The Broken Frame

Here’s yet another piece about joy riding, aka drifting, aka tafheet, aka total nonsense. Yes, we are bored. Yes, we are young and we are not amused. And yes, we live in a place that severely lacks proper entertainment outlets for the youth. But is this a good reason for you to go drive your car recklessly in public roads? I hate to repeat myself, but here it goes:

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.

Oh, and a word to Robert Worth and other foreign journalists who fall for the usual traps and fail to see the big picture: instead of trying to fit everything you see here in your ready-made frames, please go and try to find some new frames for your Saudi stories. Or, even better, how about no frame at all? We are really, really sick of being pictured like aliens. It is probably much easier to write about car drifters than write about people like Waleed Abul-Khair, Najla Barasain, Hashim al-Refaie, and Amna Fatani, but that’s a lame excuse.

Maybe we are not what you would call a normal country, but I think there is more about us than this.

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.