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Archive for April, 2009

Today I passed by Sablat Oman (Arabic version) and found this discussion on marriage.
It was titled: “Single because of my family, discussion”

I started reading it, and to be honest… I’m furious!

The United Nation: International Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Racial Discrimination stated on 2006:

The Committee takes note of the discrepancy between the State party’s assertion that Omani society is ethnically homogeneous, and information that the population includes various ethnic groups, including Balochi, Swahili-speaking Omanis born in Zanzibar and other regions of East Africa, Liwatiyah and Jibalis, as well as a large number of migrant workers from the Indian subcontinent, the Philippines and other Asian countries.

Omani society is not ethnically homogeneous. People don’t act as such either! If you read my posts on racial classes in Oman you will understand what I’m talking about!
At least 70% of all Omanis are racists! its a fact! Racial discrimination is widely practiced. The problem is that when foreigners visit the country, they are met with this colorful fake facade that every one in Oman is equal. No matter what your background is… Guess what!!! THEY ARE LYING!
Yes, I’m pissed…

Let me tell you about this post that pushed my buttons:

A girl was complaining that her family is disapproving many good proposals for her marriage because there is something wrong in the guy’s lineage. The usual excuses the family gives is that: “We don’t know these people”, “They are not well known”, and “Not from our status”. It doesn’t matter whether the girl desires the guy or not! what matters is their honor does not get scratched by good men!
Then she complains that a guy from her family proposed. He is not suitable for her as a husband, but the family says yes because “At least we know him” or “He is from the family”!

STUPID… thats all I have to say!

I’ll give you some responses this girl got:

The thing is, you can’t change a guy’s lineage history, but you can change his attitude and make him become a better person.

First of all, that’s stupid. You don’t toss a poor girl on a bad guy hoping she would change him. Second of all, you people have too much faith in these men! None of my male relatives changed “for the better” after marriage. They still screw prostitutes and drive drunk..etc.

Of course lineage history is important. If people intermarry without precautions, you would end up with a generation of pictures like those of black and while.

What is more racist than this! Seriously!

And what’s with this response:

Girls, you need not to force marriage. You will get married when its written for you.

My comment: A city was flooded. A boat came by a man’s house and asked him to hop on, he said “no, I’m waiting for God, He will save me”. A while later, another boat came by, “no, I’m waiting for God, He will save me”. The third came by and the same response. The man died and when he faced God he said: “You didn’t rescue me”, God replied: “What are you talking about, I sent you three boats”….

Last, I just want to say I am very proud of those girls and “small percentage of guys” that responded against these thoughts. It certainly gives me hope that things will change for the better!

Discussion in Sablat Oman: http://www.omania2.net/avb/showthread.php?t=412551

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As requested, today I will talk about the conditions of a non-Omani marrying an Omani. I know there are many people who want to marry Omanis and have endless questions about the conditions. I hope this will be a guide to help those with good intentions to be able to marry the ones they love.

First, I will state the Islamic laws that pertain this specific subject:
If you are a non-Omani and want to marry a:
Male: You have to be either Muslim, Christian, or a Jew.
If you are a non-Muslim, you need to accept the fact that your children will grow up to be Muslims. If the person you want to marry tells you otherwise, then believe me… he will change his mind after the baby is born. This does not mean the children are banned from attending any non-Muslim activities with the mother and her family. However, it depends on the parents’ agreement.
Female: You have to be a Muslim.
Here, I have seen Muslim females marry non-Muslim males. It really depends on the cultural background of the girl. If she is from a conservative family, then forget it. You have to be a Muslim. Usually, children follow their father’s religion, which is the main reason for this inflexibility for Muslim females.

Other than that, Islam does not care where you are from or what ancestry background you have. Islam, actually, encourages marriage from all different places. The other requirements for getting married in Islam are the regular: faithful, good manners, respectful, …etc. If you want to know more you can google it.
In reality, Islam is so easy when it comes to marriage from non-Arabs. Complications are usually from the laws and culture.

Second, I will state the Omani civil laws that pertain this specific subject:

1- That the parties should seek a marriage permit from the Interior Ministry and the conditions for approval are as follows:
a. There are medical or social conditions that require a marriage of a non-Omani. (Yes people, you get to marry the defective ones!)
b. The non-Omani who is seeking this permission should have the financial ability to marry and care for their spouse.
c. The Omani may not be married to an Omani female while seeking this permit, unless she is unable to meet her martial requirements. (I don’t know. I guess it means if she can’t bare children)

2- A committee is formed to review the request. The committee will consist of:
a. Two people from the Interior Ministry, in which one is the head of the committee.
b. One person from the Ministry of Social Development.
c. One person from the Omani Royal Police.
The committee then sends a report to the Interior Minister to give the proper decision.

3- The following instances are exempt from the first and second law:
First, Omanis can marry non-Omani’s after permission from the Interior Minister in the following conditions:
a. If the non-Omani is from the Gulf countries.
b. If the non-Omani is the son of an Omani female that has lived in Oman for 18 years. (Women do not pass their citizinship to their children in Oman)
c. If the Omani female who is seeking the permit is divorced or widowed with children. (this is just too much!)
Second, the Interior Ministry can issue a permit for marrying non-Omanis in the following conditions:
a. If the person seeking marriage lives in borders of the country, and wants to marry someones from the neighbouring country. (I think this applies for Yemen because it is not considered a Gulf country)
b. If the person seeking marriage is an Omani through naturalization. (If they have the citizenship, why would they need a permit!!?)

4- Consequences for not following the proper procedure:
a. A fine that is no more than 2000 Omani Rials.
b. You cannot enter your spouse in the country.
c. You will not be employed. (I don’t know if private sector is included or if it is just goverment employment)

Source: http://www.moj.gov.om/

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After writing the previous post on marriage in Oman, I wanted to share with everyone the ugly side of marriage. It is too often that a marriage is dissolved because of extended family dispute over who gets the girl/guy.

