The endless boredom of Saudi Arabian youth

What do you in in a country where a king and his not-so-royal family owns everything, and gives the entire population a stipend so they go off somewhere and don’t bother the king? “Go drag racing!”:

bq.. This may be the most popular sport of Saudi youth, an obsessive, semilegal competition that dominates weekend nights here. It ranges from garden variety drag racing to “drifting,” an extremely dangerous practice in which drivers deliberately spin out and skid sideways at high speeds, sometimes killing themselves and spectators.

For Saudi Arabia’s vast and underemployed generation of young people, these reckless night battles are a kind of collective scream of frustration, a rare outlet for exuberance in an ultraconservative country where the sexes are rigorously segregated and most public entertainment is illegal. *They are, almost literally, bored out of their minds.*

“Why do they do it?” said Suhail Janoudi, a 27-year-old sales clerk who was watching the races from the roadside with a faint smile around 1:30 a.m. *”Because they have nothing else to do. Because they are empty.”*

p. A depressing picture of the country…

bq. … *”The idea behind drifting is, the economy and society don’t need you,”* said Pascal Ménoret, an anthropologist who did four years of field work in Riyadh, the capital, and is now teaching at Princeton and writing a book on Saudi youth culture. “They are mostly young Bedouins who recently moved to the city, and whose lives are marked by suffering and self-destructive behavior.”

Where will Saudi Arabia end up? Cursed with oil wealth, the country is squandering much of its human wealth… I wonder where the country will end up?

_Dislaimer:_ Of course, the above is only representative of a few percentage of the population, etc etc. Still, much of the literature about Saudi Arabia paints a very bleak picture of the country – heres one good example: “The Rise, Corruption and Coming Fall of the House of Saud.”: The book is a bit dated now, but highly recommended.

3 thoughts on “The endless boredom of Saudi Arabian youth”

  1. Read ‘Princess’ and ‘daughters of arabia’ n u’ll knw what saudis are doing with their oil money. Their youth is frustrated like hell. Some of them are probably searching for answers and something to aim for now.

  2. I’ve spent years in Saudi Arabia. And most of the time I was bored out of my mind. It was really clean. The roads were great. The food was good. The buildings looked good. But it was all just soooo boring…

    I mean sure we have problems in Pakistan, but the population is alive in a way which Saudis are not.

    Disclaimer: That’s just my personal opinion, subjective experience, etc.

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