Monday, December 26, 2005

Where Is the Arab Media Outrage?

Dr. Khaled M. Batarfi
“So, where is your media outrage? Instead, you show Western hostage beheadings, allow Muslim fanatics to preach on TV and radio, and publish hate speeches against Christians and Jews. Where is the shame? Where are your principles? You should be campaigning for peace, tolerance and human rights and against intolerance, women and minority abuse, and religious fanaticism. That is the holy role of the media, Arab journalists!”
The above are not the exact words, but a summary of an American scholar’s comments during an international conference convened last week in Dubai on the role of the media to enhance security of Gulf states.
In my response, I said to him (in the general meeting and later in a smaller group discussion): What you are calling for is a classic academic and professional question discussed for ages in journalism schools and forums. Is our role to educate, preach and enlighten the public or just to provide accurate, updated and objective information? Do we campaign and rally for causes we support, or just provide an open marketplace of ideas and a neutral forum for debate and discussion?
The Western media in general, and the American in particular, stand for independence and neutrality: You give the masses well investigated and researched reports and news stories, supported by available evidence, background information and analysis. You allow all parties to have equal access to the public. You don’t take sides or make judgments, except in editorials. It is up to your audience to decide what and whom to believe, accept and side with. End of role.
When riots erupted in Los Angels after the acquittal of four white policemen accused of brutally beating black motorist Rodney King in 1991, the media professionally covered the events. They didn’t campaign for black rights or advocate a review of a long history of abuse and enslavement.
Journalists in non-democratic countries are justly accused of being tools of propaganda, mouthpieces of the rulers, and ideologically committed to one school of thought. They marginalize different viewpoints, campaign for certain causes, and serve their owners and controllers’ interests.
Most new independent media in the Arab world are moving away from the old ways. They attempt to provide as-is news and multi-perspective commentary. If you don’t like what is written, write a letter to the editor. If you don’t agree with a guest of a live show, call in and tell him so. If an opinion or a report on a website seems wrong, email them your correction. As long as your perspective, no matter how different or unique, is published or aired, you can’t complain about the equal opportunity and space given to those you disagree with.
In evaluating Arab media performance, we need to distinguish between mainstream media and underground outlets. The first is owned and supervised by governments and media corporations. Their policies prevent them from preaching religious hatred or siding with terrorists. After all, terrorists are enemies of the Arab states, as much as of the West. But at the same time, they cannot ignore their statements and actions. Professional coverage of events requires comprehensive reporting from all sides.
The non-licensed media are mostly Internet based. Comments are usually unsigned. Web blogs, electronic newsletters, mailing lists and discussion groups are uncensored and uncontrollable. Those are the ones who may preach and advocate, with impunity.
By the way, the mainstream media never aired or printed beheading videos and pictures, as some websites did. This turned the public against the perpetrators. The coverage of the suicide bombing of civilian compounds in Saudi Arabia and wedding parties in Jordan made most people see the ugliness of the terrorist organizations they may once have admired, believed or tolerated.
Finally, you cannot take media coverage out of context. The liberal US media tolerated outrageous breaches of constitutional principles after 9/11. Because they thought the administration was fighting a just war, they turned a blind eye to abuses of international rules, civil liberties and human rights — at home and abroad. Where was the outrage over the administration’s lies and sleazy and brutal tactics? Why did the New York Times accept the Bush administration’s request and delay a story about government eavesdropping on American citizens for a whole year? Where is the campaign against torture in CIA prisons around the world?
If the context allows for such tolerance on the American side, why can’t it also be applied to Arab media? After all, the media are supposed to reflect the public’s mood. In a world where the anger against Western policies has been boiling for decades, you can’t expect much sympathy for colonizers and occupiers. Instead, a minimum level of tolerance for some sort of violent reaction in response to even worse actions should be expected and accepted.

