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Our Misguided Youth

Eqbal Ebrahim
UNDERSTANDING ISLAM


Last week this column asked the question ‘How Low can we Go’, it touched on some of the issues that show that humanity is on the slippery road to moral decay and depravity.


Today we have all sorts of social ills that directly conflict with our traditional, cultural and importantly our religious values. We of the ‘older’ generation find ourselves caught in this new world quagmire where our time trusted values, traditions, beliefs, morals and norms are being tested to breaking point. We are bewildered and find it difficult to come to terms with what we see going on around us.


Humanity is no longer the healthy society that it was because we seem to have sunk even deeper into the murky depths of depravity. Botswana also has and faces the same turmoil that we see throughout the world. As a result of the loss of cultural identity of our youth who have started to ape the worst of western sub culture based on the ‘hip hop’ generation and of the ‘yob culture’, contributing to a rise in anti-social behaviour.


To them no social event is fun unless as some youth believe it consists of hooliganism, excessive drinking, taking of drugs and other substances, immorality, vulgarity, causing general disturbance, and being obnoxious is the fashionable order of behaviour.


The sad reality is that this depravity has now touched our youth in schools. The youth are now exposed to alcohol and substance abuse, drugs, cyber bullying, devil worship and a host of related physical and psychological challenges and temptations that this modern world has brought to our doorsteps.


The ball is in our court; as parents, adults, churches, religious organisations, traditional and cultural leaders and all other responsible people we have to lead the way to ensure that our youth of today will be the responsible adults of tomorrow. The love and care we give our children should be for their well-being in this life as well as the next. This is why the moral aspect is very important and should not be neglected.

In Islam we believe that children are an ‘amanah’ a ‘trust’, handed to us from our Lord. Therefore we have been directed by the Quran: ‘O you who believe! Save yourself and your families from the Fire of Hell’. (Quran 66: 6). Further Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said: ‘No father has given a greater gift to his children than good moral training’.


The Bible also gives guidance: “Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward”. (Psalms 127:3)


While most responsible parents do their utmost to raise well-adjusted children the frightening thing in this life of today is that from an early age our youth are exposed to the scourges of these modern day evils. Even more frightening is that these evil temptations are readily and easily available to our youth. These social and moral ills are very infectious and our children are exposed to them in this society.


In the early stages of their childhood they accept as the truth without question whatever they are told by Mom or Dad. But then at a later stage, the situation is different. They can hear and see what goes around them in the street, at school, on the TV, on social media, the radio, newspapers and everywhere else. They become exposed to all the vices and ills of this society.  They become victims of peer pressure from their friends in the street or at school. Our youth are facing a serious challenge in terms of societal and peer pressure of having to ‘conform’ to prevailing youth culture of today.    


At this stage, the maximum influence on the child is peer group, his mates and friends, not his parents. They will influence his thinking, and provide the food for his thought. Parents who care for the well-being of their children and families should not be limited only to the physical and health aspects but also be the guiding light for them.

Let’s look at some of the more obvious problems of our youth: Alcohol and drugs are totally prohibited and forbidden in Islam: The Qur’an says: ‘o ye, who believe, intoxicants and gambling, and the altars of idols, and the games  of chance are abominations of the devil; ye shall avoid them that you may succeed’. (Qur’an 5:94). Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said: ‘that which intoxicates in a large amount, a small amount is prohibited’. And; ‘don’t drink wine (intoxicants) for it is a key to all evil’. Further he said: ‘All intoxicants are prohibited’.

The Bible says "Drink no wine nor strong drink, you nor your sons with you”..   And “….for he will be great before the Lord, and he shall drink no wine, nor strong drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit”… (Luke 1:15)

Yet frighteningly, many children are exposed to it at home. Parents today have no qualms about drinking in their homes and it is common to have alcohol with their meals. Parents can overindulge and become inebriated to such an extent that their behaviour can be source of embarrassment to their children and even lead them to accept such behaviour as acceptable. We need to change our ways and be better role models to our children.


