Constructive criticism is to support not demean. Read more…

A Saudi journalist and poet wrote an article in a well-known Saudi newspaper describing the Saudi society as a schizophrenic one, a society that comes to life in the virtual world of the Internet. However, the minute they plummet back to reality, they paint on their frowns, suit up in their fear and fall in line with the drones of traditional robotic lifestyles. Wow, that's harsh! I can't claim to know whether he meant it as constructive criticism to urge the people to be their virtual selves in real life, or whether he wants them to stay true to the traditional norms and just be that.

I choose to interpret it in another way.

The Saudi society, and mainly the budding youth, is a well of untapped talent, dynamism, and promise. The mere usage of the Internet, which is still seen as the portal into connecting with the other sex and somewhat a taboo in many Saudi households, is used as a way to make sure that the youth is heard, their opinions are read, and their own reflection of our society is portrayed correctly. This only shows that there is a passionate trend of breaking any barriers, regardless of who is building them. This emerging youth is trying to make sure that they serve themselves, their families and their country well.

The Saudi male or female is not the dormant, domesticated being we are often portrayed as. In fact, many of our youth have chosen to break away from that stereotype and delve in waters that have been untouched, and areas that have been undiscovered by their counterparts in the country. So let's not scoff at the first steps towards breaking the mold and let's encourage them on their enthusiasm and cheer them on in their quest to bettering Saudi Arabia so that it reaches the potential we all know it has. The exciting virtual Saudi society is only one of the ways in which positive change and constructive progression and development is occurring.

As of late, it seems a lot of us Arabs have taken the attitude that in order for us to fix our problems, solve our issues and work on ourselves is to start pointing the finger of blame and mercilessly attack almost all facets of our society, thinking that they are objective and critical thinkers who are not blindfolded and in denial. However, i believe that's counter productive. How do you expect a society or people in general to have the gumption to be better when all you do is drown them in their own misfortune and failures?

It is too easy to point at the bad and too cliche as well. So how about we identify the positive, hopeful and promising initiatives of the people and make sure to lend a hand in order to coach them through their progression? It's too easy to grab the overused banners of "sexism", "oppression", "no freedom of speech" and "no mind of their own" and run all over preaching that they need to leave Saudi. Saudi will only be able to shed these stigmas from within and not by everybody putting in his two cents on how they should run the country. Remember that each country has it's own characteristics that make it special and no country should be a clone of another. Take a step back from blind globalization and let's appreciate each culture for its uniqueness. Let's not use this uniqueness to enforce false stereotypes and  make easy targets of the notions and ideologies of a country just because they differ from yours or don't fit the mold prescribed by another.

Change in Saudi is happening. Change for the better, with an eye out for the prosperous future; but effective change is slow and steady in order not to alienate the people and jostle their comfort zone. Change can't be enforced on a population that is not completely sold out on the benefits. This is what Saudi is heading for. The change needs to happen from within with whole hearted commitment and not with new enforced government legislation.

So let's not fall in the easy traps and let's make sure to support our own.

– Shoug

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