Covering note: I assure you that I am neither a Zionist zealot, termite or a virus seeking to corrode society within Oman - I intentionally avoid politics and religious issues on this blog as much as possible, but this latest missive from the Opinions Editor at ToO is really worth highlighting.
This morning I was amused to read this article from Times of Oman author, Debasish Mitra, which is aimed at fellow local blogger, Andy in Oman. Debasish's rather colourful article was in response to Andy's post here about the ToO's recent article, "World would be a better place without Israel".
Andy's post on the ToO article above was merely to state that it was not the first time that the Times of Oman had published articles which are about Israel, and in Andy's definition, anti-semitic.
For those of you not in the know, Antisemitism (also spelled anti-semitism or anti-Semitism) is prejudice, hatred of, or discrimination against Jews for reasons connected to their Jewish heritage. A person who holds such views is called an "antisemite" (definition lifted from Wikipedia).
Andy's post on the matter pointed out that there was a clear hatred of Israel from the article on the ToO written by Mr Mitra, and then linked to the one other blog post he had written way back in 2010 relating to Antisemitism at ToO, and an article written by the Undercover Dragon on the very same subject at the ToO written in 2009. The reality is that Mr Mitra was Anti-Zionist in his latest piece aimed at Andy, and in the original article, he was indeed also Anti-Zionist. Although, in the first paragraph of his article (World would be a better place without Israel) he did write, "Hypocrisy thou art is a Jew" - basically saying all Jew's are hypocrites, which could be construed as antisemitism.
So this brings me onto the point of this blog post today.... Mr Mitra's response to Andy published today! Here's the link to the post: Mr Blogger, shed your biased mindset please! In the article, the clearly fired up Debasish writes,"They have been lurking in the shadows and their plan was to corrode society in Oman from within, like termites in wood works. They are the Zionist zealots who have been living like parasites in the Sultanate running blogs that, more than anything else, seek to justify the atrocities Israel has been perpetrating —sans remorse— against the humanity in general, and Palestinians in particular. These termites, nay Zionist virus, have recently been exposed, caught red-handed in their attempts to contaminate people's minds, polluting Oman's social mosaic. Their sinister design to malign Arabs and muffle voices that expose Israeli shenanigans now lie completely stripped of all camouflages".
How's that for an opening salvo?! Gee, I wish he told us how he really feels! I am quite shocked to learn that Andy, who runs the hugely popular Andy in Oman blog, has actually been making it his top priority to "seek to justify the atrocities Israel has been perpetrating...". Apparently 2 posts in 3 years relating to the Times of Oman's articles on this subject mean that's his top priority with his blog. We will just quickly jump over the 100's of posts Andy has made about life (and the fabulous quality of it) here in Oman that have been read over 1,000,000 times and counting - that means nothing, his main objective is clear. I wonder how many tourists to Oman have used his blog in some way or other?
Now I'm not going to comment upon the situation in Israel other than that it's a sorry mess and there is clearly injustice there, I'm glad that I'm not living in that region, and I wish that there could be a resolution found to the situation, because after-all - who doesn't like peace?
I think what Andy was trying to say was that should the nations oldest English language newspaper be carrying such opinion pieces? Living in an Arab country it is obvious what most peoples opinion of Israel is going to be, and of course it's really easy to get public opinion on your side by saying people are pro-Israel (Zionists), but the reality is this, these opinion pieces incite hatred towards a religion and insults an internationally recognized state.
Which, as it happens, breeches the 1984 Press & Publications law. Amongst many other things, the law states:
1. Newspapers are not to publish anything that is politically, culturally, or sexually offensive;
2. Newspapers are not to publish anything that ... creates hatred toward ... any ethnicity or religion;
3. Newspapers are not to publish anything that ... promotes religious extremism;
4. Newspapers are not to publish anything that ... insults other states.
Furthermore, these same requirements are stipulated in Omantels (at the behest of the TRA) terms of service which all businesses must sign and adhere to. Oops.
My thoughts on the matter are, why on earth are ToO publishing articles like this? There are literally SO many things one in such a privileged position as the Opinions Editor for the Times of Oman could write about and help spread awareness for, why stir people up with such articles? I'd like to read the OP-ED's thoughts on things that I care about, like things to do WITH OMAN, that are WITHIN OMAN and that directly AFFECT OMANIS and those living here.
Perhaps next week his opinion piece will be on the rising cost of bread in Costa Rica, or perhaps the recent snow-falls in the UK, or maybe the chronic chop-stick shortage in Gabon.
Lets keep a local papers opinions local eh?