Sunday, June 15, 2008

Omans 3 Monkeys: See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil

OK. Enough is enough. Be warned, a Dragon rant coming… if you’re sensitive, stop now.

We had the Majlis yesterday, that hugely empowered Omani democratic institution, simply doing what they were told and parroting the view of HE The Foreign Ministry Undersecretary. And the GCC, dominated as it is by that paragon of human rights Saudi Arabia. And now good old Essa Al Zedjali, Omani intellectual supremo, wanna be furniture dealer to the Wave and the Blue City, and leader of that throbbing organ of the Establishment that is The Times of Oman.

All weighing in on the US State Dept. report naming Oman as ‘not doing enough’ on human trafficking and thus still Tier 3. And it not being fair. For those of you new to the blog, I posted on this last year, and still stand by all that was said back then, except I was wrong that a bit of window dressing would be enough to get back to Tier 2. Those State Dept officials really do have integrity.

Guys. You are really doing yourselves, His Majesty, and your country, a huge dis-service. You come across like spoilt kids who have clearly failed an exam, yet waste your time blaming everything but your own poor performance.

1/ The report is a report to the US Senate, not to you, written by US State Dept officials. The officials actually have a statutory duty to, er, tell the truth. If they don’t, it’s a US Federal offense. They are not politicians that can lie and cheat ad hoc, like Bush, Cheney and Rice et al. They have jobs and pensions that rely on not breaking the law. That’s why they tend to ignore the obvious fact that, politically, it would have been much better to pretend your workshops, and the decree and the … ummm, ummm, oh, I remember, the fantastic leaflets for illiterate workers, were actually effective. Wake up. You have done 9/10 of fcuk al. And you have done so because it suits your purposes.

2/ The report does not have an opinion on the absolute scale of the Human Trafficking problem. It does not matter that that Thailand has more prostitutes than Oman. Or that the UAE’s prostitutes are better looking and more expensive than Oman’s. Or that your murder rate is (apparently) very low by world standards. Or that the UAE deports and imprisons striking labourers more than you do. It has nothing to do with it.

3/ You may pontificate that you have a culture than respects all human rights, based on Islam, and the deep rooted Omani values and traditions, yada yada yada. But, lets face it guys. There are huge improvements that could and should be made. Accepting that its totally OK to have tens of thousands of untrained workers wearing flipflops and a cotton shirt, up 6 stories high on unsafe scaffolding, working 12 hrs a day, 7 days a week in the Omani summer, earning around $150 a month, with no right to unionise or even change employer, is a bit arrogant and exploitative. It’s not OK. You have to something about it.

4/ Your deep rooted culture extends back to the days when you were colonial masters in East Africa. You were apparently very Islamic, cultural respect for the rights of individuals, etc etc whilst at the same time you were shipping off the locals to Europe and the Americas for a quick buck. Did anyone mention slavers? Please don’t. We don’t like to talk about that part of our history.

5/ Pointing the finger back at the USA, with its Cuban ex-judicial prisons, water boarding horrors, etc etc, is not the point. We all know that. And trust me, those same bureaucrats in the State Dept would be the first to agree with you. You have to take the higher ground.

6/ Democracy, US not, etc etc. Err. Guys. Maybe stay away from this one. You aren’t a democracy, and don’t want to be one. Which is great. But sort of defeats your arguments here.

7/ That its all about Political pressure (ie Iran). Bollocks. If they were being political they would have let you move to Tier 2 watch list. Or if they wanted to be tough, suspended that Free Trade deal that’s making so much money for a select few Omani Businessmen [Methanol, anyone?]. etc etc.

8/ It’s a well known fact that many, many Omani men regularly go to Thailand to have lots of sex with prostitutes. Many of those prostitutes are underage, many of them are sex slaves. Some of them children. Are you doing anything about that? At all? No.

Guys, the bottom line is you haven’t really done anything meaningful to stop the occasional human trafficking that is in Oman, nor have you done anything to address the HUGE problems you have with the grey zone of human trafficking that are the 100s of thousands of asian and subcontinent workers [labourers, housemaids, semi-skilled workers] who are not uncommonly in Oman treated as almost subhuman, and have been for decades, and continue to be. Nor have you done anything to stop people being trafficked across to the UAE. Nor anything about your domestic sex tourists.

