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Virtual Tour

10/04/2013

The tribe is calling Antara to repel the aggression of those who have raided it, but Antara is leaning, smiling sometimes and chipping eyebrows sometimes while pressing his fingers quickly on BlackBerry Messenger screen and retorting “To hell with war and with headache”. Laila, on the other hand, is waiting to see Qais, who lost his shoes tracing for her while his head was spinning dizzily in despair. He, however, is busy responding to fans with his poetic Tweets on Twitter and putting his photos at sunset outside the tents of his tribe Instagram.

I do not mean to joke inasmuch as I wish to refer to a new world that is being slowly formed around us while we are heedless of it. A quiet change eradicates reluctance smoothly. That era in which a father used to call his son and the son replies “yes, father'” on the spot has come to an end. Currently, a father needs to call dozens of times until he feels his blood is boiling, while his son is busy with his mobile and complainingly writes “BRB” to the one he is chatting with before reluctantly responding to his father.

His sister, meanwhile, is begging her mother to allow her to go out to buy something she needs badly, but instead she goes to Dubai Mall where she takes a photo of a cappuccino cup and a piece of cake, writes “Breakfast Time” on it before sending it on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Path and her mobile. She only needs to paste the photo on her Abaya and Sheila to think that she has liberated Al Aqsa Mosque with this cappuccino!

We are witnessing the birth of a new family, which is quite different from the actual family. A person’s family has become that group of people whom he is impatient to read their messages on blackberry Messenger or WhatsApp and talk with them even when he is under his blanket. They are the first to search for when he leaves a cinema where the majority of people outdoors are searching their mobile screens.

They are also the first to look for when he wakes up in the morning after heavily opening his eyes, which are stimulated only by a broadcast from somebody or a message from another. Nor can he sleep unless his mobile is placed close to his head; he sleeps, of course, after his head has spun dizzily as a result of the many tweets he has just read. They are those who bring pleasure to him, even as he eats with his family or watch TV with his actual family, and even during business meetings, where his fingers play the chat buttons under the table!

It is them who stir his inclinations and shape his orientations; if he finds them praising somebody, he will join them, and so will he when they slander another. He behaves so only because he does not want to be at odds with the group or presumable family. The personal orientations continue to be shaped until we discover suddenly that everybody likes to publish proverbs and poems on Twitter and to take photos of a cup of coffee, sunset and red roses set aside for romantic purposes on Instagram, signifying “be at ease with us, Romeo!

These figures of the means of social communication are appalling and can no longer be overlooked or believed that they are just sites and pass time. This is simply because they are driving the orientations of an entire generation in a calm but extremely effective manner. Through this slow movement that does not raise any suspicion, they create a world of a different intellectual nature, outstanding behaviors, an ideological system and a background of their own.

They most often form trans-border gatherings cross-border groupings, where orientations are handled and then marketed by the most experienced, eloquent and popular man for acceptance by many people, though there is no local justification for these orientations in his society, creed or homeland. It is actually a feeling of unwillingness to object for fear he might be rejected by these families, the number of followers might drop, or the number of those who like or re-tweet what is written in those sites will become less!

Twitter has 500 million subscribers who send 177 million tweets per day, while out of seven people on earth there is one subscriber to Facebook and these generate $1.5 billion every 3 months for the website, according to recent statistics. The visitors of YouTube, on the other hand, spend 326,000 years of browsing per month, at a daily rate of 2 billion views of those dissimilar and unrestrained content, particularly for the young generation, which is easy to be shaped and led. Nearly 10 million photos are daily uploaded on Instagram and wherever you go, you will find that establishing friendships is easier than ordering a Karak tea in an Indian restaurant!

The effects on the previous generations were mostly positive and were embodied in the parents, school, quarter friends who are well-monitored by parents and visual and audible media, which are strictly in line with the traditions and good taste, while the examples appreciated by the society and conveyed to the new generation are embodied in the Prophet (PBUH), nation’s key figures and a great personality like Sheikh Zayed, may Allah have mercy upon him. In contrast, the effect of a family has immensely diminished, surrendering to Twitter and its companions. Tweets have now the most impressive effect and are all the rage for the new generation under the pretext of “be independent” and do not be the “son of papa and mama” and that of course in order to be the son of that cawer or delinquent. A glance at those examples who have the highest number of followers on Twitter will show that they combined “the dead through beating, and the dead through falling from a height”.  They are as follows: Justin Bieber (37 million followers), Lady Gaga (35 million) and Katy Perry (34 million).

I am not calling on people to be narrow because this not the solution, nor am I  calling for ban because this is impossible. Yet, it is important to make a plan on a larger scale that brings a positive alternative or can minimize the negative impact of these media and direct them in such a manner that helps the new generation appreciate our values ​​and privacy and somehow brings the focus back to the real family, where parents are hopefully required to look after their children instead of running after more business or wandering day and night in malls; at that hour, Antara may leave the Blackberry and come to rescue his tribe!

Awadh bin Hasoum Al Darmaki, Al Bayan newspaperAwadh bin Hasoum Al Darmaki, Al Bayan newspaper
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