News from the Arab Press

A Message To Our Grandchildren

By Asaf Zilberfarb | The Media Line

February 11, 2019

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Al-Qabas, Kuwait, February 7

Dear grandchildren. I decided to write to you and ask what I have already asked my own grandchildren: When you visit your elderly relatives please take the opportunity to speak with them and with one another. Don’t be preoccupied with your smartphones, from which you cannot take your eyes off. I know you love your devices. I know that no matter what I say, you will stay connected to them through your umbilical cords. I won’t even bother citing experts’ warnings about how phone usage can easily turn into an addiction. I write to you because the written word is the one that will eventually prevail. After the departure of your elderly relatives from this world, it will be the letters and photographs that will remain with you. I write to you because schools no longer teach proper Arabic. Instead, your generation has developed a hybrid language that combines Arabic and English. Many of you cannot even write a short essay. I know what you will say. I want to assure you that I am not against modern means of communication and learning that relies on electronic devices. However, I am wary that your devices have become the only thing that sustains you. The relationships you have developed have become ones between devices, not between humans. Yes, I am old, and I don’t belong to your generation. Yes, I might be outdated. I was born and raised during a different time. But my goals in life are just like yours: I wanted to grow old with a loving family by my side. I wanted to sit with my grandchildren, share stories and listen to theirs. This is virtually impossible when children today are glued to their screens. We must never forget our humanity. Relationships are cultivated in person, not through texts. Please don’t forget that. –Fatna Shaker

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