DO SOMETHING.

I have seen several comments reported, from HE, The Majlis, and Essa etc that:(quote)
the faulty report doesn’t tell the truth,
does not reflect the true facts
contains a number of fallacies and inaccuracies
Is inaccurate and misleading allegations
Fabricated


But no-where does any of the published vitriol state 1 fact in the report that is incorrect, nor a single allegation that is shown to be untrue. Not 1. Gee, I wonder why? My previous post quotes the report in full. And on re-reading it 10 times I fail to detect any of the above false facts. Instead this all comes across as just the tantrum of a toddler who doesn’t get its own way.

The report is harsh perhaps. Judgemental, definitely. But false and inaccurate? WHERE? And if it is so false, why, sue them! Sue the US State Dept! Why, its international liable! They have independent courts world reknowned for dealing very lucratively with such things. Lobby congress to haul those officials up before a congressional or Senate committee!!! (OK, not as tough an ordeal as the incisive questioning and in-depth investigative powers of the mighty Omani Majlis, I know, but, still...)

Here’s the first part of Essa’s Viewpoint below. The rest is missing from the online version, as half-way through cuts to something (maybe from an earlier Viewpoint I guess) on Iran. Typical.

But, this bit I found especially hilarious:
The US State Department has this habit of surprising us all with its dubious annual reports prepared by amateurs, agents and unsuccessful researchers who generalise, report and reach conclusions based on mere imagination and inaccurate information from ill-informed sources on issues covered by their reports.
Goodness. That sounds like exactly the qualities one needs to work at the Times of Oman! Careful Essa, you might be missing out on some good potential employees there! Oh, except they’re not Indians whom you can pay a minimum wage, keep their passports, stop them working anywhere else, and tell them exactly what to do because they are so afraid of getting sent back to India… I take that back.

This whole affair is one of the things that really pisses me off about this generally wonderful country. A total inability to take constructive criticism. Everything is officially perfect, all the time. No learning. No acceptance of mistakes and lessons to be learned. Nothing to be improved. Everything that is wrong someone else’s fault. Usually America, or Israel, or … anyone but ourselves. Government officials acting like they are HM, like they too are somehow totally above criticism, even when their mistakes are totally obvious.

Unfortunately, in my opinion, this attitude pervades the culture.

Exam too hard? Bad exam. Caught cheating in school? Ignore it, its OK, its not really cheatig, and I'm sure you had good reasons.
No fish? Rubbish, there’s plenty of fish.
No cement? It’s those pesky Asian blackmarketers.
Maid accusing her employer of rape or being beaten? Little lying slut, deport her.
Prostitutes in Ruwi, with an Omani sponsor and baksheesh to the authorities? Nope, don’t exist, because we haven’t found any.

Denial, denial, denial.

Grrrr. Do you think I need a holiday?

US reports imaginary, misleading
Essa bin Mohammed Al Zedjali
Sunday, June 15, 2008 12:26:30 AM Oman Time
I WAS shocked like all other Omani citizens by the fabricated US State Department report on human trafficking in the world, which included the Sultanate, for the second time in a row, as one of the countries not making enough efforts to eradicate this global menace.

The US State Department has this habit of surprising us all with its dubious annual reports prepared by amateurs, agents and unsuccessful researchers who generalise, report and reach conclusions based on mere imagination and inaccurate information from ill-informed sources on issues covered by their reports.

No doubt, everyone knows that the US claims to be a democratic country but does not practise what it preaches — real democracy. I wonder how on earth has the US assumed the role of a ‘judge on the whole world’ without being authorised to do the same? In this self-assuming role the US now levels accusations against whatever state it wants to, being, at the same time, biased in favour of other countries.

The US has been using such tactics as a tool as and when it deems necessary in order to exert political pressure on countries not upholding its interests in their respective regions. I was further astonished at the US claims of spreading democracy in the world as it so blatantly continues to ignore the basic principles of democracy by rejecting even a discussion by anyone on the crimes it commits against humanity.

(the rant continues even more in the print copy, but this electronic version stops here. Dragon)

38 comments:

  1. On, On.

    Willie D.

