I was interested to read in yesterday's Times of Oman about the plans for today's Olympic torch relay. The media and the various ministries seem quite excited about it all, though I am slightly disappointed by the lack of enthusiasm shown by most of my friends and associates.
That's not what this post is about though. I laughed out loud when I read the following :
Oman announced yesterday that the nation is all geared up to host the most peaceful leg of the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games torch relay tomorrow. The claim came from Oman Olympic Committee vice-chairman Habib bin Abdulnabi Macki, who addressed a large press gathering at the Crowne Plaza yesterday.
“Our security is tight and anyone trying to put a hurdle will be severely dealt with,” said Habib Macki. “The Royal Oman Police is ready to handle any such situations.”
Did you catch the pun? Hurdle! get it? Hurdle?
After I stopped laughing, I spent another twenty or thirty minutes marveling at his poor choice of words regarding how protesters will be treated. I can't believe that nobody prepped him for the question, or if they did that that was the quote he was supposed to give. That is textbook bad Public and Press Relations.
With the eyes of the world on us today, the OOC would have been well advised to trot out a someone more seasoned to deal with the media, or to have prepared statements that didn't quite present the plan for crowd control so bluntly.
That said, I think it's a real mark of distinction that Oman was chosen to host a leg of the relay. For those of you who want to attend, the relay starts off from the Dhow at the Al Bustan R/A at about 17:00 and continue along the coast through old muttrah, and up through the darsait heights area, then Past the refinery I think and down into Qurum. The relay is scheduled to finish amongst great fanfare and fireworks at around 20:30 tonight, in the floating theatre in Qurum park.
Be there or be square Hip Cats.