Friday, December 23, 2005

Unemployment: The Ticking Time Bomb

Dr. Khaled M. Batarfi

I just came back from two international conferences. The first, in Berlin, discussed Gulf states’ security, the other in Beirut was about “social issues in the eyes of the Arab media.” Both conferences highlighted a very clear and present danger: Unemployment.
In the Arab world, today, we face three dangers: Economic stagnation, political unrest and extremism. The first two inflame the third. Why have we had these problems for more than thirty years now with little signs of hope? Here is my take: Economic progress is based on creativity, liberty and the rule of law. Creativity cannot flourish in an environment of fear and police rule. Slaves and soldiers are trained not to think for themselves but to obey orders without a second thought. The rule of law can only be maintained with a system of checks and balances. You can’t get that in regimes that put all powers, executive and legislative, in the hands of one great leader or one group of decision makers who think of themselves as owners and not servants of the public. You can’t go far in an environment of unilateralism, nepotism, corruption and favoritism.
Since the creation of modern states in the Arab world, we were promised but so far denied these basic components of civilization and human rights. Most Arab countries today still insist on reforming without changing their mentality, attitude or corrupted systems. They offer opening windows without bringing down the ancient walls of tribalism, one-party rule and individual leadership. And when internal and external pressures persist, they make symbolic gestures, like releasing political prisoners, running sure-to-win presidential elections and allowing some live debate and media criticism that never reaches to the top and can be silenced anytime the givers decide to clamp down.
What does it take to solve the problem of unemployment in the Arab world? In the British Council-sponsored conference in Beirut we studied the worsening situation in leading Arab countries. The role of the media was extensively examined. But study after study showed that we need lots of immediate attention and extensive work to correct the underpinning problems.
Theoretical, political and ideological education systems are the biggest obstacle. Other administrational and social ills like nepotism, red tape, corruption, and state-dependent economies come next. Women as well as religious and racial minorities suffer the most, the young more than the old.
The newcomers to the job market, especially from these groups, find most seats already taken by those who won’t leave before they reach retirement age, beside the socially, economically or politically well-connected and the better prepared. The latter include those who were lucky enough to study in private or foreign schools in subject areas that were most needed, like foreign languages, computer science, engineering and medicine.
In my opinion, the best solution is to open up to the world. In this era of globalization you have no option anyway. So why don’t you start now at your own pace, and with your own initiative?
Opening up means you need to upgrade your standards. You cannot compete for investors if you cannot provide protection and guarantees for their investments. They need stable, workable, universally applicable laws. They expect a minimum level of transparency, accountability and openness. They are used to certain freedoms, liberties and rights. They must have unhindered access to certain government, legal, information and religious facilities.
We should provide their investments with updated and functioning infrastructure, such as communication services, public transportation and business amenities. We must upgrade our local talent, ease foreign recruitment in needed specialties and liberate our labor movement.
But first of all, we ought to change our isolationist, racist attitude towards foreigners. Our religion and Arab culture command us to be hospitable, kind and fair to our guests, no matter where they come from. Our current attitude is alien to what we are and what we stand for. It happens to be bad for business, too.
If we expand the dancing floor we don’t need to limit the number of dancers. In fact, we will have enough space for more outsiders who would enrich us with their talents, ideas and cultures. That is what made America, Canada and Australia such desirable destinations to the world’s best and brightest, including our own. Arab countries are not that crowded. There is enough room for many more people to join and enlighten the party.
Arab regimes don’t need to worry. Here we are not talking revolutions, but evolutional, short and mid-term solutions. Long term ones will present themselves if we start on the right track, at the right speed, with the right attitude.
What Arab regimes should worry about are the economic time bombs, such as unemployment. In the absence of social networks, like free social services and unemployment allowances, what options do frustrated, desperate and humiliated job seekers have?
Wrong turns might be the only available detours when the right road is blocked.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Our Youth’s Work Ethics and Attitude

Dr. Khaled Batarfi
Every time I hear one more businessman or corporate manager complaining about his young Saudi recruits, I know before he finishes his first sentence it is going to be a complaint about qualifications and discipline. I don’t exactly know why, but so many graduates go to the marketplace with little patience, work ethics and discipline, not to mention other shortcomings in training and skills.

We must admit that our education system has problems. For one, it tends to focus more on theory and ideology than practicality and job related skills. Some thirty-five years ago our schools taught English and French. Now, we are still debating whether English should be taught in elementary schools. Worse, English teachers need better training themselves. My son had to convince his teacher that “is” doesn’t have to be capitalized and some university students were confused about where to use “is” and “are”.

Computers in many schools and colleges still use DOS. Laps are rarely well equipped and handicraft workshops are not part of the curriculum. Libraries are stuffed mostly with religion, history and Arabic literature books. Academic libraries are heavily censored and rarely updated and lack many resources. Public libraries can be counted on one hand, and only in the major cities—please forget about smaller towns and villages.