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  2. Cause of rant
    http://www.khaleejtimes.com/DisplayArticleNew.asp?col=§ion=middleeast&xfile=data/middleeast/2008/June/middleeast_June322.xml

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  3. Dragon

    Hats off to you my friend. you've got integrity and you're spot on.

    Nav

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  4. I read this with the same feeling that a character out of a fairy tale might have: "thank goodness - I'm not the only one who sees that the Emperor has no clothes!"

    You've got in that brilliant rant the seed of a book on contemporary Omani culture. If you don't write it, I hope someone does.

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  5. Anonymous LurkerJune 16, 2008 at 8:39 AM

    Ooooh Dragon you just made me smile! Spot on - I couldn't agree with you more.

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  6. Well done mate....Ive been in Oman for 27 years(born and brought up here) and wut u just wrote is exactly whats been happening not just here in Oman but the entire Gulf region..... Each and every government in the gulf have this attitude that they are right and everyone else is wrong.... but looks like some teachers in the UAE proved them wrong after taking out the protests in front of the UAE ministry building ( from todays news)...lol....but I feel they can act this way as long as they treat all the residents and citizens with some respect and give us some amount of freedom unlike Saudi A. Remember this ideology will never change though( that servants, labourers and whores are the scum of the country and they should be treated that way).. The way a person is brought up is how he/she will treat a fellow human being!!!

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  7. You forgot to mention: Where is all the cooking gas? Al Jabel Oil Field in Saih Roul are turning dry :p

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  8. UD

    More class blogging. Fully support your rant. Something indeed needs to be done.

    BTW did you ever get any whispers about Gonu casualties? Another state secret?

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  9. UD

    More class blogging. Fully support your rant. Something indeed needs to be done.

    BTW did you ever get any whispers about Gonu casualties? Another state secret?

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  10. Guys and Gals
    Thanks.

    And I think it is changing, and will change a lot more. I hope.

    Oh, Barbs. I've heard Gonu killed about 1500 from a good source.
    Yes, its a State secret.

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  11. UD,
    Well put, but I'm surprised no one is pushing back. I'd be interested to hear the indignant defenses. It feeds my anger sharks.

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  12. ...and are almost always so (unintentionally) amusing...

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  13. Leo,
    check out BlueChi's blog, he seems somewhat hurt and offended by my post (and all the comments).

    Ah well. I continue to be fascinated by the cultural phenomenon that appears to take all criticism as a personal or national insult. The facts of the critique are usually immaterial to the taking of offense, to the extent that well founded criticism is taken to be even more insulting.

    Giving speeding tickets much be a really tough job...

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  14. UD.. to you and your et als is just a report!!

    To the country is more than a report. for the country it's like de-credits when they want to claim something. DO not be suprised if one day that the Oman is banned from attending some humanitarian conference!! and when we go and search for the reason, they will tell us: you have a bad record of the human trafficking!!

    If the country, Oman, is absolutely doing nothing about these issues that stated by the report, then yes the report is right and we have to fully accept it. But the country is doing its best in almost everything.

    Bottom line, your post means nothing to the country aspects. Means alot for your blog though lol.

    Good day.

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  15. Foreign and local readers need to realise that everything in the media and newspapers is always De-sensitised, there may have been a remark on revaluating the situation which was translated or misinterpret as ‘whining’ from our part. Oman may have not met the criteria required in removing it from the red label known to us as Tier 3 but this does not justify that effort have been made to adjust the situation. UD did highlight issue regarding the situation in Oman is terms of Human trafficking but as mentioned by Blu some point are not valid, and I thought as much when I read the post. What control can Oman undertake to control “prostitution that happens in Thailand”? that has been happening since the beining of time (exagarration but you get the point)

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  16. Anonymous lurkerJune 18, 2008 at 9:18 AM

    It looks like blue-chi didnt like the comments in his blog, so closed it. Typical. Can't take any criticism so lets just close the comments instead.

    To be honest, its outrageous, the US State Department makes a report and then Oman doesnt like it, so starts a smear campaign and people actually buy in to the smear.

    Will someone PLEASE knock some sense into these narrow minded people? Please, any disgruntled Omani's, PLEASE, show me ONE fact, just ONE, that is not true in the report on Oman in the report in question? Just one. Please. I'd love to see what IS NOT TRUE.

