A year and a half ago I wrote a column titled ‘Woman with an incense burner’ where I tried as delicately as possible to highlight the issues concerning female genital mutilation (FGM) in Oman, and Dhofar in particular where the practice is still very common.
If you live in Muscat and spend a considerable amount of time in shopping malls, chances are you've spotted a rather large number of women in fashionable abayas wearing the black face veil with a slit for the eyes.
Anyone who has been to Salalah in the past year or so will have noticed the humongous fortress being built on our main highway (or what we call a main highway, but what is rather a narrow old road with several dolled up roundabouts that contribute to the worst traffic jams during rush hour). Ladies and gentlemen, that towering fortress is soon to become Dhofar’s first shopping mall. Do I hear cheers? Or were those moans?
As many of you know, Dhofar is a region where working and driving is still taboo for many women. It is a region where marriages are arranged, female genital mutilation is widely practiced, polygamy is almost normal and where most women go nowhere without a chaperone and a face veil showing only the eyes.
It’s rather hard to believe another Eid is knocking at our doors. I haven’t quite recovered yet from Eid al Fitr celebrations nine weeks ago!