Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Saudi Boys Allowed to Run Amok



I was shocked when I read an article in Arab News about high school boys here in Saudi Arabia who pull "pranks" every year when school is let out for the summer.  What really floored me was that the students who were interviewed apparently had no qualms about their full names being published in the newspaper in an article which confirms their participation in destructive and illegal activities.  It was as if they felt like their disgusting behavior was normal and that they were proud of coming up with a variety of ways to damage or ruin teachers' vehicles or to destroy school textbooks. 

Here are some excerpts from the article:

“My friends and I usually shred our school books into small pieces to celebrate the ending of the school year and finishing a certain subject.  This is a way to express the end of having to lock ourselves in our rooms to study and stress over school subjects.”
Mohammed Omar, a high school student at a private school in Jeddah

“We pour sugar in the car’s tank because this would cause the teacher to change the whole engine of the car or even damage its whole operating system.  We sometimes throw eggs on the car so it would damage the paint and make a hole on it. Another way is to pour vinegar on the glass and wait for 10 minutes and then throw rocks on it and it would completely break.”
Tariq Jihad, a high school student at a private school in Jeddah

And a quote from a public school supervisor had such a defeatist attitude that this behavior was apparently expected and impossible to stop, I just couldn't believe what I was reading:

“We expect the chaos and we prepare for it around this time of the year because we have been dealing with it for a really long time now and we know this will never change.  We tried telling the students many times that the only people who suffer are the cleaners because they have to pick up the pieces of paper that are scattered around the school yard.”
Khalid Al-Jehani, public school supervisor

Like everywhere, teachers in Saudi Arabia are undervalued and overworked. Knowing that some teachers are also being disrespected and abused by their students makes matters much worse. What these juvenile delinquents are being allowed to do should not be expected or tolerated as normal behavior that cannot be prevented.  The school system and the police force are enabling and condoning these thugs to continue to commit these crimes year after year without consequences.   WTF? 

I want to know what the parents of these hoodlums think about their sons' actions and confessions to these crimes. This is not typical "boys will be boys" behavior.  Where is the discipline? Why aren't the parents of these children/thugs teaching them to respect teachers and their property?

I find this situation to be deeply disturbing.  If Saudi Arabia doesn't wake up and smell the coffee, this new generation is headed for real trouble.

To read the Arab News article in its entirety, CLICK HERE. 

32 comments:

  1. Hi Susie. I have to admit it's not that big a surprise to hear this. The kind of behavior that Saudi men (sorry, not all, I know) are notorious for, has to start somewhere.
    It's pretty obvious that many boys are brought up to not respect anyone, except perhaps their (male) relatives.
    I have met some super nice Saudis, and I'm sure that actual Saudi traditions don't promote this culture of disrespect, and obviously Islam doesn't teach it either, but something has gone very wrong with that country.
    It's not just that women are infantilized and without basic human rights, or that people with "weak" passports are completely at the mercy of their employers, that "morals police" harass women non-stop, that Saudi boys and men are known, the world over, for their harassment of women (yes they are.) It's that no one ever seems to answer for any of this! It's all seen as OK behavior. Somehow, if you are a male Saudi, you can do whatever you want, to whomever you want, and it doesn't matter a damn. You're entitled.
    Why is this?
    It's the ugliness and bad behavior you find all over the world, blown up to huge proportions, and even encouraged, by the fact that it's tolerated!
    There is no reason Saudia needs to be like this. Islam doesn't tolerate it. Arab culture doesn't condone it. It's only some people using their status and power (within KSA) acting as thoughtlessly and unkindly, disrespectfully, and selfishly, as they can, and there are no consequences for them.
    The result of this is the absolutely terrible reputation Saudis have world-wide. Even here in Salalah (where I have met those super nice Saudis visiting for Khareef,) the Saudi reputation precedes them.
    Perhaps this is a snowball effect. There is a ton of Saudi bashing, and much of it perfectly understandable, because one group of these boys destroying their teachers cars will get a lot more attention than a polite family going on holiday.
    I think that maybe some Saudis, understandably hurt at their country's terrible reputation, perhaps leap to its defense too quickly. By pushing the criticism under the rug, it enables the bad behavior to continue and even get worse.
    I certainly hope that Saudi society begins to open soon.
    Saudi Arabia needs some good influences if it isn't to just implode at some point. It doesn't have to be this way. There is no excuse, and it serves no one to pretend otherwise.
    Saudi people are the ones who lose. Those normal, polite and respectful people will always have this huge reputation sitting like a boulder over their heads, while the ones who think it's ok to harass women, and harm workers, etc, will find themselves in another world one day, and they won't be prepared for it.

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    1. Hi Trygve - It is sad that the actions of a few "bad apples" oftentimes dictate the reputation of a group as a whole. I know that my nephews here in KSA are very respectful because they were brought up by their parents to be respectful, and they would never ever act in the ways described in the article. Thanks for your thoughtful comment.

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  2. I'll bet if girls were pulling such pranks there would be a lot more hubbub and concern. This is deplorable.

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    1. Hi Gaelyn - Deplorable is a good word for it.

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  3. That is shameful. Perhaps when these boys have cars of their own, someone will return the favor and then they will have to deal with the damage themselves.