Providing a good example is extremely important. This is when the parents need to spend more quality time with their children trying to plant the seeds of goodness in them. Children learn more by imitating their parents, than merely by being told what is right. As this column has oft repeated, children may not necessarily listen to what their parents say but they will easily follow what they do.
“Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it”. (Proverbs 22:6)


Unfortunately some parents are very poor role models for their children and even out there in the public domain there are too few role models. The youth like to ‘ape’ some of what they see as ‘role’ models in the music and other such glitzy industries, but frankly some of these characters are of dubious distinction. So it is our responsibility and duty as parents to guide and lead our children onto a righteous and moral path that many of us are failing to do. We may not actually be able to control our child's choices when it comes to alcohol and drug use, but we can definitely alert them to the dangers and thereby become more street wise.


We need to wake up to the fact that our children are taking the path to destruction and we need to act urgently lest we lose them to the evils of this new world. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said ‘whenever someone sees a forbidden act being committed, he must prevent it by the use of his hand; and if he has no power for this action, he should try to prevent it with his tongue (talk about it); and if he cannot even do this then he should at least feel pain in his heart, but this is the lowest level of one’s faith”


It is said that the darkest places in hell are reserved for those who maintain their neutrality in times of moral crises.


Therefore it is appropriate that an inter-faith meeting be held to discuss these issues of common societal concern to see what we can collectively do to rejuvenate and rekindle the flagging spirits of our people by giving them the necessary moral guidance.

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Export Processing Zones: How to Get SEZA to Sizzle

23rd September 2020
Export Processing Zone (EPZ) factory in Kenya

In 2005, the Business & Economic Advisory Council (BEAC) pitched the idea of the establishment of Special Economic Zones (SEZs) to the Mogae Administration.

It took five years before the SEZ policy was formulated, another five years before the relevant law was enacted, and a full three years before the Special Economic Zones Authority (SEZA) became operational.

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Egypt Bagged Again

23rd September 2020
Samson

… courtesy of infiltration stratagem by Jehovah-Enlil’s clan

With the passing of Joshua’s generation, General Atiku, the promised peace and prosperity of a land flowing with milk and honey disappeared, giving way to chaos and confusion.

Maybe Joshua himself was to blame for this shambolic state of affairs. He had failed to mentor a successor in the manner Moses had mentored him. He had left the nation without a central government or a human head of state but as a confederacy of twelve independent tribes without any unifying force except their Anunnaki gods.

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‘RO, ‘RO ‘RO YOUR ‘BOT

23rd September 2020

If I say the word ‘robot’ to you,  I can guess what would immediately spring to mind –  a cute little Android or animal-like creature with human or pet animal characteristics and a ‘heart’, that is to say to say a battery, of gold, the sort we’ve all seen in various movies and  tv shows.  Think R2D2 or 3CPO in Star Wars, Wall-E in the movie of the same name,  Sonny in I Robot, loveable rogue Bender in Futurama,  Johnny 5 in Short Circuit…

Of course there are the evil ones too, the sort that want to rise up and eliminate us  inferior humans – Roy Batty in Blade Runner, Schwarzenegger’s T-800 in The Terminator,  Box in Logan’s Run,  Police robots in Elysium and  Otomo in Robocop.

And that’s to name but a few.  As a general rule of thumb, the closer the robot is to human form, the more dangerous it is and of course the ultimate threat in any Sci-Fi movie is that the robots will turn the tables and become the masters, not the mechanical slaves.  And whilst we are in reality a long way from robotic domination, there are an increasing number of examples of  robotics in the workplace.

ROBOT BLOODHOUNDS Sometimes by the time that one of us smells something the damage has already begun – the smell of burning rubber or even worse, the smell of deadly gas. Thank goodness for a robot capable of quickly detecting and analyzing a smell from our very own footprint.

A*Library Bot The A*Star (Singapore) developed library bot which when books are equipped with RFID location chips, can scan shelves quickly seeking out-of-place titles.  It manoeuvres with ease around corners, enhances the sorting and searching of books, and can self-navigate the library facility during non-open hours.