Still, the educational system is not the only problem our youth have. The way we raise them is another. We teach them at an early age to follow the official line without any questioning. They are supposed to read only textbooks. Independent research is not encouraged. They are told exactly where in textbooks to study — or memorize — for exams. When they reach university, they expect — and get — the same treatment. After all, most of their teachers either gave up on them or are trained that way themselves — garbage in, garbage out.

Wherever they go, our young are not encouraged to think, search and invent. Following the set rules is the norm. Few dare to break them.

This explains why our graduates are underskilled. But the train doesn’t stop here. We have work ethic and attitude problems, as well. Somehow, this generation is worse than the previous. A couple of generations ago we were OK. Our fathers and grandfathers worked harder, produced more, and had a much better attitude towards work and higher ethical standards. Is there a turning point when our workforce started to deteriorate? If so, when and how? If not, where did we go wrong and why?

I would say the economic boom of 1975-82 had a lot to do with it. Along that way, we got used to having easy money and an easy life. A whole generation was brought up in such a corrupting environment. Then came the conservative change of the curriculum around 1982. For the next 23 years the curriculum guardians kept the books almost untouched. They probably feared that any change would make them less conservative. The focus in this system is on teaching not inspiring, memorizing not understanding, directing not exploring.

Why am I going back to the problem of education? Because in the absence of family, school is the most influential institution left in our kids’ upbringing.

But why is the family is absent? It is the economic boom again. It made parents leave the most tasking and vital duties of their children’s’ upbringing to domestic helpers, if not to the street. Fathers go home to rest before leaving again for more work, or to join friends to play cards, smoke shisha, and watch sports.

Mothers go from family and friend’s gatherings to parties, from shopping to social outings. The kids are left in the care of Filipino and Sir Lankan maids. Older kids are given freedom to play, shop, and chase girls.

There are other culprits, too. What have the media done to educate and enlighten? What has the corporate world done to train and retrain? Aramco, SABIC, banks and Saudi Arabian Airlines, and Abdullatif Jameel have achieved a lot by their focus on training, but what have the rest of our private sector been doing?

All the above are mere shots at the truth. I do know claim to know all the answers, but I do know that we need to talk. We need dialogue forums compromising experts, specialists, public and private decision makers, parents, and representatives of the new generation. We must discuss all issues in an open-minded format. No one group should censor, control or program our debate. It must be inclusive of all strands and stands — men and women, Sunni and Shia, liberal and conservative, and every shade of color in between.

Let’s do this, and answers will come rolling. Actions should immediately follow.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Our Youth, Reforms and Future

