Blood on Asphalt

Reuters runs this story on the Saudi fascination with the video-sharing website YouTube. Now this fascination is not limited to Saudis as YouTube has become an international phenomenon in short time, but as with almost everything else, outsiders seem to think that our country is a piece from outer space and not a part of this world, and anything we do is worthy of attention and newspapers headlines.

The story touches on the dangerous car stunts by Saudi youth that can be found on the site, and quotes a university student saying that teenagers immerse themselves in these acts because they have nothing better to do. This is an excuse I hear so often when people try to explain this stupidity: “they are bored,” I’m told.

I admit it: this country lacks proper entertainment outlets for the youth. There are no cinema theaters, extracurricular activities in schools and universities have little to offer, and sports clubs are poorly managed and can’t cope with the large numbers of youth in this fast growing nation. However, and no matter how many excuses some can come up with to explain why young men here are into cars ‘drifting’, I still think that there is no justification to put the lives of others in danger.

Bored? Go read a book, rent a movie, go swimming, or even go wank yourself for all I care, but please oh please don’t get behind the wheel to jeopardize our lives. Driving in these roads is dangerous enough, and we already have seen much blood spilt on the asphalt, we don’t need idiots killing themselves and others just because they were trying to have some fun.

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25 thoughts on “Blood on Asphalt

  1. Well that’s an interesting topic Ahmed. Dangerous driving is becoming more like a habit for saudi youth especially in the absence of rules and regulation that may end this. Guess the government is busy enough with fighting terrorists, but i strongly recommend that the government must fight those road terrorists as well and try to offer some proper entertainment to them at the same time cuz there’s a relation! However, KSA is lacking lots of things when it comes to entertainment. Take me for example , I CAN’T STAY IN KSA FOR TWO WEEKS IN A ROW WITHOUT TRAVELLING TO SOME NEIGHBORING COUNTRIES TO MEET MY COLLEGE FRIENDS AND TO ENJOY ALL THE THINGS THAT I MISS BACK HOME. I really hate the life style here, the only three things saudi youth do over here are ; smoking sheesha in those disgusting places , coffee shops , balot ! Guess i moved away from the topic , so sorry , but i don’t think that those young people will stop doing this unless the government intervenes and imposes some strong rules.

  2. I saw that clip on YouTube months ago.. and I was really upset for a while because that was the first clip you get when you search ” Saudi Arabia ” ..I agree with you Ahmed.. I dont think its an excuse to be reckless just because you have nothing to do.. or your bored.. if you really want to, you will find something to do.. but I think that comes also from the culture.. physical activity, reading or finding some sort of hobby isn’t something that is very promoted in Saudi lifestyle there are the exceptions of-course.. but youth here dont help them selves either.. they are raised and the examples in-front of them are.. you go to work/ or school come back eat.. sleep.. then wake up watch TV and when your a little older and start driving in an illegal age ( I dont even know where are the fathers that dont know about their cars or may be they know and they dont care that is in the hands of these children) go to malls and on the street and Harrase girls and women or try to cut off and parade with an idiotic driving skill as much as possible.. I think some people think the worse they are the more manly they are..
    But I have to be fair here and say there are also many examples of Saudi Youth that are admirable and their family and culture should be proud of them because they are setting great examples of the mind and heart of Saudi.. but I WISH from the bottom of my heart that there would much and much more of them and see in the future less and less of the useless and aimless youth in KSA..
    Ahmed.. you are one of those examples and I wish you the best and hopefully we will see more of your quality of youth in KSA..

  3. If that’s the worse that YouTubers see coming out of the KSA, then you really ought to be thankful. Imagine what else could be filmed and uploaded for the world to see.

    Frankly, I believe (similar to speech) that MORE video is the counter to bad video.

  4. Asalam Alaikum,

    By shere coincidence, I located your website/blog and I have to say I am quite surprised and delighted by your comments.

    Having actually spent my youth in Saudia, I was more often than not confronted by a seemingly conformist attitude of the general population.

