete
  11. What is the KESMA Establishment?

    24 hours to blocking......

    Fred

    ReplyDelete
  12. oluwaseun ogunjumoJuly 3, 2012 at 10:00 AM

    why should this crap be blocked? How about calling the law fascist? And by extension, the lawmaker is...? You disrespectful swine.

    ReplyDelete
  13. UD,
    I do not wish to imagine what Elton John does under the covers. It would sicken me. Frankly am homophobic and disgusted by what homosexuals do or try to do.

    Back to the Omani activists, I doubt if they have any kind of imagination. Am told they are naïve punks who are bored with their daily routine and are seeking a distraction. A silly distraction unfortunatly leads to distruction.

    UD asked Susan Bint Mubarak a good question? Does she have an opinion? Lets hear [read] it.

    • Do you agree with what people with evidence of corruption should do? And if not that, what?
    Quote UD.

    What I suggest people with evidence of corruption should do is, visit the ISS offices any time of the day or night and help the state eliminate corruption by handing over all the evidence they got. Pro bono publico. Society will be indebted to them for their good intent. Am sure they will be welcome with open arms at that office and perhaps rewarded for their effort.

    Mti

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I don't think many Omani guys agree with you on being homosexuality. They're at it like rabbits in the sand dunes and bushes there in Muscat! I know, I was at it with them :) Met some lovely guys there.

      Delete
  14. Mmmmm. The ISS? Now that's really something of a tautological reasoning. Are you trying to tell me that the guy in the big house doesn't know whats going on... one step removed from him?

    The record shows a continuous one-way traffic of 'fallen' Wasta-gangster's to the cheese-ridden Alps. Its very much the Omani way. Two bits for you. One bit for me.

    Willie Dryer

    ReplyDelete
  15. If Mti could provide a definition of corruption in Oman, and whether there are any exclusions, then I'll check my list before heading over to the ISS.
    Wouldn't want to waste a journey by getting there and discovering that what I think is corrupt actually isn't.

    Concerned resident

    ReplyDelete
  16. It's apalling. The recent strikes (illegal) saw all sorts of dealings going on in which intl companies have ultimately been told to take back the trouble-maker strikers (yes there were are few who bullied and threatened other omanis to strike - even threatening to harm their families). There are those in the Majlis Al Shura who want to get rid of expats - fine, drive them out and then watch all the stuffups occur in the Oil/Gas Industry.

    ReplyDelete
  17. "There are those in the Majlis Al Shura who want to get rid of expats" quote Anon.

    Get rid of expats? No sir it is not realistic. It is not practical. We need the expats today and for sometimes to come. Expelling expats won’t solve our problems.
    Lets begin teaching our youngster something called “work ethics” which is non existent in our society.

    Concerned resident,
    In my books corruption is dishonesty. Taking what is not yours. Taking what you are NOT entitled for. Be it in kind or service. That simple.

    Mti

    ReplyDelete
  18. Mti,
    But who decides what is not yours and whether you can take it or not? You or someone else?
    Who decides what you are entitled to ? You or someone else?

    ReplyDelete
  19. Hello Dragon, welcome back!
    Waiting anxiously to get the dirt on Blue City III...

    ReplyDelete
  20. Such a ruthless lampooning - I love it!!

    ReplyDelete
  21. MTI,

    IF homosexuality disgusts you are you disgusted by the person who runs Oman, the big leader???

    Cant have it both ways? Or can you? He might? :)

    ReplyDelete
  22. Who really cares? obviously not the leaders!!! Forget about Blue City 3 worry about the next Yemen which will be Oman in the next 2 decades!!!!

    ReplyDelete
  23. Oman is ruled by a handful of famillies that run the political and business scene and they all act for the benefit of themselves . Theres a huge gap between the rich and the poor and this will cause frictions in the future ie a reviloution

    ReplyDelete
  24. if the government is tackling corruption , why they don't tackle corruption in the royal courts and the head of state . why isnt the salary for the head of state announced to the public and why the budget of the royal court is an open budget and its more than the education and health and transport combined. have you ever wondered why isnt the omanis are well educated there isnt any options for further free tertiary education for the underpreviliged. when will the omani people wake up to the nightmare of corruptiona dn embezzlement.

    ReplyDelete

If you wish to post anonymously, please pick a nickname by selecting the Name/URL option, or at least sign off your comment with one! I will delete comments I find objectionable or needlessly inflammatory. Sorry for the word verification.... OMG the spam has gotten BAD these past 12 months... trying to avoid making one log in...