    But of course, none of them do, they just say the US is the devil and that is good enough - why should they pay any attention to their report? Well the Governments upset because it affects how much foreign aid they get, and could affect their free trade agreement too. If there was not a problem here, you wouldnt see so many of us strongly dis-agreeing with the stance of the Omani Government, would you?

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  17. Leo,
    free speech to the rescue. Comments from BlueChi's thread captured and posted so we can, as he suggested, continue the debate if we want.

    Wardat,
    In the real world, trying hard and planning to do better is not an excuse. It's what you acheive that counts. Plus, the Gov could have done a lot, and chose not too.

    And yes, you can do something about Thailand. For a start, make it illegal in Oman to fly to Thailand and stick your d**k into little kids and underage sex slaves.

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  19. Tell me how many people are you looking to ban? For your information not everyone is a perv wanting to go someplace or another to as you put it 'dip their ink into other people’s inkwells'.

    A ban would not solve the problem and if your referring to such circumstances why not ban other sordid undertakings of foreigners in this country.

    I don’t want to dwell on this topic but it just seems like…
    "Pot calling the kettle black"

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  20. Wardat,
    I'm sorry, but do you not get it? Are you slow on the uptake? Its not a 'ban'. And I know that not everyone is a perv. When did I say that? *%(&*(^%* I wish those who disagree with me and want to argue would at least have the curtesy to read what I write. If you're going to put words in my mouth make them sensible ones.

    So, I'll type this next bit really slowly... The act of travelling to another country and having sex with children there, should be made illegal in this country's laws.

    It has already been made common practice in many Western countries.

    I would hope having sex with children in Oman is already illegal. I'm sure it is.

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  21. Hello Everyone,
    It is the first time for me here in this blog..
    I have some comments, not on the topic itself but the attitude of you people...
    Someone with the nickname "Anonymous lurker"have mentioned "narrow minded people" which I really find it strange to accuse someone who critisize like you do...And does he means that Omanis are Narrow Minded?? Can you please define what narrow minded means and in which scale you can use to define such a term???


    Pardon, I don't mind really when people critisize because people see something wrong and try to improve it "which is really good to improve" but honestly people,you should watch your langauge please...I can not see any respect for the people who write here or critisize and
    such examples are:
    "Are you slow on the uptake? "
    "I'll type this next bit really slowly... "
    Such an example means your are making fun of the person...I'm not here to teach you ethics, but I'm just pointing out that you should respect the people, no matter what was their critics...I guess this is what you can describe as Civilized Dialogue...

    Oman is like any country in the world, has good things and bad things but the scale to measure this things can not be by a normal talk, it needs to prove by scientific evidence...And of course like any country, Oman will try to protect her reputation ...
    Imagine the oppsite, that Oman wrote this report to the USA, what will be the reaction of the US??

    There things happens undercover that people don't see.. But in my point of view, let the US mind her own business first and slove her problems as the leading country in crimes first...I'm just amazed by the number aof crimes, not only the number but how strange are their crimes, in the leading talkshows in the US such as Operah, Dr. phil ...etc..

    And I know that any report should have studies and scintific evidence which this report from the US lacks... Until they put some real statistics and evidence, we can accept such a report..Otherwise, it should be Archived...

    And I give my apology to Allah if I ever mistaken...

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  23. Dreams-
    There are a lot of things that you could and should question the U.S.'s record on. However, crimes, while a real problem in the U.S. are not so bad there because the U.S. is a repressive place. The crimes are bad there because freedom is so high and the justice system is skewed to give people the maximum benefit of the doubt. Of course, it is often flawed, but if the justice system were more draconian and if the government was willing to risk putting away a lot of innocent people in order to make sure they got all the bad ones, there would be less crime.

    The shame of this all is that the U.S. has screwed up its reputation so greatly that when it turns the spotlight on a few cockroaches in the corner of someone's house, the residents take off their shoe and hit the U.S. rather than the cockroaches.