    Reading your articles and the subsequent comments, definitely makes me think that stereotypes I might have (unconsciously) cultivated to be obselete and outdated.

    Admittedly the system of education was very harmful for my advancement. Yet it is encouraging to see that there are people, like yourself, who to continue to strive for knowledge beyond, or even in spite of, the arduous checks and controls imposed upon you.

    I only wish you and everyone in the Kingdom safety, peace and that you may find a way to live, thrive and prosper in this insidious world.

    Maybe the rebellious Arab spirit is more than just a myth and I am not a freak alone, as Westerners like to point out?

    Allah maakum wa kul 3am wa antum bekher.

  5. You may criticize these guys’ personal acting – and yes, its damn stupid.

    But: You cannot deny that there are reasons why they do it. Not personal reasons, but common ones.

    In Germany, one topic the media likes to tell stupid stories about is the so-called “coma boozing”. They are accusing the bartenders, politicians, the law, the parents… as usual. But they are never even getting in touch with the real problems.
    I once asked a friend of mine about why he was smoking (he usually didn’t). He told me, it was because of his bad standing in school (he really has to struggle for his degrees).
    That’s why so many German youths booze: They want to get rid of that stress produced in school. They want to flee the struggle, want to forget – most of these extensive drinkers are well-educated and from well situated backgrounds (the group from which all amok runners come btw).

    That’s the German aspect of a global problem. In French, young immigrants are rioting nearly every half a year. They are burning down police stations, shops, cars – because they are frustrated. Are frustrated, because the police, the justice are xenophobic, because they have no (or very little) opportunities to ever get a good job.

    I don’t know if you’ve ever heard of (or read) Goethe’s Werther (The Sorrows of Young Werther). This book caused a real series of suicides in 18th century’s Germany. Why? Because young men saw this Werther as an idol, when they were not accepted in their lifestyle by their parents conservative generation.

    And that’s what I think is causing what you described in your post: The lack of a confidence in the future. This maybe materialistic or idealistic, but it is always a struggle against the parents’ generation.

    (Hope you can get what I mean, my English really lacks quality when I’m writing about complex topics like this)

  6. Same problem here in Qatar – fortunately you don’t find it on the city roads. We now have traffic laws that get you fined/locked up if you even think about speeding…

    But out in the desert…well, let’s just say you’ll need to hit youtube.com to find out…

  7. Probably it’s better if they give them a place , I think in the end it’s a kind of hobby and ppl have different taste. Regarding what u said about or country , I think it’s special than other in the culture and other think that make her a focus of the media , as a special woman take off her vail or show her face , it’s interesting to see as it’s interesting to know.

  8. I had to watch all these videos. Doesn’t éverybody watch stuff at YT? Everybody on the planet earth (and those extraterrestrials who can recieve it in space) has the occasional binge at TouTube.
    Although I must admit I really like to see a nice bit of drifting, doing it on the public road makes you a potential massmurderer, and should get you say, 30 years in prison and a livelong ban on driving.
    From recent reading I can fully understand that living in KSA can lead to terminal boredom, and I shouldn’t want to stop anybody killing themselves. But it’s a bit insensitive to make the effort and take a lot of other people, who might not nessecarilly have the same deathwish, with you.
    Why not start writing an interesting blog?

    And how unoriginal, the: ”We can’t help ourselves: we are so bored” excuse. Everybody all over the world who likes to spend their time doing really dum stuff says the same.

    Oh, perheaps they are to intellectually challenged to read books, or write blogs.

    What I would like to know very much, now Hajj is over; does Abdul Rahman Al Lahem get his licence back? There was some mentioning that that might happen after Hajj.

  9. While I think there is no justification for the shababs to do this kind of reckless car stunts and then posting it on youtube, i too wonder what these shababs are to do when there are no alternatives outlet for them? how much coffee can you drink? how much driving down the corniche can you do? how much sheesha can you do? ksa needs cinemas! skate ramps! proper basketball courts in public parks! decent libraries that stock up to date english and arabic books! theme parks that doesn’t restrict its entry to families only!

