Skip to comments.What is happening to Saudi society?
Posted on 12/25/2001 9:34:32 PM PST by JDGreen123
Two unimaginable incidents shook Saudi society during this Eid. For those who may be unaware of them or may have been abroad, let me explain what happened.
The first occurred on the second day of Eid Al-Fitr. According to the Arabic daily, Al-Watan, some 1,000 young men gathered near Al-Nawras roundabout on Jeddahs Corniche. They were harassing women in cars; they hit the cars and smashed the windows and even prevented other cars from passing through the area. Their rage and violence seemed unstoppable as they had gone so far as to smash the rear window of a police patrol car.
The police called for back up as they found it impossible to control so large a group. The back up arrived and as they did so, the young men fled. Some people were injured as the police forces dispersed the large crowds.
After the chaos was over, about 6:00 in the morning, Maj. Gen. Saeed Al-Qahtani, director of police in the Makkah region which includes both Makkah and Jeddah arrived on the scene. He told the press that what happened was "an unusual event that happens rarely and that such things are to be expected when large numbers of young people gather." He also blamed the families for what had happened and said that they should have not been there at that hour of the morning in the first place! He denied there were any injuries.
The second incident happened in Dammam. And again our source is Al-Watan. During the Eid, a group of 15 young men cornered a limousine with 3 girls in it. They beat the driver and dragged the girls out of the car. Had it not been for some people who heard the girls crying for help, God knows how it might have ended!
These are two big stories that do not include all the little ones: young men throwing firecrackers at people and at police cars; young men wearing abayas and dancing in the street as if they were girls; young men entering family sections of restaurants and frightening those who were there. And to top it all off, a group of young men stopped a car driven by an expatriate who was with his wife. They dragged his wife out and when he tried to help her, they beat the living day lights out of him!
My first impulse after reading the reports was an outburst, "What the hell is going on in Saudi society?!"
What added more fuel to the flames of my outburst was the response of the general who is the highest police official in the region. I found his statements to the press utterly ridiculous! Instead of saying that the young men who caused these problems will be hunted down and punished, he blamed the families who were at the location instead. Well, excuse me, sir! Arent the police supposed to protect the public and uphold the law? Or is their job limited to issuing tickets to drivers who dont wear seatbealts or chatting as they cruise the city in their new Luminas?
As for the Corniche, we Saudis who know our way of life will tell you that families going out until 4 a.m. in Jeddah during Ramadan and Eid is perfectly normal. It has been happening for years. And it has been happening without incidents. As for the generals remark that the smashing of car windows was only a fluke, Im sorry sir, but you are dead wrong. Never in the past has Saudi society witnessed such an outburst of violence from young men in a public place.
Some Saudis in Riyadh were so upset by what happened that they began distributing in a mosque copies of a newspaper article,written by a Saudi, which called for an end to public events and celebrations in Eid because of the problems. Arab News has seen a copy of this article.
This is the second year in a row that young men have been the cause of trouble during Eid. Have authorities and officials done anything about it since last year? Were measures taken this year to prevent such things from happening again? No. Not a thing was done.
And the result? This year it happened again but on a much bigger scale. If a committee had been formed last year to investigate the problems and look at the reasons why they happened, perhaps this years problems might not have happened. If our smiling well-qualified sociologists had offered to study the behavior of these young men and try to discover the cause and effect instead of doing nothing for society but teaching textbooks which they have long ago memorized they might have kept these incidents from happening.
If our thinkers took the time to think about and talk about the reasons for these incidents, instead of always concentrating on insoluble incidents, things might not have happened as they did. So many "ifs" and so few solutions and ideas!
As a young Saudi myself, I wondered. What has got into our young people? Can this be the behavior of Muslim young people who have studied six Islamic textbooks from elementary through secondary school? Instead of getting emotional, I calmed myself down and tried to look at things from different angles.
Surely there is a reason for everything. And there must be a really good one why nearly a thousand young men were in a public place harassing women and smashing car windows. I am not a sociologist; neither am I a scholar or a thinker. What I am, however, is a very concerned citizen of this country. And I know our society and our people and I have failed to come up with any reason why our young people might behave in such a terrible fashion. What would have led me to harass women in public? What would have led me to smash car windows and frighten families?
After a few hours of "perhaps" and "maybe", I was able to come up with three major reasons for the shocking and unacceptable behavior.
1 Bad upbringing: There was once a time when we Saudis feared God and understood that we would be held accountable by God on the Day of Judgment for our childrens upbringing after all, they are our responsibility. Now it seems, maids are bringing up our children. How much respect do they receive? Fathers used to set an example to their children and mothers used to be a source of inspiration.
And now? Well, life has changed and the economic situation is tighter than before so the father is too bogged down making a living and earning money. As for the mother, if shes not working as well, shes too busy on the phone or at a friends or going out to a mall.
2 Repression: Any youth has hormones. Too much leisure time and having nothing to do can get them flowing at breakneck speed. In the past our grandfathers married when they were young. They also insisted that our fathers marry at an early age. Most Saudis then married at 18. Early marriages did have their merits. They taught young people how to accept responsibility and weigh up lifes demands and at the same time fulfill their sexual instinct in a moral and Islamic way.
Would a person with a wife and children shamelessly harass other women in public, drag them out of cars and cause all kinds of chaos? I dont think so. Our religious scholars continue to ask families not to demand high dowries and expensive nonessentials and hence create a better society for the future.
3 Lack of discipline: Its obvious the young men had no respect for the law. Perhaps some of that is due to their parents who failed to teach their children respect for authority. But we must say that when the law is applied to everyone including ministers, heads of departments and VIPs then perhaps we Saudis will respect the law. Would a police officer dare to give a ticket to any of the above for running a red light? Impossible!
Perhaps if our bloody wastas pulling strings did not get a guilty person out of trouble when he should be punished, then the law would be respected from our citizens. But we all know, the wasta will allow the guilty to go unpunished. What message does that send to young people?
Sundays papers tell us that 300 young were rounded up and are now being interrogated. Once the interrogation is over, their case will be transferred to the Governorate of Makkah. I am confident that the governor will give these reckless young people the punishment they deserve. But I do hope and pray that just as society waits to see them punished for what they did, the authorities will look into the reasons so that these kinds of incidents will not happen again. God knows, the last thing our society needs is for them to become a phenomenon.
It certainly provides an interesting insight.
Moderator: Please delete the extra posts.
It would appear that the Al Saud family head needs to take a firmer hand on the reins of his family. He needs to toss some of those officials out on their backside, very publically! That would gain the attention and the respect of the people and then maybe they would do the same for their children.
BINGO! They are now a Western-style police force.
Simple, the same thing that happens in EVERY "society" that rejects the Lord Jesus Christ and the salvation he offers to all who will acept Him as their personal savior.
Nope, it has nothing to do with the Lord Jesus Christ, personal saviorship, etc. etc. His presence or absense just isn't part of the equation here.
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