Dr. Khaled Batarfi

How do you make your youth more responsible, humanistic, and appreciative of their country, heritage and art? How can you make them more loving and lovable, caring and considerate? What changes you should apply to your education system and the way children are brought up? And how can we help some of them be less self-centered, violent, and hateful of the different other?
Is this a tall order? Not if all concerns are symptoms of the same illness. Not if the medicine comes in one package. Not if the alternative is self-destruction.
Why now? Why suddenly we have this problem and need urgent solution? And how can we solve it without antagonizing a powerful segment of our society and authority?
First, it is not a new problem; only our awareness of it is new. A whole generation was born in the middle of an economic boom that lasted seven years from 1975 to 1982. It started with the oil boycott crisis, Iranian revolution and Iraq-Iran war, and then quickly plunged into a long lasting recession.
With the huge and sudden influx of cash and foreign products, people and values, our morals and ways of life changed — not always for the better — and the virus of materialism ran into our system.
At the other end, a conservative movement went on the offensive. Worried of losing to new trends and modern decadence, they fought furiously. When Johaiman’s violent crusade to militarily change our world was defeated, the fundamentalist movement continued the challenge intellectually.
Since we were concerned that we might have strayed too far from the roots of our conservative society, we listened to them and swallowed too much of their prescribed medicine.
Some of us agreed, more were in doubt, and many revolted. The social balance and coherence were lost in the furious clash of principles, doctrines and religious interpretation.
Today, we stand to harvest what the winning school of thought single-handedly seeded in the last twenty-five years. Unrivaled and hardly checked or questioned, they made a lot of system alteration, curriculum change, school penetration, media watching, social progress administration, intellectual censorship, and comprehensive preaching and training.
Today, they are on the defensive, but they still stand by their strong-headed beliefs, resisting change and finding ways to continue their crusade. They are still influential in all the wrong places — schools, mosques and religious establishments.
Second, it is high time we did something about that section of our youngsters which lacks in worldly awareness, sympathy and direction. Those with no proper contact with the other half and the other who is different in religion, school of thought, race, language and culture tend to get confused, suspicious, and even hateful of them.
Exploited by people with extremist agendas, those angry and religiously motivated youngsters can be foot soldiers of dangerous ideologies. There is no more dangerous a soldier than the one who has no regrets, has nothing to lose, and is ready to take his own life for a cause.
Our experience shows that the only way to neutralize them is to eradicate them or re-educate them. The Interior Ministry’s re-education campaign has proved so successful that many ex-extremists are now working for the program that saved them to save others.
Third, we have no choice but to urgently solve the problem. If we keep ignoring it, denying its existence or leaving it to the healing of time, two terrible things would certainly happen.
One, the problem will persist, if not worsen, as long as the elements that produced it, the environment that encouraged it, and the rules that tolerated it are still in place.
Two, the world that waited too long for us to act will eventually get sick and tired of waiting. The least the rest could do is to leave us behind in their march toward a more integrated, liberated and prosperous world. Isolation is not an option in the New World Order.
Internally, the wiser and brighter might get the same message and reach the same conclusion — it is a hopeless case. Again two bad things might happen. They might get paralyzingly depressed. Or they may just leave us and pursue better life and future somewhere else. We can’t afford either.
So what do we do? There are a lot of proposed changes and reforms. We already know what we need to do, but disagree on the extent and speed. Shall we wait for everyone to come on board, or take the willing and move on? Do we take the winding country road or use the highway? If the latter, do we run in the fast or slow lane?
So far, we opted for the slower road of consensus-building to minimize friction and confrontation. No one is ready for a social upheaval — not in the middle of our war on terror and extremism.
I could be wrong. But this might prove too little, too late.

Empowering the Saudi Youth for the World

Dr. Khaled Batarfi
So what do we do to rescue our kids from the hell of extremism to the heaven of tolerance, love and peaceful coexistence?
I always say that solving a problem starts with a good, sincere question. Answers come automatically if you provide an environment of free thought, speech, and press.
Here is a good example. I raised similar questions in my last couple of articles and good answers were given to me on a golden plate.
It seems Dr. Haifa Jamal Al-Lail, dean of Effat College for Girls, and Dr. Ghazi Binzagr were studying the same problem and coming up with creative, practical solutions.
We are members of the International Relations Committee (IRC) of Jeddah Chamber of Commerce and Industry (JCCI). Our Chairman Amr Khashoggi asked us to think of ways of training our youth on how to communicate, appreciate and project our country and culture. Haifa and Ghazi came back with the following plan:
Saudi Arabian Youth Ambassadors Program is dedicated to creating world-class ambassadorship. It has three basic strategies. One, to instill three identities: An understanding of the Saudi identity, an appreciation of the Arabian identity and the centrality of the Arabic language to it, and a deep admiration and respect for a tolerant global Islamic identity.
Two, to teach basic personal and interpersonal communication skills to guarantee maximum effectiveness of their communication with the world.
Three, to ensure that these programs will move the youths from the local to the global arena gradually and with wisdom (Hikmah).
The plans have three phases. The First Phase is entitled (Safwa) which means “select elite” in Arabic. It is also an acronym for the first letters of Saudi Arabian Future World Ambassadors.
The plan will find, recruit, and locally train Saudi youths to prepare them to become youth ambassadors to the world.
It will also select events that can become the building blocks for the first phase of the Saudi youth international empowerment program. The Second Phase is entitled (Safeer), which means ambassador in Arabic. Here, Saudi youths will be sent to selected parts of the world to participate in visits designed to link them with the world and help them understand how other countries work while also giving them the chance to represent Saudi Arabia to the world.
Selected youths will be sent to a country or two as samples of building blocks that can later become the foundation of Phase Two of the program.
The Third Phase (Majlis) which means “gathering” or “council” in Arabic is dedicated to creating a Saudi/International Youth Council.
The sponsors of such a plan will be ready to help Saudi youths host a first event in Saudi Arabia inviting youths from around the world (or selected countries) for dialogue, exchange, and understanding. If successful, we may choose to institutionalize this effort into a permanent Majlis: The Saudi Arabian Youth Ambassadors Council.
The Action Plan for the First Phase will prepare 30-40 Saudi males and females to be ambassadors. The goal is to instill the Saudi Arabian, Arab and Muslim identities in young Saudi participants by lectures, training, field trips and discussion forums.
Lectures will explore the history, geography, social, economic, and political system of Saudi Arabia. They will also provide brief historical and socioeconomic and political information about the targeted foreign country.
Training will focus on basic personal, interpersonal and diplomatic communication skills and languages.
In the field trips, Saudi participants will visit cities and villages in Saudi Arabia, religious sites and foreign diplomatic missions (embassies and consulates) for the purpose of awakening in the participants a deep sense of purpose and identity.
The plans also call for a small forum for participants with the Saudi foreign minister, Saudi and foreign ambassadors so they learn more about foreign affairs. It will also train them in debating skills and give them practical experiences.
Executing the plan will require strong commitment from IRC members and all related public and private sponsors and parties for the entire program.
Recognition (certificate or trophy) would be given to all youth participants as an incentive to attract them and retain them for the entire program.
Funding should be available through sponsorship and support for processing the three phases required for the whole program. Crucial logistical controls must be in place before the program can be launched.
Selection of foreign country must take place before the program begins.
I congratulated Haifa and Ghazi on a project well done, and I offered to publish it in my column, hoping more interest from concerned parties would give it a head start. We need more of such plans ... more of such planners ... and more of as many enthusiastic participants, helpers and executors.
No problem is too big for a solution. As long as there is a will, there is always a way.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Ways of Dialogue With the Other