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    1. Hi Judy - I do believe in kharma - what goes around comes around!

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  4. Unbelievable these young men feel no shame in having their names published next to their crimes.

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    1. Hi Amy - That's what really got me. They just have no fear of getting into trouble because they know no action will be taken against them. It's disgusting.

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  5. I think it's an Arab thing not just Saudi. Yes there are respectful Arabs but the tribal mentality and the believe that they are superior than others are too obvious to ignore. Even there are hierarchies within the different Arabs depending on their nationalities. Again it is not that these are absents in other culture either and not that it's justified but to claim to have Islam that treat everyone equally with all these supposedly superior values has not change the culture sadly.

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    1. Yes, the sense of entitlement and feelings of superiority are so contrary to the religion ... I don't get it.

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  6. It's the world we live in; not just Saudi Arabia. People lack a moral compass, and they don't teach their kids right from wrong. Maybe these kids new right from wrong, but didn't care anyway. It's too bad.

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    1. knew.. my typo I hate it when that happens.

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    2. Hi Alexa - They obviously know what they are doing is damaging the property of their teachers, and they seem proud of it. It's rather mind-boggling.

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    3. You are right about that. They did know that they were doing wrong. I think I was just mulling it over in my brain, trying to figure out what they were thinking. It's too bad that these things happen. I feel bad for the people who have to deal with the damage.

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  7. This type of behavior is absolutely disgusting. I wonder how their parents reacted to this?!? These boys need to have some kind of accountability for their actions, or else they will never learn right from wrong.

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    1. Hi Felicia - I would love to know what the parents have to say about their sons in this article. If I were the reporter, I would have tried to get quotes from the parents for the article.

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  8. If these were my sons, this would have them grounded , a lecture and some hard core back breaking work to replace and pay for the damage.

    ripping paper and strewing them about would make me provide my sons with a broom and have them sweep the yard, carefully, completely an drespectfully..

    are these orphans or do they have parents. the majority of saudi's ( not all) that i know off think their duty as parents is done -- as soon as -- for the dad, the contribution of sperm.
    -- for the mom - as soon as she gives birth..

    respect, civility, decency, manners seems to not be part of their upbringing. hence this ape like behavior.

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    1. I agree that these boys need to be punished somehow, if not arrested, for their behavior. They are students in international schools, which are private institutions and cost money to send their kids there. Maybe this is tolerated because the school doesn't want to lose the tuition? If this is the case, as a teacher in one of these schools, I would look for employment elsewhere.

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  9. Thanks for the post Susie.

    Unfortunately male Saudi students come to Canada and the USA and leave their mess: unpaid bills, trashed apartments/rooms, even impregnated girlfriends.

    What a shame.

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    1. Hi Jennie - Wreaking havoc wherever they go... it IS a shame.

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  10. Good post! I remember those stories in the Arab News every year, it seems nothing really changes. It's the same in Qatar but I think the sense of entitlement is even worse, the behaviour even more aggressive and abusive. Of course, with exceptions.

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    1. I guess this type of thing is more common than I ever imagined. It's wrong though and should be discouraged and stopped.

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  11. End-of-year pranks by the graduating class were a tradition at my school here in the U.S. Because the seniors graduate a week or so before the school year ends for the rest of the students, it's a way to show off or do something funny. It was usually silly stuff like T.P.ing outside, or even inside if they could sneak in somehow. My junior year, the prank went too far -- they spray-painted all over the outside of the school and the parking lot, and glued the locks shut on all of the doors to the building. My friend's older sister was one of the few the police punished. What a great way to start your new life as an adult...with a criminal record. *sigh*

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    1. That record will stay with them forever. I guess it's one way to learn the ramifications of our actions...

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  12. The more thins change...It's the same all over the defective male sperm must use whatever it can to feel important.

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  13. When I lived in Saudi my car was getting vandalised. First a scratch, then a dent, then the windscreen. Turned out it was a five-year-old Egyptian boy, encouraged by a group of older boys. Once I'd made a fuss and the father of the boy had paid for a new windscreen, nothing more happened. However, this after exams uncivilised and unpunished behaviour was notorious.

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    1. I'm glad the father paid for a new windshield for you. It's disparaging that older boys are teaching and encouraging this behavior in an innocent 5-year-old.

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  14. Unfortunately,this end of year "tradition" is not uncommon here in Malaysia either. Teachers' cars would get pelted with eggs and flour, books thrown etc. I guess its a teenage thing? Irresponsible ones I mean.

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  15. Judging by this news article, the misdemeanor of those Saudi boys seems rather harmless. http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/story/2012-06-13/high-school-pranks-crackdown/55623962/1

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  16. Hi Umm Gamar - Ruining the engine of a teacher's car wouldn't be harmless or be considered a misdemeanor. And the big difference in the link to the article you posted and the story in Arab News is that in your article, officials are taking action against the pranksters with many being arrested or fined. Whereas here in Saudi Arabia, nothing is being done to stop them.

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  17. Hi Susie, yes ruining your teacher's car is far from harmless.i guess what i meant was these 'pranks' aren't exclusive to Saudi boys. in fact,judging by the number of videos on Youtube,it has become a trend for youngsters,unfortunately.

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