OUTLOOK — By Bader Al Kiyumi — Identity means the set of behavioural or personal characteristics by which an individual is recognisable as a member of a group. However, some scientists define the identity as that which reflect the values and norms, beliefs and traditions and all the life details, as all this together form an identity for any nation.
Most nations have struggled to save and protect their identity from change and extinction, particularly cultural and intellectual. For instance, most of the western countries adhere on their own culture and identity. They encourage their citizens to practice their own language particularly France and Germany. They try to spread their own language around the world through provision of free courses, open institutes and provide free scholarships to study their languages.
Another example is that of Turkey whom many European countries rejected to be a full partner in the European Union because of its secular image and its rule by the Justice and Development Party.
The Internet has certainly changed our lives. Nowadays, we communicate with people only through email without actually visiting them. Children also spend a lot of time using the Internet without concern of visiting their relatives and sitting with their families. Internet has also affected our language. For example, when we want to leave the chat room, we type BBL — be back later. We use such abbreviation often and computer language is relatively new phenomenon and was spawned by the growth of the Internet.
I like Indian and Egyptian people because they love their identities. They leave their countries looking for a job but they are always proud of their culture and identity. Politely, they persuade other nations to accept their culture and traditions. From my experience, I like those two nations because they are proud of their identities.
Despite the globalisation which has spread around the world, the Omani identity and culture has not been much affected. The cultural scene still looks different although the world has become a small village. The roots of Omani identity, which has been formed through many generations, helps the Sultanate to protect its characteristics from changing.
Since his accession to the throne on 1970, His Majesty Sultan Qaboos has confirmed his decision to save and protect the Omani identity and culture. At the beginning, His Majesty called all Omanis who had migrated to return back to the Sultanate to participate in nation-building. His Majesty also issued directives to the government to preserve the Omani unique culture.
Many decisions have also been issued to save the Omani culture and identity, mainly, the establishment of the Ministry of Heritage and Culture. The year 1994 was designated the year of national heritage.
The Omani basic law stipulates that the state is the guardian and protector of the national heritage.
Nowadays, the Sultanate has around 500 ancient fortresses, citadels and other building of archeological interest, reflecting the proficiency of Omani traditions in architectural in earlier times.
The traditional folklore and arts reflects the culture and identity for any society. The Sultanate of Oman is rich with its amazing traditional folklore. Each region has its own folklore. These arts have been passed on from parents to offspring through generations.
In some regions the arts are practiced by children more than the elderly, who reflect the concern and value of saving the basic values of the society.
The Sultanate is also rich in craft heritage, which is an integral part of the country's unique cultural character. This treasure is now being preserved and sustained through training initiatives launched by the Public Authority for Crafts and Industry (PACI).
In the same context, the Omani people are also concerned about the unique national dress. They are proud of their attire which consists of the beautiful dishdasha and turban.
To sum up, the Sultanate’s geographical location helps to preserve and protect the Omani culture and identity from changes. However, the Omani national identity needs more research and scientific study to preserve and protect it from the globalisation.