Dr. Khaled M. Batarfi

Once I asked Abdullah, my young conservative friend, to join me in a “diwania” (weekly gathering). He was surprised to find people with diverse views among my friends. There were liberals and Islamists, those who belonged to the left or the right, and those, like myself, of the middle.
We talked and discussed. After heated discussions someone cracked a joke and we all laughed. On the dinner table we seemed to have forgotten our differences altogether. Abdullah couldn’t understand this. On our way back, he was thinking and pondering. Finally he asked: “How could you all be friends? How could you discuss divisive issues like curriculum change, roots of terrorism, minority and women rights, extremism, the attitude of youngsters, and joining the World Trade Organization and not get angry with each other? Early in the evening I thought you hated each other. One camp was almost shouting at the other. Then some of you came to an agreement. Others were whispering in the ears of the people they disagreed with earlier. And then you all joked and laughed like nothing happened. I might not understand, but please try explaining, anyway.”
I tried. I told him that in Islamic civilization, as in any other, people have not only the right but also the obligation to a free debate on all issues of concern to some or all. Since heated debates do cause fractions, dislike and anger, golden rules were set. They are almost alike everywhere. Basically, you express yourself as you wish, as long as you don’t insult the personal feelings of others. Talk about public issues as strongly as you like but never go personal with your opponents. Even if you disrespect his position, respect his person, and his/her right to speak his/her mind.
Abdullah thought for a while, and then looked hopelessly at me and said: “I need time to absorb all this. You see, I was raised in all-of-one-idea environment. We debate, yes, but within the same boundaries, under the umbrella of the same school of thought, representing different angles of the same issue. The other camps have always been alien to us. They represent the rival if not the enemy. You cannot be friends with others without their subscribing to your school of thought. Besides, these disagreements are too serious to be forgiven in a minute. It is not sports. You cannot just fight it out in the field or fan club, and then leave hand-in-hand. This goes against how I was raised. You may convince me intellectually that this is the true Islamic way, but I would need lots of time and effort to change my natural response and attitude.”
I wish Abdullah were a lone case. Unfortunately, he is typical of many young people raised by some teachers, scholars, trainers and fathers to be of one idea, one group, one way. They are not used to dialogue with the others. When they confront alternative stands and thoughts, they either avoid it or fight it. Whether the fight is mental or physical, they can’t help shielding their heads and hearts against the other’s message. They feel guilty for talking nicely to holders of contradicting thoughts.
Labeling is their best game. Instead of analyzing and attempting to understand the other’s point of view, they take the easy way out by judging people’s intentions and classifying them accordingly. So, I was called in different settings, by different people, or even the same ones, so many names. In a party, last Tuesday, I was labeled by the same person as Salafi (fundamentalist), Ikhwani (of the Muslim Brotherhood), liberal and American stooge. How can I wear all these hats and kofyas at once? Go figure! So, we do have a problem. Once we recognize it and decide to face it rather than ignore and deny it as we did for ages, it is not a hopeless case. Like Abdullah, many youngsters can be impressed. With comprehensive, well-planned and thought-out, enduring and relentless program we could change even the die-hards. At least we could teach them how to make a useful dialogue.
The idea is not necessarily to makeover people, but to teach them how to be civilized: Respectful, reasonable and sensible in dealing with the different other. They could insist on their beliefs if they so wish. They could preach and try to convince us to move over to their side of any argument. But they should do so following our Islamic rules of debate (Fegh alkhelaf), not by force, not with hate, disrespect and dissidence.
By the way, Abdullah became an active member of our “diwania.” He turned out to be a wonderful debater. Told you! It is not over, yet!

