Choosing authority over chaos
Individuals must give up a part of their freedom when using facilities in order to protect everyone’s right to enjoy them
When it comes to public parks, no one has the right to claim complete ownership because they are meant to be shared by all. Everyone uses them and benefits from them collectively.
At the same time, individuals entering into such spaces must give up part of their freedom while using them in order for the public at large to enjoy. But at the same time, the rules governing the sharing of a public park does not mean it can be applied to other spaces. There are different rules for different places.
If a tourist decides to go down to a hotel lobby wearing the same outfit he would wear at a swimming pool, people are bound to look at him strangely and may even publicly rebuke him.
The dress code at a university hall is different to taking a walk or playing sports. A sermon communicated at a mosque does not belong in a park. You cannot act the same way on an airplane as you do in your car.
If you do not like a certain behavior, it is your duty as a citizen to complain to the relevant authorities. But if everyone took matters into their own hands, there would be mass chaosTurki Aldakhil
The options are limited given several factors that govern the social order related to a different time and place.
You cannot expect to loudly read out a poem when you’re onboard a plane but you could certainly choose to do so with friends at a desert camping trip.
But it is not your job to destroy someone else’s device because you do not like it, or yank someone’s headphones or speakers because you’re angered by what is being broadcast. There are authorities whose job it is to handle such situations, not yours.
If you do not like a certain behavior, it is your duty as a citizen to complain to the relevant authorities. But if everyone took matters into their own hands, there would be mass chaos.
This article was first published in Okaz on Aug. 11, 2016.
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 Alarabiya.net, 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.