When I was a kid, Oman was a little non-entity. We on the other hand were the ones to whom the people in the region looked up to.
Now imagine how I felt when I was shown the Omani police boats patrolling the Omani waters, with their main task being to stop Iranian refugees enter Oman illegally. It was like an arrow through my heart and I cursed the ragheads and the pseudo-intellectuals of the previous generation who have reduced our people to such lows.
Oman is now a stable country in a volatile region and the people of Oman enjoy the prosperity that the stability has brought them. So much of this prosperity is because of a reformist forward looking king, but of course one must not forget the toil of the migrant workers in Oman who have helped build the country too.
As soon as you enter the airport, you see the migrant workers with worried looks on their faces, queuing for their permits to be approved.
The English language daily, Oman Times, is not really worth reading, the front page is boring and just about government officials visiting or hosting their counterparts. On the next pages however, I came across notices that I have never seen in any other newspaper. A big notice on the page 3, was a picture of a Pakistani national who had been sacked by his employers. Imagine someone getting fired from their work and then his employers announce it in the newspapers with full picture and details! Other notices were about other migrant workers, again with their pictures and full details, who had absconded their duties and left before their contract was due. The notices warned other employers of the legal implications of hiring them.
Oman has a rugged beauty about its landscape. Its mountains and even the greener parts of the country have an austere look about them. This coarse and craggy scenery however is what makes it interesting and not flat and boring like Dubai. It breaks the monotony of the repressive humid heat around in Oman at this time of the year.
The luxury hotels in Oman are on par with the ones in Dubai, even better some people think. They are as near to paradise as you can have on earth.
The people of Oman have come a long way since I was a kid. Iran on the other hand has regressed further and further every year, and it will not get any better until we break this mood of apathy and submission to the status quo.