    With regard to how the U.S. would act were the tables turned, the U.S. is constantly being criticised by governments, individuals, etc. When warranted, we demand changes. When not, we ignore it essentially. There have been countless court cases brought against U.S. officials in courts in Europe and all over the world (Rumsfeld, Cheney, and even Bush I think). Of course, nothing will come of them, but I can only imagine the outrage in Oman if a German court heard a preliminary case against a top level Omani official regarding human rights abuses. People too often raise the flag of "what would the U.S. do" when it is shown again and again that the U.S. is as subject to criticism as anyone else.

    And as far as scientific evidence, when was the last time you picked up an Arabic paper or magazine and read a detailed expose with scientific evidence on a social or political problem?

    If you want scientific evidence, look around you. It is probably available on your own street if you ask enough questions.

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  24. Sorry, one more thought. You know how screwed up the U.S. is because we air it on ridiculous shows like Oprah, Dr. Phil... We air it because (a) it sells and (b) it actually does some good. For instance, online chat rooms gave pervs a chance to talk to and meet young girls (under 18). Now, if we hid this fact away, police officers would be trying to stop this crime, but would have a hard time due to all the other stuff they're combatting. So Dateline NBC ran a number of shows where they set up a sting operation to get the pervs in action. It sold, people gawked (I have to admit, I watched two of these) but it also made a lot of pervos think twice, three times about ever pushing the line with a girl who was near 18. So, airing your dirty laundry can help if you heed it.

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  26. Thank you Leo for your comments,
    I know that evidence you can find it anywhere, even in internet which is not a big deal..

    But I really do have a question:
    What happened to the people who did as you said "airing your dirty laundry can help if you heed it."??
    I guess everyone knows...
    So, what I'm saying this is not the way you can solve such a case in our country.. Believe me...And I guess you know it...
    Such a critic got denial because these are the policies here and I would see any country would do the same.. No would accept to be accused.. So, my point is, any country would deny such a thing not only Oman..

    And my other question is:
    Was there any improvment since the US stated that report ??(I saw it the first time today although it was writtin since 2006)

    If there are no significant improvments, it means this is not the way to solve the problems here..In my opinnion to solve something, you have to play by the roles..

    Despite all what you people say and what the report say, I can't just look on the negative side because there are other postive sides...

    And to me I don't see Oman as the worst example.. There are many countries much much worse than us but why did the US pick up Oman, I really don't know...

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  27. Ahlam,

    Firstly, Thank you for the lovely comment. Yes, I should be more polite, yes I should. But, hey, I spend enough time doing that at my day job. Its no accident that my pseudonym is Dragon and not Mr Fluffy Bunny, you know? But I did appreciate your comment, and more importantly its tone.

    Secondly, I really do wish all you .... commentators... [can you sense my teeth were gritted?] would read the blog posts. I do not have the time nor the patience for idiots. I will argue and debate with people with real points to make (like the occasional beating I get from Muscati) til the cows come home. Thats one of the reasons I blog. Usually, with a good debate, we all learn something, especially me. People who don't do their homework, or can't even be bothered to read and understand what I'm actually saying, or who have already made up their mind, can fcuk off.

    I commented on the US State Dept report - the original report - and this new one, before. My rant(and I did say it was a rant) was triggered by Essa Al Zedjali's totally moronic editorial (because in my opinion it was actually hurtful to Oman, it was so ... stupid), with his fact free, on my pedestal, parrot what I think the Government want to see in the press, how so totally offended he was by the report, a report that was so full of lies and false statements.

    Because, it isn't. Lies? None. Oman has a long history and cultural tradition of human rights? No, you don't. Using Islam as a fig leaf? How offensive. That everyone agrees Oman is a lovely place with low crime? So totally not the point. The americans would have been pissing themselves laughing at him, and us all.

    All to suck up to a Foreign Affairs Ministry UnderSec who has failed to do the simple basic things that would have enabled the officials who compile the report to lift you to tier 2. Muscato already made a list.

    Thats what made me mad. The stupidity of some of the people we have in positions of responsibility. The statements they made, arrogantly made on behalf of all Omanis, IMHO, made you look like parochial idiots. And I know you're not.

    And then I get BlueChi giving me shit and accusing me of saying things I didn't say, playing the whole 'I'm a victim' card. And the always rapier sharp Balqis accusing me and everyone here of being Oman haters. What a total Muppet.