    However, having said that, I think the shabab need to be creative too, and not come up with the “we’re bored” excuse. Be creative!

  10. It sounds as though KSA needs some proper tracks for stunt racing, stock car racing, etc.where these exciting sports can be enjoyed without people getting killed. ….. And as mansur says, skate ramps, basketball courts, and all kinds of other sports outlets. How about hang-gliding? …..

  11. Hey everone… how is it going
    Ahmad wrote about drifting in saudi arabia
    what about the crimes which happen in the usa and the country which sell hash ??

    Why dont a person get benefit of his/her time
    learn more and more about islam ( on the salaf way) read more and more about the greatest people such as abu bkr,omar,uthman,ali, and others

    Ignorance and learning wrong false things = darkness

    you may find a person who says things about wahabya but if you ask him what is wahabi he/she will give you a wrong answer

    read for the sheikh mohammed ibn abdul wahab rahemaho ALLAH ( a book called tawheed )

    im sorry if i took alot from your time

    take care everyone

  12. hello there
    instead of putting excuses that people drift because they are bored and There are no cinema theaters……instead of all that occupy the time in which is good….be clear with yourself and you know that the most important thing is the religon..make your role model prophet mohammed peace be upon him…organize your time in taking islamic knowledge (the right way)…read about the great salaf and follow them……….Dont let bad things done by people such as (going to husainya) affect you….time is more precious then money
    money comes and goes
    time goes and never comes

    Instead of running away and not facing the truth and killing time…….use it the right way

    may ALLAH help us All and give us hidaya to follow everything good

  13. instead of all that occupy the time in which is good….be clear with yourself and you know that the most important thing is the religon..make your role model prophet mohammed peace be upon him…organize your time in taking islamic knowledge (the right way)…read about the great salaf and follow them

    No thanks.

  14. Ahmed, it’s the same in the United States, a place where numerous outlets of entertainment are offered. I recently found out a guy I grew up with went racing down a street, ran off the road, hit and killed four people getting ice cream at the Dairy Queen and injured himself so badly that the authorities had to airlift him to the hospital. He’ll never be able to use his right arm again and the police are slapping him with manslaughter charges. He’ll be behind bars for a very long time. My 14 year old stepson is obsessed with drifting and racing. He recently commented that he wanted to move to Japan because they “drift” there. We had to explain to him that just because it’s in his video games and they show like action in movies, it doesn’t mean that it exists. We had to also explain to him that even if he does decide to race, he can easily kill himself, or worse, others. We asked him what he would do if he were driving at high speeds and a family of four pulled out in front of him because he was traveling too fast for the driver to see him. He would kill them. I hope and pray that the severity of racing and drifting sank in.

  15. Ahmed,

    All sorts of destructive behaviors persist among the youth in the United States, despite the fact that we have all sorts of entertainment available to them. Teenagers and young adults could be playing sports, reading books, listening to music, playing music with friends, or learning to make something with their hands. Instead, some of them are watching too much TV, abusing drugs and alcohol, or doing dangerous things like racing cars and drifting.

    Teenagers and older people make the excuse: “there is nothing around here for kids to do”. That excuse is made everywhere: in rural areas, in suburbs, and in big cities. However, some or all of those activities I list above are available to all young people in the USA.

    A young person could be doing something safe and worthwhile, and instead he (or she) is doing something dangerous and stupid. In the USA, we should stop trying to explain this behavior away by saying “there’s nothing else for them to do around here.”

    I just discovered your blog today. I think you are doing excellent work.

    Ken

  16. Here in the USA we had a television show called “Jackass” which was basically people doing stupid things that hurt themselves. Such as drinking eggnog till vomiting, kicking each other in the balls, using taseres on each other, getting in shopping carts and getting run into the curb, etc. Stupidity is a worldwide problem, and unfortunately in this day and age people feel a need to be on either television or the internet. They feel like a “star” and whatever fleeting feeling of euphoria gained is worth the bodily harm done.

    As George Carlin a comic once said “we used to have something called natural selection. The boy who eats too many marbles does not grow up to have kids of his own”

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