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Our children – what future?

IQBAL EBRAHIM
UNDERSTANDING ISLAM

This week let’s tackle an issue that cuts across all religious, social, cultural, economic and ethnic barriers. This issue has been simmering for some time now but it has become so hot an issue that as a nation we should take urgent steps to halt this scourge otherwise we will have not only failed but lost an entire generation.  

What is happening to the youth of today? For example, just look at the type of content and programming that TV entertainment / music channels churn out nowadays. These programs are filled with suggestive images that promote a promiscuous culture and a lifestyle completely alien to our traditional, cultural, religious and moral upbringing and values. Pick up any newspaper, listen to the news, watch television and you will come across an article/item that refers to our youth involved in – suicide, killings, drug taking, alcohol abuse, violence, unruly behaviour, indecent and immoral behaviour, teenage pregnancies, rape, foul language, etc.

As parents we should be alarmed at the breakdown of societal values that these alien cultures have brought to our shores. Included in these are subtle and often blatant messages that promote promiscuous behaviour and the use of alcohol and drugs, thereby nullifying the best intentions and efforts of parents.

In Islam children are an ‘Amanah’, (a sacred trust), from the Almighty entrusted to us to raise, nurture, guide, and prepare them for the life ahead. As parents and guardians we have been given that responsibility to equip them with the tools to become responsible adults. Our goal is to equip the child with a solid Islamic personality, with good morals, strong Islamic principles, knowledge and behaviour so as to be equipped to face the demands of life in a responsible and mature manner. This should begin with the proper environment at home that inculcates the best moral and behavioural standards.

The Holy Qur’an says: ‘O you who believe! Save yourself and your families from the Fire of Hell’. (Ch. 66: 6). ‘No father has given a greater gift to his children than good moral training’ said the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). As parents some of us seem to have missed – or should I say messed up, the opportunity to inculcate and instil morals, ethics, values and all those time honoured cultural and traditional family values that formed the basis of our own upbringing and social interaction.

Too many of today’s parents take a laissez faire attitude and role in moulding and bringing up their children in becoming responsible adults of tomorrow. Not only that, homes are no longer the havens of peace, tranquillity and comfort that we once knew. Homes today are filled with family strife, domestic violence, vulgar language, the lack of respect, and a whole host of modern day ills. How then do we expect to raise well-adjusted children in such a poisoned atmosphere?

In Islam we are expected to teach our children from a young age the religious responsibilities such as learning to read and memorize verses of or even the whole Qur’an, the performance of Salaah (daily Prayer), and all the other Islamic etiquettes that are a standard part of any Muslim’s daily activity.  Included in this training is proper respect, obedience and consideration towards one’s parents and the behaviour and attitude towards society in general. .. What has gone wrong?  

Is it because we have become a modernised society, and the western influence has caught up with us? In our haste we are too busy chasing and trying to play catch up with the rest of the world, thus easily neglect our cultural, traditional and most importantly our spiritual upbringing. Virtually every part of the world is confused by the pull of conflicting values and societal pressures therefore the youth of today face many challenges and problems, more so teens today have to face peer pressure.

To make matters worse they have become obsessed and pre occupied with MXit, Twitter, Facebook, texting and other forms of social media; whilst these social media forums are cutting edge and relevant they can also be a very destructive medium if misused.  
Violence in schools is increasing – schools especially in the West have placed metal detectors at school entrances because students are bringing knives and other offensive weapons to school. Some schools even have armed guards patrolling their premises. Recently a student in the USA shot and killed his fellow students.

Many parents may not realize it but our youth are tempted by the greatest evils of this day and age: alcohol and drugs. Make no mistake our youth have fallen prey to alcohol and alarmingly are experimenting with drugs. The fact is that hard drugs are now being peddled to our kids everywhere in Botswana. These drug peddlers nullify all the parenting efforts in an instant. As parents we have to be aware of the dangers that our children face and we should try to counteract these negative influences by being more sensitive to parenting our children.

Whilst most parents do their utmost to raise well-adjusted children, others are somewhat oblivious to fact that the youth of today are facing a serious challenge in terms of societal and peer pressure of having to ‘conform’ to the current youth culture. Regrettably most of our youth try to emulate foreign cultures that are based on the worst elements of the youth culture imported from overseas.


Teens may experiment with drugs or alcohol and may become sexually promiscuous to avoid feelings of being left out of the crowd or through boredom and depression. Teens can express their depression through hostile, aggressive, risk-taking behaviour. But such behaviours only lead to new problems, deeper levels of depression and destroy relationships with friends, family, law enforcement or school officials.

Our children are our future they carry with them our hopes and our desires into the future. Every parent therefore wishes and desires only what is best for the children. But this requires guidance and training; this training is should not only consist of a set of directives but the parents should be a living example of those directives.


It is therefore the parents’ responsibility to ensure that we bring up our children in a manner that will inculcate in them the values and virtues that have been the anchor of our religious and traditional beliefs and upbringing. It is a sad fact that some parents are to blame for the current state of affairs because they are disassociated from their children’s upbringing. It is a case of absent parenting done by remote control.

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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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