I didn't think this would ever happened here. Not these days. And maybe it hasn't.
But... I must offer you the facts. You join the dots.
Here's the story.
A few days ago, I was told anonymously that a newspaper reporter in Oman, a Mr. Arun Solomon, had apparently been summarily arrested, questioned, and deported, along with his family, for [allegedly] writing an opinion piece for a foreign newspaper that was (so we are told - no one can now find it) somewhat critical of Oman's general media performance standards-wise; mentioning at the same time such descriptive phrases as 'the Middle Ages'.
Yeah, right, I thought. (I get this stuff all the time, and its usually false.)
I did, naturally, google Mr Solomon, as you do, and in the process read many of his totally acceptable and harmless opinion editorials here in Oman, and news reports, via the web. I could do that only thanks to his newspaper of employment for some significant duration it seemed, The Oman Tribune.
I didn't find anything a fraction unsafe or political.
yet, I asked around. Why not. Follow through.
'Yes' was the answer, 'it's true, but shhhh'.
I still didn't believe it. No way. For mouthing off in an overseas paper? Under what law? About how crap our media is? How can that be seriously considered a state secret? LMAOFOFL
But, now,... when I go back to google and do the same searches for Arun's stuff, and follow the links to the Oman Tribune, I get
'ERROR page not found'.
And if I now go to the index page of the 'Opinion' section of The Oman Tribune, surprise surprise, no mention of Mr Arun Solomon.
It was rather spooky.
Go on. You try finding Arun on the Trib's site now by doing a simple Google Search. Follow any link.
See? Zip. Nada. No one home to the name Mr. Arun Solomon at the old Oman Tribune. Like, I'm sorry, Who?
Even if the Tribune has had an attack of what one might call
Those www.bing.com and Google spiders and servers are out there surfing the web 24/7, gobbling up it seems even the uneventful web publications of The Oman Tribune.
And funnily enough, they still remember Arun Solomon, and the stuff he wrote for the Tribune!
There's more of his stuff there... you just have to ask Google or Bing for the "cached page" instead of actually going to the link. And there he still is, gainfuly employed at the Tribune as of a few days ago. Its almost like a spooky, virtual previous life/alternative Universe.
You can even still (until they read this and fix it perhaps) do a search on the Tribune's own website for "Arun Solomon" and get a zillion hits.... but try finding the words Arun or Solomon in the links you're offered... and there's nothing.
Which, you know, rather disappointed me. Because, surely we wouldn't deport someone for that? And even worse, try to erase him from history? Its soooo,... Kim Yung Il guys.
And - damn it! - I still haven't even seen what he wrote that was apparently so illegal, ... or if he even did!
And that's sort of weird.... seeing as I'm told he was, as they say, 'assisting ISS with inquiries' non-stop for a week.
Arun has, apparently, now left the country. Maybe. If he was ever here...