Moral pollution (Part 2) [Archives:2008/1195/Community]

October 2 2008

Adnan Al-Halmi
[email protected]

In my previous article, I discussed several aspects of moral pollution that are occurring within Yemeni society. In this piece, I'll shed some light on two more issues of moral pollution that are spread substantially throughout the Arab world: language and identity, and media content.

First, the Arabic language appears to be on the verge of collapse and possible extinction, while other languages are being promoted and are prospering globally; for example, English, which is used worldwide. However, what's more astonishing is that Hebrew, which hasn't been used for many years, now is reemerging on the horizon and taking hold among its people.

Unfortunately, our people are neglecting our Arabic language, even though it has a greater heritage than practically any other language. The reason for this is due to learning a new language before comprehending the culture of one's own mother tongue; thus, those institutions concerned must pay attention to such significant matters.

In today's world, it's required to learn other languages so that one will be able to know about other cultures because culture is embedded within language. However, it's more important to learn and comprehend one's mother tongue before learning another language because it includes one's heritage, legacy, honor, pride and identity.

So what draws my attention is the enormous increase in learning a foreign language at the expense of one's mother tongue. This involves learning a foreign language during the primary stages of education, when an individual has an insufficient knowledge of his mother tongue's culture, which may create problems such as despising the mother tongue. This is attributable to the fact that he or she doesn't have a sufficient knowledge of their own language.

What's more regrettable is that when we learn a new language, we try our utmost to imitate that language's culture, norms and habits. As a result, this may lead to eradicating our culture and identity, as has happened in some countries.

I'm not opposed to learning a new language in addition to one's mother tongue, but I recommend that one first be fortified in his or her own language and culture and then he or she will be culturally authorized to learn a language due to the culture embedded within language.

With the advance of globalization, everything has become possible and easy to attain, particularly in the field of media. At the same time, unlike in the past, it has become more difficult to face and tackle the media invasion that's roaring upon the horizon of Arab lands simply through prevention.

In this position, one is publicly naked and may be affected by such media invasion unless he or she is well-schooled in his or her own culture, values and principles. Thus, holding onto one's culture and language protects him or her from moral pollution because this type of pollution, if you should happen to be diagnosed with it, is difficult to be cured of for many years.

Another dangerous issue likely to directly spoil our values and destroy our cultural ethics is the media content that is digitally transferred via digital instruments. In my opinion, such content is overloaded with Western values, which I fear will distort and mix up our conservative society's morals.

Indeed, those responsible should remain alert to these matters to protect our future generations from cultural collapse and loss of identity in order to avoid this type of moral pollution.

I hope that I've discussed this topic in a logical way without prejudice. Further, I hope readers will understand this subject, as their opinions are greatly appreciated.