The erosion of respect and courtesy in our society has become a major national concern that needs more attention. Showing respect for laws and rules is important for any society’s economic development and it is essential for maintaining order and creating a harmonious society. The common trend of disrespect for law and order has resulted in broken traffic laws, abuse of financial rights and the neglect of the rights of people, especially women.
Disrespect for laws and regulations and the lack of courtesy among a large segment of society has delayed our progress and has contributed to an imbalanced society.
More needs to be done to build respect within Saudi society. Many countries have developed faster than others because of simply showing more respect for laws and regulations.
Respect for human life
To begin with we need to have more respect for human life. Members of society need to abide by traffic laws and respect parking regulations and park only in designated areas. They must not double park or block the roads in front of mosques or drive the wrong way on one-way streets as a short cut to where they are going or drive while using a mobile. Many accidents occur because of the lack of concentration and as a result many people have died or ended up physically disabled for the rest of their lives. We also need to raise public awareness about contractual obligations. Individuals need to honor contracts. For example the payments of rent or of debts owed to providers of services need to be honored. Individuals need to know that they can trust whomever they do business with.
The lack of respect for cleanliness and tidiness has contributed to the spread of disease and the creation of filthy and disorderly neighborhoods. People need to learn how to dispose of waste and we need to work on keeping our cities clean. The lack of cleanliness can lead to the spread of viruses and dangerous epidemics.
Respect for women
A nationwide campaign to teach respect is vital to ensure national social stability and a more prosperous future.Samar Fatany
The disrespect that is directed toward women is another major concern. Women are denied their rights due to the lack of respect toward them by men in courts, government departments, and in public life. Women have little say in decisions that affect their lives and their families. This disrespectful treatment of women in the modern era often erodes what little progress has been made to project the true principles of Islam that honor women and protect their rights. Reformers and social scientists have a responsibility to attempt to influence change and not to allow the continued disrespect for rules and regulations and human rights. In fact we must all share in the responsibility of reviving the social values of treating each other with respect and courtesy and of showing kindness to mankind. Writers and journalists must strive to educate the public about the importance of showing more respect for moral values and Islamic manners in our daily lives. They should identify examples of malfeasance and injustice and bring them to the attention of the authorities in order to find solutions so that we can develop a more stable and harmonious society.
According to Saudi social scientists, the reasons behind the exploitation of women by husbands and guardians within our society are mainly due to the ignorance of the true values of Islam that call on Muslims to show respect for every human being, man, woman and child. The failure to show equal respect for all people in society and the absence of deterrents to punish those who abuse the law are harming our social fabric and reflecting badly on our society. Better policies and directives should be implemented to address the lack of respect for rules, and society should shun those who abuse and exploit women and the underprivileged.
Respect for elders
Disrespect for elders has also spread. The public misconduct and rude behavior of some young people is troubling and our attempts to advise or reprimand them often result in our receiving an aggressive and insulting reply. The absence of discipline and respect for rules in many schools leave children more vulnerable to drug addiction and criminal behavior. Many crimes are committed as a result of disobedience, family feuds and the refusal to pay debts.
People need to learn how to treat one another with dignity and respect. Everyone needs to feel that his or her rights are respected. The values of trustworthiness, courtesy, patience and compassion need to be revived so that we can maintain social order and productivity. The erosion of our social values that has spread in recent years should be addressed as a major concern in our society today. Social scientists need to pay more attention to the rise of disorderly attitudes within society. They need to discuss ways to combat the threat posed by the practice of disrespect that is detrimental to progress and development and continues to undermine initiatives to build a more prosperous Saudi society.
Public and private organizations need to initiate a massive awareness campaign across the country to prevent the spread of the phenomenon of disrespect. A nationwide campaign to teach respect is vital to ensure national social stability and a more prosperous future.
This article was first published in the Saudi Gazette on June 8, 2013.
Samar Fatany is a Chief Broadcaster in the English section at Jeddah Broadcasting Station. Over the past 28 years, she has introduced many news, cultural, and religious programs and has conducted several interviews with official delegations and prominent political personalities visiting the kingdom. Fatany has made significant contributions in the fields of public relations and social awareness in Saudi Arabia and has been involved in activities aiming at fighting extremism and enhancing women’s role in serving society. She has published three books: “Saudi Perceptions & Western Misconceptions,” “Saudi Women towards a new era” and “Saudi Challenges & Reforms.”