Oman has changed and developed, but the culture is harder to change when people are very attached to it. Before I start ranting about what happens, I want to let everyone know that this mostly happens in the inner cities of Oman. It is not apparent in Muscat as much unless the family has strong ties with their roots in the inner Oman.

In Oman, or the Gulf area in general, it has been a costume that a guy would marry his cousin. Whether it is first “mostly”, second, or third cousin. It is also usually the cousin from the father’s side of the family and not the mother. Some guys don’t want to marry their cousins, they either fell in love with an unrelated girl or they prefer marrying from outside the family. This would go into two different directions. Sometimes it is not a problem and other times it is. There is; however, this notion that the guy has the first say or right over marrying his cousin. If the girl or guy does not want to marry a family member then sometimes an unrelated guy who likes the girl (cousin of another) would go to the male cousin of that girl and asks him if he would have a problem if he proposes to her. Many guys would say, “I don’t care” and “go ahead”. For this to be successful though, the parents of the girl need to know that her cousin does not want her so they don’t reject the outsider because they are under the notion that their daughter will be engaged to her cousin “one day!”.

However, when a guy wants to marry some other unrelated girl and still has available female cousins “who are old enough for marriage”, problems start rising. In many cases the relatives become insulted.
They would say: “And what is wrong with our daughters?” or “Now people will think there is something wrong with our daughters that their own cousin doesn’t want any of them!”

And dispute between the two families begin!

So, what happens next? Well, if the guy insists he wants to marry the girl, he will. However, once the marriage is a done deal, family ties are compromised and no more visits, courtesies, or even casual compliments.
However, if there is a strong grandfather figure in the family, it is harder. “Especially if the grandpa is weak and sick! You’ll be damned if something terrible happens to him”. I have seen it happen too often, where the guy gives in and decides to follow his parents’ and family’s wishes. Sometimes, the father would agree to let his son marry the girl and they propose. The poor girl is so happy that she found the one she loves and is marrying him. The parents give their consent to the marriage, and then the guy’s extended family finds out and hell brakes loose. All their plans fall apart and they are both devastated. The guy is in so much pressure not to put his parents in a uncomfortable situation and in a dispute with relatives.

The last thing I want to say about this is that Oman has a lot of exciting preserved culture. However, instances like these eat away the spirits of the younger generation. They are the ones that suffer because of these unhealthy family structures and ties.

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Marriage in Oman

Today I want to talk about marriage in Oman..
Through my stay in the United States, I have been asked these questions many many times. So, I thought I should just write about it:
“Do your parents chose your husband?” No
“When you go back to Oman, will you find a husband lined up for you?” No
“When you get married, will you know how he looks like before the wedding night?” Yes .. etc.

There is a great difference between the past and the present concerning getting married in Oman. In the past, the father would marry his daughter off without her knowledge. Women, or more likely “girls”, did not object. In the present; however, it is different.

Today, most likely a guy would know the girl. He saw her somewhere and liked her. She could be his friend’s sister, a girl at work, school, neighborhood, or a family member.. “or even a cousin”. Sometimes, the guy would try to form a relationship with the girl. Yes, Girlfriend/Boyfriend.. without the physical aspect of it of course… well, most of the time.

When guys want a relationship first it is because they cannot afford to get married yet, they are too young and want to fulfill their emotional needs, or they are just players. If the girl agrees, they might end up talking for months or years. Sometimes they get married, and other times they break up. The one huge difference about being in a relationship between the Middle East and the West, is that in the Middle East you enter a relationship with the intent of getting married at the end. There is no such thing as, lets see how it works out first, or lets have fun first. I think it is because girls don’t want a relationship that does not give them security or trust from the beginning. Some guys just drop that line “I want to marry you in the future” so they can just have a relationship.

Then, when the guy is ready, he proposes to the parents. Sometimes, the girl pretends that she is shocked that a guy proposed to her. Pretend that she never saw him in her life before, and that she needs weeks to think about it and struggle to decide whether she wants him or not.

People may ask, wouldn’t it be easier to just tell the parents they “love” each other and get married? Noooo
The “L” word here is like a bomb to the father, especially. He would assume that he has no authority over his daughter and that creates a big problem towards his sensitive “ego”. So, yes! In many cases, lying and manipulating is so much easier and lets you have what you want!

In other situations, “I don’t know if it is most or some situations”, the guy finds a girl. He likes her. He sends his sister to talk to her and see whether she is open to the idea of marrying him. After that, he proposes to the father. In most situations, guys don’t like to propose first and have the family reject him because “the girl is not ready to get married” or “the girl wants to finish her studies”. The guy needs some type of confirmation from the girl before taking a risk and hurting his ego. “yes, its all about men and their sensitive ego”.

Then, the father thinks about the guy. Asks around, and yes.. “it is like checking his resume!”. If the father thinks he is suitable for his girl, then the girl will start thinking about him. She gets to struggle for a month thinking..”is he good for me”. At this time, most likely they will be talking almost every day. Whether the parents know or not. Then, once she decides she wants him, they get engaged. Engagement in the Middle East is actually a “marriage” with pending consummation status. Mostly, a guy visits the girl in her house. Sometimes in the presence of a relative, and most times they are alone. It depends if the girl has jealous older brothers or not.  In areas such as Muscat, some parents allow their daughter to go out with her fiancée. They can go to beaches, restaurants, or just drive around. Here, if the two do not get a long, they can get divorced easily because the marriage is not consummated. The girl would still be looked at as a young fertile virgin girl, and not as “divorced”.

If they all get along, they can get married and live happily ever after.. which is until one cheats or dies I guess..!

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