    So, Ahlam, sorry, sometimes I get a bit pissed off.

    If I didn't love this country I wouldn't be here. And I am direct. And often wrong. But the intellectuals of Oman, the Omani ones, need to grow up and actually face a whole load of issues. Instead of just taking the money and pretending everything is perfect.

    Grrrr.

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  28. Hello Again,
    It's impossible for me to go through your whole blog (because it's huge) but I've read some of the articles here...
    And I read this article and went through all the comments before I reply..
    The reason why I'm saying that because honestly I felt discouraged at the beginning to participate in such a group ...I know you guys are used to talk to each other in this way but for me as a new person, I would really find myself not encouraged to leave any comments, if this is the way of communication here...
    And as you said in "about me" and you said it now, if someone doesn't like the way of communication here, he/she can find their way out..
    Anyways, this is your blog and no one would force you to do anything you don't like and thank you for being polite with me...

    Now, I will comment on the topic itself, I agree with you that there are people in the position of responsibility and they are not aware of such a position (And of course there are people who are aware of it too)..But tell me, do you think that these people always say whatever comes in their minds?? Don't you think that sometimes these people are controlled??

    And I have another question:
    If your teacher asks you not drink alcohol because it's not good for your health, and you saw your own teacher drinks alcohol, will you listen to him??

    That's the situation here: If the US wants to talk about human rights, are really there human rights in the US itself?? They people there have freedom of speech but do you think the US listen to them?
    If they did, believe me, the war in Iraq would stopped and the US would gather all her soldiers we didn't see yet any of their fairy tales (Uranium, etc)...

    I think there are more important issues to claim in the Arab world before the rights here in Oman.. For example:
    Where are the rights of Palestinians?? Many years have gone and Mr.USA couldn't make peace between Israel and Palestine, Did she claim for human rights there??
    I know you would say, claiming the rights in Palestine doesn't cover the fact that they should claim the rights here (which I find it humanistic that they want to help improving the quality of life) but still the US couldn't solve major problems, which many caused by the US themselves, what make us believe that the US can solve the minor ones as well (I'm talking here in the terms of the whole Arab world)??
    Even if a group of researchers, scientists, psychologists, or whatsoever did the report, since the government of the US have no potentials to change its strategy in the war in Iraq and helping Israel, no one would hear the piece and human rights words coming out from their mouth...

    And there is always something that I wish to know, based on what a country could be called a Tier 3 or Tier 2??

    And I would like to hear your personal opinion please here, if you don't mind: Do you think that the US is an ideal country so it deserves to be in Tier 1??

    Thank you

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  29. Ahlam,

    Yes, I know the language can be intimidating. Just read, and try to understand first, and, as you have done ask questions perhaps, and state your own opinions.

    But I need to re-clarify something. The report is not designed to tell Oman what to do. It is mandated by the US Congress, and is a report for them on all countries. As Anon Lurker pointed out, when a country is rated as Tier 3 (and the report lists the criteria for what that means) it allows Congress to withhold aid, and apply other economic sanctions, if they wish to do so.

    The USA itself is specifically not rated, eg the law that set up the report requirements said that the State Dept should not rate the USA. Hypocritical as that may sound, there you go.

    The Palestinians is a whole other issue. Maybe worth setting up another post for that.

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  30. The reason that the State Department doesn't rate the U.S. is because it doesn't have anything to do with domestic matters - it is a specifically foreign affairs agency.

    However, the U.S does report on its own attempts to fight trafficking. Check out:

    http://www.usdoj.gov/olp/human_trafficking.htm

    http://www.usdoj.gov/whatwedo/whatwedo_ctip.html

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  31. After Gonu I asked a very senior Omani Government official as to why the actual mortality figures were not given - as Oman DOES have many good friends who wished to help without 'payback'? His reply was "the US can tell lies so why can't we"? Sad eh?

    Anyway, the US created the WWW and I think that just maybe it will be its eventual undoing. No one likes a liar and especially such a bullying one.

    On another note I also think the US and the beastly Israeli's will attack the Revolutionary Guard in Iran - but maybe they have got it coming eh?

    Willie Dryer

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  32. Dont insult me

    You need to revise what you wrote if there is still a functing brain cell working up there.

