My World: Accident Waiting to Happen

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Even though women are severely restricted in many ways here “for their own protection” (like not being allowed to drive, not mixing socially with men, covered in black from head to toe with only the hands and face exposed, etc.), there are so many other glaring instances concerning the lack of safety for the general public, children, and workers that it just seems to defy logic. For example, Saudi babies rarely ride in car seats, and I’ve never seen a Saudi child buckled up in a car. In fact, if children are not bouncing around inside the car or hanging out the windows, they might be seated on dad’s lap as he drives, or worse yet, the child might be driving the vehicle himself! One day I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw two boys about 5 or 6 years old putting clear plastic bags on each others’ heads and running around a mall while the two men with them just sat talking, paying no attention to the children until I got out my camera to take a picture. Hard laborers, like welders or construction workers, usually don’t wear safety equipment like protective eye wear, steel toed shoes (many wear open sandals), or even gloves.
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And it never fails that every time I go to this particular mall – the beautiful Mall of Arabia – there are children playing around on the escalators. You can see that in between the up and down escalators, there is a narrow gap which is less than 12 inches wide. I always see children squeeze into this opening and go up and down between the escalators, with no mothers in sight, or if they are, paying no heed to the fact that their child might be in danger. When I ask my husband about things like this, he tells me that they just pray to Allah that their children will be safe, and if something bad happens, it’s God’s will. I think it’s great to have faith, but I also think it’s stupid not to take precautions to avoid accidents or injuries.
There are two posts I wrote on my other blog, Susie’s Big Adventure , that address the seeming lack of concern for safety in Saudi Arabia. Here are the links: “Women Can’t Drive Here, But Children Can!” and “Safety in Saudi Arabia Scores Low.”
Well, That’s My World for this week! That’s My World! offers a unique glimpse at life all over our planet. Take a peek at other people’s lives from all over the world by visiting That’s My World!

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About SusieOfArabia

American woman now living in hubby's homeland of Saudi Arabia
This entry was posted in Culture, Life, Photo, Religion, Saudi Arabia and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

21 Responses to My World: Accident Waiting to Happen

  1. asia says:

    Yes! no crime required if you want to be in a Saudi jail. Just let the Muttawa (“Religious” people)notice that you are gay. My brother said that some people are paid SAR 500 (US$130) to identify a gay person. If they can send someone to jail then they get paid.

  2. asia says:

    Dear Susie,

    I really hope you raise the issue on gay abuses in Saudi. Being gay in that place is considered as a crime regardless of age & profession. My gay brother was put to prison for simply wearing tight jeans and being obviously gay (simple but obviously gay!) He was arrested while buying rubber shoes in Batha area.

    The offence made does not justify the penalties that my brother had to suffer- imprisonment for several weeks, a case which ran for over a year and 150- skin bruising/cutting- lashes while being watched by other people.

    My brother is now in a suicidal emotional state. I just don’t know exactly the things that transpired during his stay there. He had two suicide attempts already despite several counseling sessions.

    I hope this will be published here.

    Asia from Philippines

  3. That’s quite an eye-opener. We have such emphasis on safety here, that it’s shocking to see all of that ignored.
    Scary about the kids driving and putting bags over their heads.

  4. Susie, this is just amazing to me. The paradox between the supposed protection of women and the lack of protection for children is bewildering.

  5. Barb says:

    Hi Susie,
    Finally – I’ve found you again. I was having some trouble as I was trying to access your restricted blogs. Well, here I am, anyway. Your comments about safety, esp of children makes me cringe! I watch my own Grands like a hawk when they’re with me, not willing to let it up to God’s will as I think He may want to help those who help themselves. I imagine He must be so busy in Arabia that I’d better stay vigilant!

  6. Martha says:

    I have often wondered at the variety of cultural attidudes to things such as safety. We take our own values for granted forgeting, as has been pointed out above, how they have evolved over the years. Not only has Americas attidude on matters of safety changed but attitudes on civil rights and other issues as well.
    Our beliefs on gun rights and universal health care are in a constant state of flux. Cultures change, maybe even Saudi culture one day.

  7. Being older than most of your commenters, I do remember very clearly when there was no such thing as seat belts, car seats etc. But at the same time, the whole pace of life was much slower, less traffic, not so many huge, major freeways etc etc. Nevertheless, these days it’s hard to conceive such a lack of concern for the safety of women and particularly for children.

    Marvelous post, as always, Susie!

    Have a great week!

    Sylvia

  8. Louise says:

    Amazing. I can hardly wait to catch up enough with my life that I can catch up on your other blog again; it’s one of my favorites.

  9. Bill B says:

    Something about an ounce of prevention…

  10. janice says:

    WOW, like you said it’s an accident waiting to happen.

    Do you hear about “freak” accidents regarding children?

  11. Pam says:

    Good point, Susie. Child safety should always be of concern not only there but around the world. They are our future.

  12. Carver says:

    Great post. I would worry about the children too. Doesn’t make sense to me. As always, I enjoy your photography and commentary.

  13. fishing guy says:

    Susie: I think most of the safety laws are a good thing. Wearing seat belts is a good thing. Playing with plastic bags and playing on the escalators is bad. What a bad attitude for the people to have. I wouldn’t do well if I saw those things happening.

  14. SandyCarlson says:

    That’s a little too much que sera, sera for me! I’m going with the view that God blessed us with brains to care for our children and the conscience to do what we can to keep them safe.

    I enjoyed reading your posts while I was here.

  15. ladyfi says:

    Oh goodness – putting plastic bags on each other’s heads. Horrific!

    About playing on escalators – that’s universal! Only this Sunday my daughter darted up a moving escalator coming downwards (she ran upwards) – much to my absolute horror! I was pretty darn cross with her.

  16. Geogypsy says:

    Must be a lot of accidents that God wills.

  17. BeachILike says:

    Yes, totally agreed with you! It is just another accident waiting to happen.. I like your way to communicate.

    Women can’t drive, but children can? What a nice thought of this.

    My Bangkok Through My Eyes!
    You got a Posty: I want to give 15 postcards :)

  18. Uff da! They don’t have the Boy Scout’s SAFETY skill award and merit badge like I do!

  19. Jerry M says:

    During my childhood there was a distinct lack of interest in safety in the US (born in 1951), I don’t think it was quite the level you describe for Saudi Arabia. In a large family I was the one who sat in front (and banged my head on the unpadded dashboard once). Sometimes I think that we’ve gone a little to far in the other direction.

    I do think that the Saudis could learn from our experience. I also think they might try to adopt the idea that “God helps those who help themselves”.

    • You & I are the same age, Jerry! And I also remember how unsafe things were back when we were kids. In fact, I sometimes look back and think “How did any of us ever make it to adulthood?” My brothers and I made our own “trampoline” in the backyard from a rusty old discarded springs that had no covering over the rusty springs. We set it up on bricks and jumped on it, often with our feet jamming through and getting caught in the springs and cutting our legs really bad! And there were many stories like that. But today the knowledge and awareness is out there, and the Saudis seem to pay no attention. It’s something that I just don’t get, like many things here.

  20. ewok1993 says:

    I think this point you raised about safety concerns are not limited to the middle east. I came from the Philippines and this was (operative word was) happening when I was there. And no major disaster came out of it, thankfully.

    Always lovely to read your post.

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