Saturday, November 19, 2011

National Day: Part 1


November 18, 2011 marked the 41st National Day (and Sultan Qaboos' birthday)-- or the 41st anniversary of Qaboos taking the country from his father in a bloodless coup. Since then (minus a small incident of Dhofari rebels trying to break away from the country in the early 1970's), Qaboos has led the country. He has pretty wholly transformed Oman from it's previous state of poverty, illiteracy, and little infrastructure to the highly developed, educated place it is today. The National Day is a way for Omanis to celebrate their vast accomplishments over the past 41 years. From what he started with when he took power, I'd say Qaboos has done an absolutely superb job of developing the country. 

Yesterday, the National Day was celebrated by another milestone-- for the first time in history, the military ceremony performed for the Sultan was led and performed entirely by women. This is another massive stride for the country and region. I think it's wonderful that Oman is leading the way in giving it's women the equal rights they deserve. Not only are women here allowed many rights that their peers in neighboring countries are denied, but they are even given a huge sign of respect by being allowed and welcomed to perform for the Sultan. Personally, I think that this is a huge stride for women's rights in the region, and I applaud the decision-makers. Likewise, I applaud the women who participated in this ceremony for defying stereotypes and helping to lead their country forwards. The fact that Omani women are so widely accepted in this country gives me a lot more respect for the government leaders, because it shows their willingness to be truly progressive although it would be very easy for them to restrict rights. 

Kudos to you, Oman and Sultan Qaboos. 

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