Arab families hit by ‘cultural invasion’

April 17, 2014 - 5:06:52 am
H H Sheikha Moza bint Nasser participating in the plenary session on 'Families Matter' for the Doha International Conference on the Family yesterday. AR Al-Baker

DOHA: H H Sheikha Moza bint Nasser, Chairperson, Qatar Foundation,  has said Arab families are living in an era when their societies are undergoing a critical period whereby its identity, culture and future are under constant threat. 

The cultural invasion that has swept the world through globalisation in the past two decades has shaken the Arab culture, she said while inaugurating the ‘Doha International Conference on the Family’ at Qatar National Convention Centre yesterday. “Cultural invasion has targeted the core of the identity of the Arab family, its culture, language and religion. The media and entertainment culture played the most influential role in targeting the Arab identity”. 

The globalisation-triggered cultural invasion created disruption in the system of values, diminished the identity and cultural characteristics leading to the decline of values. It also led to slackness in terms of anticipating and addressing challenges, Sheikha Moza noted.

The media and entertainment culture have played the most influential role in carrying the terms and consequences of this invasion, which badly hit the Arab youth. We hurt deeply as we see young Arabs losing their identity, cases that blow the siren, lest this domination permeate future generations. Arab countries are preoccupied by political disputes or internal conflicts, ignoring their duties towards building and developing society. Perhaps no other region in the world is quite like most Arab countries, whose budgets are drained through armaments, security requirements and media propaganda. “How can the family be decent when the state is not?” she asked.

The most shocking aspect is that some Arab countries fund and support hundreds of satellite channels that contribute to the flattening of the Arab mind, promoting cultural illiteracy and manipulating the instincts of youth. This warns us about our losing bet with the future. Most likely, only a small amount of the vast sum of money wasted on these projects is enough to fund and create many development programmes capable of empowering the family. 

Sheikha Moza said the rigid approach towards cultural heritage and values illustrates an ignorance that is unaware of society’s evolution. It breeds misconceptions that impact societal and educational values. 

“To allow our heritage — with its culture and values — to be a vital presence in the contemporary age, we must reproduce this heritage in harmony with the spirit of the age. By this we do not mean breaking the past, just as we do not mean jumping into the present, instead it is a process of assimilating and harmonising our values with the cultural and social conditions of the age we live in.”The Peninsula

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