Conflict & Justice

Saudi Arabia's youth problem

It's a weekend night at this upscale mall. The place is buzzing with families and groups of girls. Outside the mall, several large bouncers guard the entrance and their job is to keep out young men. single men cannot go into the mall. Saudi Arabia practices a strict form of Islam and the country bans the mixing of unmarried men and women in public. But that doesn't stop boys from trying to sneak into malls. This bouncer insists restrictions like this are necessary and making problems by harassing and chasing after girls. Some say that's to be expected. This analyst says the kids are rebelling against society. He notes that cinemas and theaters are banned here and kids don't have many places to blow off steam. Some youth are starting to defy long held traditions like basic clothing, where more and more youth are wearing Western clothing. This 18 year old man says he resents being reprimanded for wearing what he wants to wear, and that he should be able to develop his own character. Tradition and conformity are highly regarded here, but some youth are casting off those values. This blogger says many people are very torn and young people feel like they belong to a different generation. The future is also uncertain because many young Saudi people can't find jobs after they graduate. This economist says Saudi youth are poorly trained because the Saudi education places importance mainly on religion. The Kingdom is trying to address the problem by revising its curriculum and investing money in education and has opened 100 new universities and colleges in the last five years, but those changes will take time. In the meantime, Saudi youth are turning to other outlets. This is a Saudi heavy metal band. One of the guitarists say there's been an explosion of music recently even though music is banned by the government. He and his band member say they dream about a time when they can perform in public. Change isn't out of the question, but the King says change has to happen slowly. But the slow pace of change may prove to be another source of frustration for youths.

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