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Usually these kids are overly emotional, sensitive, shy, withdrawn, prone to depression, and move towards the rebellious non-conforming side.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.

Highway terrorists

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.


June:22:2012 - 07:08 | Comments & Trackbacks (10) | Permalink
10 Responses to “Disturbing Youth Trends in Saudi Arabia”
  1. 1
    News – 2012.06.22 | SUSRIS Pinged With:
    June:22:2012 - 09:26 

    [...] Disturbing Youth Trends in Saudi Arabia [...]

  2. 2
    News – 2012.06.22 | SBRIS Pinged With:
    June:22:2012 - 09:30 

    [...] Disturbing Youth Trends in Saudi Arabia [...]

  3. 3
    News – 2012.06.22 | ArabiaLink Pinged With:
    June:22:2012 - 09:32 

    [...] Disturbing Youth Trends in Saudi Arabia [...]

  4. 4
    Dakota Said:
    June:22:2012 - 11:07 

    Another candidate for the Darwin Awards, for sure. That drifting video is much talked about here, at least in English. As soon as YouTube can take down one copy, someone reposts a new one.

    In the meantime, official preoccupation with “witches” continues. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-18503550

  5. 5
    Solomon2 Said:
    June:22:2012 - 12:19 

    “Emo music got its start there in the 1980s as an offshoot of Punk music…by the early 2000?s had developed a subculture with its own look in style and fashion and its own nihilist-lite philosophy”

    I was there. In my opinion the originators of Emo felt their music was the outlet to express themselves as the music of their liberal parents didn’t cut it, and shaving heads or coloring hair wasn’t distinctive enough. Their parents had fought for civil rights, end the draft, etc. but there was nothing left for the kids to fight for, not really.

    Since their parents also had a, um, jaded attitude towards religion the kids felt a void, as their parents were neither useful career nor spiritual role models, but how is a young teen supposed to express such things in mere words? This music, which erupted spontaneously from their hearts, filled that spiritual void.

  6. 6
    ratherdashing Said:
    June:22:2012 - 20:38 

    Here’s the recent drifting video. Warning… graphic.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vEx98T6cKfw

  7. 7
    Sparky Said:
    June:22:2012 - 23:18 

    Very sad that in an oil rich country like Saudi Arabia that this is one of the few recreational outlets for the youth. This is a nightmare literally.

    It’s summer vacation and it is boring as hell for many kids. I suppose those who can afford it in government, big business etc, figure why invest in activities for youth when they can vacation outside the Kingdom where there are a variety of high quality activities for the youth to engage in.

    The scant amount of activities that are available for youth are geared towards 5-12 years olds and are profit generating mostly of low standards.

    I hope this incidence serves as nothing else than a severe warning NOT to do this activity!

  8. 8
    Sparky Said:
    June:27:2012 - 04:04 

    Teenager sentenced to beheading for joy riding and killing two people.

    http://gulfnews.com/news/gulf/saudi-arabia/joy-rider-to-be-beheaded-for-hit-and-run-incident-1.1041025

  9. 9
    Niels Christensen Said:
    June:27:2012 - 17:01 

    I think the choice of the emo culture is a good one when the social control is strong whether it be
    strong because of religious tradition or strong because of en inclusive but vague culture.
    It’s a good choice because it’s a coherent culture ( visual look, music, philosophy). But of course it will die out , but others will follow.
    The joy riding culture in fact has along tradition in the outskirts of western youth culture, we all remember Lucas American Graffiti , and the working class Hot road culture.
    ( and it’s is still going strong, as late as last week two young danish turks died died in late night drive crash – in fact the drive culture is one of the few cultures where native danish and youths with middle east background can meet) .
    And Sparky it’s not a question of recreational outlets for young people, it’s a question of a social space without grown ups and social control, yes and with both sexes. In northern europe there’s a lot of those facilities for young people of muslim background, but it’s doesn’t really stop problems. And why : after you have played snooker, playstation … for 6 nights you are missing something.

  10. 10
    Sparky Said:
    June:28:2012 - 00:32 

    Niels, based on what I’ve observed in the U.S. the teenagers who do tend to get into trouble have a lack of parental oversight and influence. I didn’t mention that but agree with that point.

    In addition, these troublesome teenagers are not engaged in any type of sports, hobbies, jobs, or any other activitiy that would keep them preoccuppied on more contructive activities. It is partly out of boredom they engage in them. Perhaps people need to start asking the Saudi youths themselves these questions and publish the results.

    There should be ways for these thrill seekers to get their thrills without putting others in danger. More structured activities for high adventure/ high risk inclined individuals with adult supervision should be made available. There may even be a business opportunity here.

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