Our Missing Middle

Dr. Khaled M. Batarfi
What is the difference between our right and left? I was asked this recently by a bright Saudi student. I said it was the missing middle. She thought for a moment then asked: What are we supposed to be as a nation? I told her: We are the nation of the middle, as the Qur’an has described us. But that we should tolerate those on both sides.
Again, she paused. Then she came back with a stronger question: “Why would we tolerate the extremists on both sides? We are a young nation starting our way on the road of progress and development. Do we need these divisions and dividers to distract us? They could continue their fight in prison, where they belong, but we cannot afford to have them around wasting our time and energy with their intellectual, if not physical, fight.”
I reminded her that we are not new to development and progress. The Umma ruled the world for centuries. We introduced Europe to science, medicine, astronomy and technology. Today, we are restarting, not starting on that road.
Great nations read their history well before importing experiences and experiments from others. Our culture not only allows but calls for sophisticated, civilized debates. The Qur’an is full of such debates. Allah has debated with the non-believers and believers alike, including his prophets. Remember His debates with Abraham, Moses, Muhammad (peace be upon them) and their peoples? He never says believe the hereafter because I said so. No, he gave evidence of His being and supported His statements with logical and physical proofs. His prophets did the same with the extremists and doubters.
To follow this divine example, we should allow for all kinds of peaceful expressions of thought, marketing of perspectives, and discussion of ideas. Let the left and right and all those in between make their cases and defend their positions and try as best as they can to bring us over to their sides.
As long as this is done without hurting personal feelings, attacking personalities, enlisting authorities or denying the others their equal right to free association, thought and expression, we will do fine. After all, we are a young nation, with educated and open-minded citizens among us. We are mature enough to listen to all, and, at the end of the day, make our own stand and take our own position.
Those who deny the other party their day in the court of public opinion, are not sure of their ability to persuade or, worse, of the validity of their case. If they are as sure-footed as they pretend, why would they censor academic libraries and international book fairs? Why are certain groups not allowed to present or defend their “mathhab,” doctrine or stand? How come one school of thought is the one and only voice heard, taught and preached? After they had their chance for decades to establish their ideologies in our heads, why can’t they trust us enough to listen to other points of views? Is it because they don’t believe in our ability to distinguish right from wrong, or because they don’t believe in their ability to convince us? Is it that they don’t believe in us or don’t believe in themselves?
My young friend looked at me tentatively, while absorbing what I had just said. Then she smiled and flashed her bright large eyes at me said: “Man! You know what you just said? You are telling me that all what we were taught, read and trained in all our life, is one-sided stuff. That we need to re-educate, reread, retrain ourselves all over again to absorb other schools of thought, other trends and perspectives, and to open up to the rest of the civilized world. This is a huge order! This is not an evolution, but a revolution! This is like reliving your life in a different a world, starting from scratch. Man! This is mass killing of our present characters and the remake of another!”
I laughed and said: “Girl! How lazy your generation can be! All that is needed for those who have already graduated from such a learning experience is to have a taste of a new one. For those who are still entering education, we should change the parameters of their experience, allow them more freedom to explore on their own, and let them come up with their own conclusions.
“We should stop breastfeeding them after their infant years, so they can depend on themselves the rest of their lives. We must open the world for them to research and study, discover and communicate with others, instead of limiting them to our own. How hard can this be for them? After all, babysitting people is harder than letting them grow on their own.”