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.
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.”
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About This Blog, and About Me: Susie of Arabia
Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, is KSA's 2nd largest city and is located on its west coast, right on the Red Sea. I moved here in 2007 with my Saudi hubby and teenage son. This journal reflects the things that I see here, life through my eyes, my lens.
Please be sure to also visit my other blog, SUSIE'S BIG ADVENTURE, which relates my experiences, thoughts, and observations about living in Saudi Arabia.
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