3G’s of Modern Urban Societies

Mohamedarif M Suleman 

(Nairobi, Kenya)

After constantly reading about the 4P’s of this and the 3C’s of that, it is no doubt that the title of this article must have caught your eye.  So if it has, and the if the fascination to the title has subsided into realism, then comprehend that this is perhaps list of shame, as you may choose to call it.  The 4P’s of Marketing and the 3C’s of Knowledge are perhaps associated with the “How to..” manuals of living but when it comes to the 3G’s of modern urban societies, there is little to learn from it.

Glamour, Glitz and Gaiety.

In a recent letter published in a business monthly in East Africa, the writer – a Christian by name, criticizes the paradoxical role that big beverage companies play in the positive direct development of nations against a ghastly backdrop of devastation for the youth.  The youth.  A word Khoja Shia Ithnasheries are so fond of for the last three decades, or more that this statement alone is bound to nurture further flavour for the subject at hand.  David, the Writer, tragically states, “An increase in teenage alcohol consumption is putting youngsters at risk.  Teenagers are binge drinking at a younger age and nobody seems to be caring.  Substance abuse experts are also reporting people as young as 16 years with alcohol dependence and say easy access to alcoholic drinks is the main contributing factor.”

He further ensues, “An important current feature of young people’s drinking is the importance of the “buzz”.  Many young people now drink in order to get drunk.  Drunkenness is widely tolerated, indeed positively approved…It is this pattern that tends to receive celebrity endorsement in young people’s media and it is reflected in the common assumption that if young party-goers can remember what they were doing, then they cannot have had a very good time; quite unfortunate indeed.”

While David’s concerns are vociferous, categorical and focused, they are buried in a heap of troubles and tragedies that have befallen our new generation that is slowly taking them away from the promise of eternal bliss and into the vicinity of the grand inferno.  With that, each one of us, members of our respective societies stand equally punishable by divine law as we shun the true realities of modern day urban living and hide beneath the culture of “My child? Never.”, or “We like to mind our own business”.

The New World Order prescribes, propagates and preaches to our young, right under our noses that Glamour (G1), oops read nudity and attitude, Glitz (G2), symbolic of Shaitan’s promise to Allah (SWT) of a glittery world embezzling the “your followers”, and gaiety (G3), sexual permissiveness, whether within the same sex or with the opposite gender, but necessarily for enjoyment and devoid of responsibility and boundaries.  But are we alive and awake to this fundamental ritual that is intoxicating our youths at an alarming rate and with the speed of woodpecker, to borrow from a rarely-used cliché?

Gentlemen and ladies, to hide behind the cultural barrier in thinking that your child is receiving the same spiritual attention as you did when you were an adolescent, then this is fallacy of its utmost kind.  For the pressures, the demands and the prerequisites of membership into youth groupings not only tolerate, but make available all of these 3Gs in aplenty.  One should neither read this article in a personalized spirit, nor should the content be translated to mean that all of our youths are prey to these vices.  Nay, undoubtedly, there will be many exceptions to this rule, but to imagine without information, background or sufficient knowledge that Shaitan, who once cleverly tried to influence even a Prophet against his own parents (recall the incident of Nabi Ismail before the sacrifice), is truly reflective of our ignorance, naievity and helpless agony.

This call is to all parents.  Regardless of our manners of upbringing, we must borrow heavily from that incident of Shaitan’s woeful attempt, because we are worse off today then people were at that time.  Then, Shaitan was ensembling disguises to stray his prey, today he is everywhere – in the form of alcoholic and drug pushing football stars, who our sons revere; in the form of gorgeous young female pop and cinema stars barely covering their bodies, who our daughters adore and wish to model; in the form of indirect invitations through friends, television, movies, music, the internet towards more bold professions such as modeling, and the like, which our children collectively watch and swoon over; in the form of constant reminders by advertisers, movie makers, newspapers, lifestyle magazines that one must gratify audaciously their desires for sex, power and money.  In all their innocence, our children, not superior in creative design to the besieged Prophet, continue to be at a massive disadvantage against this embodiment of evil and deceit.

If all parents, bolt up their act, not aggressively but within the friendly and calm atmosphere that they have carved in the homes (hopefully), and monitor with effectiveness and astute leadership; if they indeed redirect and divert the interest in symbols and celebrities of bad to those of the good, then the prayer in the qunoot of this day of ‘Idd (Wa an-tudkhilani fi kulli khayrin Muhammad wa ‘aale Muhammad, wa an tukhrijani min kulli soo-in Muhammadan wa ‘aale Muhammad…) will be actualized in all of our lives.

It is strange to think that whereas children growing up in the 1930s had little access to pornographic material or the power to purchase vice, parents were rather strict and aware.  In the 2000s, we claim to be more aware, more enlightened and more educated, and despite acknowledging the superior power that our children yield, we sometimes behave as though they are far more responsible than even we are.  So, in the final analysis, who is a more efficient parent – the one in 1930, or we the modern day urban-thinking, cash-oriented ones? And how do you reflect on David’s sentiment anyway on the unrestrained power that commerce has over our children?

About the author

Mohamedarif is a marketing professional and educationalist with a penchant for writing as a hobby since childhood. As he experimented writing about sporting events at first and then current affairs, he quickly developed a skill for observation of his environment and began to write on reform topics, especially in connection with the community. To further feed his pursuit of writing, he founded several newsletters and bulletins at his school and at the Husayni Madrasah in the 1980's, all the time learning from others already in the field not just about writing, but also about pre-press and production processes. He was also the editor-in-chief of the Knowledge Magazine in 1995–1996. A decade later, importing a flurry of ideas into his new home, Nairobi, he first founded a two page community newspaper then became a regular writer of the Friday Faculty before establishing the Community on Friday, a fully fledged Madrasah magazine in 1996. And while his writing at the community continued, he simultaneously started writing for a business weekly, pairing in with his newfound role as a marketing professional. During his time in Nairobi, he wrote several speeches for sitting chairmen and presidents while also giving some himself, developing his concurrent role as a public speaker and trainer.

With changing times and a decrease in advertising sponsorship, as well as a fall in overall readership, Mohamedarif transformed this publication into an electronic blog. Thus was born the Community on Friday in its present format.

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