It seems that every person above the age of fourty in bahraini is saying the same thing: Look at our youth. What has happened to them? Where did it all go wrong. Did we ever stinge on giving them anything? Ma ga9arneh wehayum? Then Look at what they do. They keep going out everyday until four in the morning, god knows where, and then they come home. We are going out to morning prayer, and they are just coming back home. We don't see them for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Alcohol and drug use are on the rise, and night clubs and hookers are rife. They drive like maniacs, and they also just keep getting fatter by the day. They ask for too much, and are delei3een, never wanting to do anything for themselves. Either that, or they become extremist muslims. They start wanting to smash things up, or lock all our daughters up. Why?
One article after the other has been written on this subject, and so much ink has been spilled that Tolstoy would feel belittled. The problem is, most of those writing in newspapers and giving seminars are above 40s themselves. They don't bother much to ask the younger generation what's wrong, and each one gives his own made-up theory about why it went all wrong. "I know! They have forgotten their religion, that's why. Let's make the country much more strict with its rules." Or " It's those goddam opposition, they make our youth do these acts of vandalism. Another favourite is it's all the West's fault. They came into our country with their ideals and corrupted our youth. Let's declare war on all of the west, in fact, all of the world, except Arabs of course.
If anyone bothered to ask the younger generation, and if the younger generation would dare to tell the truth, I think the answer can be summed up in three words: WE ARE BORED!
Let us expand on this theory a bit, and for those who like socio-economic reasons (sigh), let's try to offer those. Here is my own grand (and probably ludicrous theory): The baby boom occurs from the seventies onward, and we are left with a society where most of the people are under the age of thirty. We see the income of the country stagnating, or growing at 3% a year, while the population of the country explodes. That means that although the pie itself is staying the same size, those you have to feed are increasing, and thus the pieces are getting smaller. We are a generation that grew up seeing most of our parents (admittedly with some people that is not the case) making more money than us. We look back on the boom in the seventies and the eighties, and we realize the first class train has passed us. This is not the way societies are supposed to evolve. In most of the other countries in the world, life and income increases with every new generation.
The country used to need foreign workers to fill in the gap in demand for workers. Nowadays we see the (official) unemployment figure reaching 15%. It's probably higher in reality, and definitely much higher within the youths. Then we feel society enclosing on us as well. In order to get married, you need to have a job and a house and be able to pay a good dowry. This makes most people not being able to get married until they are at least in their mid or late twenties (unlike the older generation, who didn't have much of the problem since they were married quite young). We are also then told it is wrong to see any girls, and that we should remain pious and innocent. Does anyone believe that a person can just sit and wait from the age of 12 until the age of 25 without doing anything??
So no job, not much money, no girls, and therefore, a lot of spare time. So what do we do in this spare time? Do you think most of us buy literature classics and sit at home to read? Do we go to high-browed art and movie exhibitions instead? Do we start cultivating good talents like playing the violin or playing the piano? Heh, yeah right, anyone who does this stuff is called "metfaregh" (as if the rest of us are not)or "moo sa7i." We are partly to blame for this, since we have fallen into a culture and of lauging at and making fun of the people who do this stuff. The bigger problem, however, is that in Bahrain there isn't much chance or encouragement from society in General to do this stuff.
You want to have a nice beach or play tennis? Well how about forking out 1000 BD for the Meridien. You want to read some good books, how about checking the pathetic excuses for bookshops we have. You want to become a painter or an artist? How about everyone laughing at you and telling you get a real job because you will never make money. YOu want to join a political party? They don't discuss much of what concern us. They're more interested in segregating men or women in universities or discussing problems with the constitution.
And it seems like no one is willing to give way or listen to these younger people. Find me one father who'll accept the fact that his childern are going out with someone, and I'll find you a miracle. This, coupled with the fact that there aren't much good hobbies to do in bahrain, makes everything be driven underground. People become disenchanted, their voice marginalized, and they develop their own underground culture, with their own rules.We have to do everything without the knowledge of our parent. A huge gap has developed, in fact two parallel worlds. We try to look like angels in front of our parents, and behind the scenes, you don't want to even see what goes on.
Thus, some youths (the lucky ones) are able to turn to islam and become religious (I'm not talking about extremists or terrorists here). They usually avoid all of the troubles above, and can continue in the same footsteps of their parents. Not everyone can do that. Some others are able to balance their life, get a job, and live what can be labelled a "normal" llife. Many others, however, decide to riot and break stuff up. Others decide sod this and start drinking (and I'm not talking about a casual sunday evening pint here). Some others do drugs. Others chase girls, and some do all of these things.
It seems to be a sad fact that when you have a disenchanted, unlistened to youth, they either turn to absolute hedonism, or are driven to blind faith in some extreme ideology or principle, which puts everything in simple terms, black or white. That is why Al Qaeda has found a lot of supporters,and that's why Ms. Samira Nouf and Ms. Mary J found a lot of supporters as well.
Although this isn't a pleasant picture, we, the youth, don't worry, we trod along slowly. We see the older members of society complain about us and moan about the long gone good old days of before. We do not complain, we go on with our life. We know that we are going to make it through, just as we are managing to get by right now. We know that one day we are going to be the move-makers and controllers of society. We will have our day one day. Heh, and I'm sure some really really old fellows then will be just a tad nervous!