The war on others’ tastes

This time it is a young man with a groomed beard wearing keffiyeh and agal. Yet he is performing an act similar to that of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi’s followers against historic artefacts, theatres and temples that are deeply significant for the history of humanity.

This young man broke the microphone and delivered a fiery statement full of reprimand in an attempt to raise awareness. The scene suggests that the phenomenon of controlling societies’ tastes has not become extinct but has rather become part of several other phenomena.

This young man was not wearing a short garment or a bisht (abaya) and didn’t have a flowing beard. He looked and dressed like ordinary Saudis. Yet he was carrying out an extreme act that violates basic rules and regulations.

Developing finer tastes in life is part of an ordinary individual’s character building process and not respecting it indicates lack of ethics

Turki Aldakhil

Training generations

The point here is not the individual as this young man’s case was referred to the relevant authorities. What is important is how can education institutions train generations to respect other people’s taste? They must be taught that if there is an event they don’t like they can just overlook it and wait for the next one.

Developing finer tastes in life is part of an ordinary individual’s character building process and not respecting it indicates lack of ethics. It defiles people’s sense of belonging thus imposing a formula “I don’t like this and everyone else must not like it too.” This is the formula of the “jungle” not the “city”.

In brief, these festivals and events are organized for those who would like to attend them. As for those who do not want to attend, they can choose from several other options in Riyadh.

This article was first published in Okaz on March 16.
Turki Aldakhil is the General Manager of Al Arabiya News Channel. He began his career as a print journalist, covering politics and culture for the Saudi newspapers Okaz, Al-Riyadh and Al-Watan. He then moved to pan-Arab daily Al-Hayat and pan-Arab news magazine Al-Majalla. Turki later became a radio correspondent for the French-owned pan-Arab Radio Monte Carlo and MBC FM. He proceeded to Elaph, an online news magazine and, the news channel’s online platform. Over a ten-year period, Dakhil’s weekly Al Arabiya talk show “Edaat” (Spotlights) provided an opportunity for proponents of Arab and Islamic social reform to make their case to a mass audience. Turki also owns Al Mesbar Studies and Research Centre and Madarek Publishing House in Dubai. He has received several awards and honors, including the America Abroad Media annual award for his role in supporting civil society, human rights and advancing women’s roles in Gulf societies. He tweets @TurkiAldakhil.

Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:50 - GMT 06:50
Disclaimer: Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not reflect Al Arabiya English's point-of-view.