DRUG-COMPOUNDING ROBOT Automated medicine distribution system, connected to the hospital prescription system. It’s goal? To manipulate a large variety of objects (i.e.: drug vials, syringes, and IV bags) normally used in the manual process of drugs compounding to facilitate stronger standardisation, create higher levels of patient safety, and lower the risk of hospital staff exposed to toxic substances.

AUTOMOTIVE INDUSTRY ROBOTS Applications include screw-driving, assembling, painting, trimming/cutting, pouring hazardous substances, labelling, welding, handling, quality control applications as well as tasks that require extreme precision,

AGRICULTURAL ROBOTS Ecrobotix, a Swiss technology firm has a solar-controlled ‘bot that not only can identify weeds but thereafter can treat them. Naio Technologies based in southwestern France has developed a robot with the ability to weed, hoe, and assist during harvesting. Energid Technologies has developed a citrus picking system that retrieves one piece of fruit every 2-3 seconds and Spain-based Agrobot has taken the treachery out of strawberry picking. Meanwhile, Blue River Technology has developed the LettuceBot2 that attaches itself to a tractor to thin out lettuce fields as well as prevent herbicide-resistant weeds. And that’s only scratching the finely-tilled soil.

INDUSTRIAL FLOOR SCRUBBERS The Global Automatic Floor Scrubber Machine boasts a 1.6HP motor that offers 113″ water lift, 180 RPM and a coverage rate of 17,000 sq. ft. per hour

These examples all come from the aptly-named site www.willrobotstakemyjob.com    because while these functions are labour-saving and ripe for automation, the increasing use of artificial intelligence in the workplace will undoubtedly lead to increasing reliance on machines and a resulting swathe of human redundancies in a broad spectrum of industries and services.

This process has been greatly boosted by the global pandemic due to a combination of a workforce on furlough, whether by decree or by choice, and the obvious advantages of using virus-free machines – I don’t think computer viruses count!  For example, it was suggested recently that their use might have a beneficial effect in care homes for the elderly, solving short staffing issues and cheering up the old folks with the novelty of having their tea, coffee and medicines delivered by glorified model cars.  It’s a theory, at any rate.

Already, customers at the South-Korean  fast-food chain No Brand Burger can avoid any interaction with a human server during the pandemic.  The chain is using robots to take orders, prepare food and bring meals out to diners.  Customers order and pay via touchscreen, then their request is sent to the kitchen where a cooking machine heats up the buns and patties. When it’s ready, a robot ‘waiter’ brings out their takeout bag.   

‘This is the first time I’ve actually seen such robots, so they are really amazing and fun,’ Shin Hyun Soo, an office worker at No Brand in Seoul for the first time, told the AP. 

Human workers add toppings to the burgers and wrap them up in takeout bags before passing them over to yellow-and-black serving robots, which have been compared to Minions. 

Also in Korea, the Italian restaurant chain Mad for Garlic is using serving robots even for sit-down customers. Using 3D space mapping and other technology, the electronic ‘waiter,’ known as Aglio Kim, navigates between tables with up to five orders.  Mad for Garlic manager Lee Young-ho said kids especially like the robots, which can carry up to 66lbs in their trays.

These catering robots look nothing like their human counterparts – in fact they are nothing more than glorified food trolleys so using our thumb rule from the movies, mankind is safe from imminent takeover but clearly  Korean hospitality sector workers’ jobs are not.

And right there is the dichotomy – replacement by stealth.  Remote-controlled robotic waiters and waitresses don’t need to be paid, they don’t go on strike and they don’t spread disease so it’s a sure bet their army is already on the march.

But there may be more redundancies on the way as well.  Have you noticed how AI designers have an inability to use words of more than one syllable?  So ‘robot’ has become ‘bot’ and ‘android’ simply ‘droid?  Well, guys, if you continue to build machines ultimately smarter than yourselves you ‘rons  may find yourself surplus to requirements too – that’s ‘moron’ to us polysyllabic humans”!

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