    As mentioned before....
    your are best to be ingnored especially with your two faced twisted posts, which somehow need to justify your "improvement" to this country and your mockery of it at the same time.

    If you cannot comprehend what i am saying then do me a favor, and stop commenting since you clearly cannot understand the implecations of your ignorance

    Ahlam i thank you

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  33. Muscato,

    Well, there is a bit about what the USA is doing in the report preamble, but there is no rating per se. Which is a shame. As the Economist pointed out, it leaves them open to charges of hypocracy.

    Willie,
    Strange that even the 'official' death toll be considered a state secret. And I don't see what its got to the machinations of the US.

    Wardat,
    LOL. Then don't make stupid comments attacking me when your point isn't the one I made in the first place. If you don't like it, then don't read the blog. Simple. And -IMHO - it's you that doesn't get it. Criticism, even in a mocking tone, isn't being two-faced. Its called satire (albeit perhaps not very good satire). And I'd rather be entertaining than politically correct.

    This hyper-sensitivity to any criticism in Oman is a definite cultural theme, especially when the critique has a core of truth. Traditionally, such defensiveness is associated with a lack of self belief and self confidence. It is also expressed in the OTT reaction to people being given 'the bird' while driving for example, even when they are in the wrong.

    So, grow up or go away. We're not children. Stop acting like one.

    Ahlam didn't. He/she made their point without the implied whining about the tone and how unfair it all was.

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  34. Gonu, Tier 3, 'the bird' - its same old same old... Denial. That was the point I was trying (maybe badly) to make. Willie D.

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  35. Respect is earned not granted especially if offensive comments are made> you have a one track mind when it comes to posting, and justifying your reality. It’s reasonable for you to offend others but when the tables are turned you turn red-faced

    Somehow I prefer the intellect of a 3rd grader to your bogus spoofing.

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  37. Wardat,

    You seem to be offended by perceived impoliteness. Tough. And I fully accept people have the right to offend me. I do not believe protection from offense is a necessary or desirable contraint on freedom of speach.

    I get 'red-faced' by ignorance and sloppy logic. I fully agree respect has to be earned and not demanded. So perhaps you should earn it, instead of petulantly demanding it?

    And I've pointed out repeadedly the action you can take if you don't like the blog... ;-)

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  38. I have to jump in once again in my "Defend America" role. I don't really want to defend America, but I want to moderate statements and make people realize that, while America shoots itself in both feet every morning then wonders why it hobbles around all day, America is not the boogeyman that has caused all evils. It may be easy to think so, but blaming the U.S. for everything is the crack pipe that keeps people from looking deeper for solutions to their problems.

    With regard to the topic at hand, I've posted a lengthy comment on my blog with links that shows how the U.S. press and government admits the extent of the human trafficking problem in the U.S., while the Omani press has registered complete denials. While such denials soothe the convinced, they do nothing to moderate the views of the rest of us who aren't.

    Second, with regard to Ahlam's comments about the U.S. and the problems it has caused and Israeli/Palestinian peace... You question why the U.S. cannot get an Arab-Israeli peace, then in the same paragraph you talk about problems the U.S. has caused. I'm not sure if you meant it, but I just want to make sure that you realize that the U.S. was not occupying Palestine in 1948. As a matter of fact, by the 1960s the U.S. was left holding the bag for the entire mess made of the Middle East by Britain and France when we were not yet a world power. We've done plenty to further mess the situation up since then, but again, people often look to Europe with smiles and hugs without remembering that they had a lot to do with the mess in the first place and that if they were in the position of the U.S., they'd be screwing up too, rather than comfortably criticizing. Let's be honest. European politicians are no better than American, and their bureaucracies are even less capable, but they aren't the world superpower so they're not hated as much.

    And with regard to Mr. USA making peace in the region, I agree that it would be nice, but don't you think it would be easier if a whole bunch of people in the Arab world stopped the rhetoric about things they know they'll never get (like the destruction of Israel, the complete right of return, etc)?

    Palestine is the Arab equivalent of drunk Irish Catholic Americans' Northern Ireland. Its great to talk smack and donate money for "resistance" from a comfortable barstool (in the case of the American Irish Catholics), church, or mosque when you don't have to live with the consequences.

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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...