Omani Writers Get Organized

Posted on December 26, 2006

Scholars and writers in Oman have formed a writers' group called the Omani Scholars and Writers Association. That may not sound like big news to writers from the West, but in the Middle East, writers have to be very careful about organizing, because of strict laws about private organizations and censorship of ideas that are considered heretical.

Omani writers and scholars will seek their rights and more freedom, according to the chief of the newly formed Omani Scholars and Writers Association yesterday.

"We would seek support for the freedom of thinking, encourage dialogue and support the rights of young writers and scholars," Sayyid Nameer Bin Salim Al Said, Head of Omani Scholars and Writers Association (Oswa), said at the formal launch of the association under the auspices Sayyid Haitham Bin Tareq Al Said, Minister of Heritage and Culture.

The minister said that scholars and writers will now be encouraged to contribute more to the cultural renaissance of the country. Sayyid Nameer said the idea to found the association was first mooted in the 1980s and efforts continued for years until 2000 when a law organising the activity of private associations in Oman was issued.

It's a start. On another bright note, Turkey hasn't arrested any writers this week for "insulting Turkishness."

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