Monday, January 17, 2011
I find the deafening silence of the Omani mainstream English media on the implications of revolution in Tunisia extremely interesting. It must, however, have been topic no.1 in the social media in the Sultanate, esp. Twitter. The Observer had just a snippet of news here, but it comes across as bare minimum reportage.
The FT had a nice analysis here.
Arab leaders around the region seem mesmerized by the rapid change in sentiment among the Tunisians. The similarities to Oman (and many other Arab states) are clear. For now, Oman is still able to boost the economy sufficiently, and the current Sultan enjoys enviable popular support. But as youth unemployment continues to rise (and it is already worryingly high), and population growth exceeds (by far) the combined rise in net oil and gas export receipts, the pressure is on. Libya is already showing signs of strain, and Eqypt must be extra worried.
The Tunisia experience is also providing lessons for the populace too: Tunisia appears to be descending into chaos quite rapidly, with looting, violence and degeneration of civil order. Not the best way to complete a transition of governance structure.
But all I've seen in the Omani on-line press is the story of some Omani students in Tunisia who can't get to the ATM and were running out of food.