I saw this cute little sticker when I was at a bookstore getting an Arabic language book photocopied and it got me thinking about just what it is that makes an Omani “an Omani”.
I think it really depends on who you ask. Like in EVERY nation, if you ask the people of the country itself they will say “The people of (Country X) are good and kind people”. I NEVER have been into those HUGE generalizations due to the fact that there are “good” people and “bad” people in every country (speaking in terms of human standards that is…)
When you ask non-Omanis living in Oman to describe what the Omani character is, however, you get different answers. I gave a few people I know a sheet of paper and asked them to share their thoughts on: “What are words that come to your mind to describe the typical Omani character?” and this is what others wrote:
-friendly (several times) -helpful -welcoming -good sense of humor -slow (several times) -economic with the truth -crafty -lazy -indolent -passive -sociable -unsophisticated -hospitable (several times) -helpful -lethargic -charming -reserved -sluggish -serious -conventional -polite -respectful -idle -loyal -good-humoured
No doubt, some Omanis would be upset to see some of the adjectives listed here. Is it “wrong” or “prejudiced” to have generalizations in the first place? I don’t think so. There is a part in the Bible that reads “Cretans are always liars, evil brutes, lazy gluttons. This testimony is true. Therefore, rebuke them sharply, so that they will be sound in the faith.” (Titus 1:12-13) I, therefore, do not believe it is evil in and of itself to admit that there tend to be negative national identities in EVERY nation (as we live in a fallen world). If anything, it helps to remind us that “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23) and “there is no one who understands, no one who seeks God. All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one.” (Romans 3:11-12) It is in knowing this, as individuals, that we are thereby led to the cross to more fully appreciate what was done there to make us “good” or acceptable in God’s sight.
“Behold, the nations are as a drop of a bucket, and are counted as the small dust of the balance…All nations before Him are as nothing; and they are counted to Him less than nothing, and vanity…” (Isaiah 40:15,17)