Saudi Gazette takes a look at youth culture in Saudi Arabia today and sadly shakes its head.
One article focuses on the growth of Emo culture among young teens. Now, this is truly something that can be blamed on Washington, DC, as Emo music got its start there in the 1980s as an offshoot of Punk music. The music spread across the US and, by the early 2000′s had developed a subculture with its own look in style and fashion and its own nihilist-lite philosophy (if you can call it that). Now, in the US, it’s seen as a vaguely amusing – or bothersome – trend taken up by angst-ridden teens intended to show their disaffection from contemporary life.
Disturbing trend appearing among teens in Kingdom
Amal Al-Sibai | Saudi Gazette
JEDDAH – Most parents agree that living in Saudi Arabia has several advantages when it comes to raising kids, however, with everything good comes a little bad.
Many families living in the West tend to move to Saudi Arabia or another Muslim country once their children grow up to provide a safe environment devoid of harm and other obscenities.
… Teenagers in the Kingdom are also not immune to adolescent woes due to advances in modern technologies, excessive access to the World Wide Web from smart phones, children have doors opened to the entire world.
School counselors from several cities throughout the Kingdom have recognized and reported to the Ministry of Education the appearance of a new trend among Saudi and expat students, and that is the emo culture adopted primarily from teenagers living in the west.
Keeping up-to-date with fashion is not a crime but over indulging in them becomes a serious problem in addition to overriding behaviors teenagers show off when imitating the culture from the West.
Usually these kids are overly emotional, sensitive, shy, withdrawn, prone to depression, and move towards the rebellious non-conforming side.
The paper takes on a more troubling trend when it editorialize against the way young Saudi males drive their cars. Likening these drivers to murderous terrorists, the editorial calls for something to be done and be done urgently. The paper claims, and I’ve no reason to disagree, that Saudi Arabia has the highest automobile fatality rate in the world.
There are plenty of YouTube videos of young Saudis taking part in drifting and other stunt driving on public roads. There’s a recent one, too, of an accident that resulted in bodies and dismembered limbs flying from a rolling car. That only the passengers and driver of that particular car were injured and/or killed is miraculous as they undertook their stunt on a crowded highway.
Tougher licensing and more intensive driving instruction – including the philosophy of safe driving – might help. But youths around the world are imbued with a sense of immortality and the belief that bad things only happen to other people. Whatever they might be taught about safety has a high likelihood of being forgotten or ignored once they’re behind the wheel.
If a young man, maybe even a boy, walks in to a busy shopping mall with a gun, and begins firing wildly, not aiming at anyone in particular, but nevertheless killing and maiming people, he would be branded a murderer, maybe also a terrorist or a madman, if indeed there is a difference. His punishment would be every bit as severe as his crimes.
However, what about the other weapons that young men and even children regularly use in public, killing and maiming indiscriminately? What about youths in cars?
In terms of traffic deaths per head of population, the roads in Saudi Arabia are the most dangerous in the world. In large measure this is because too many motorists drive their vehicles dangerously, without any consideration for other road users, not least pedestrians. And the major offenders among this deeply anti-social group of motorists, are young men.
It is considered cool for an adolescent to load a powerful automobile with his friends and then drive flat out through busy urban streets or weave his way through traffic on a multi-lane highway. The adrenalin rush for these kids, because that is what they still are in terms of their behavior and understanding, children; the adrenalin rush for these kids is clear.
But equally clear to everyone, except them, is that there is a severe risk, not only to their own lives, but to the lives of other road users.