Social Media – The New Colosseum

Jumanah Salama (@Juma_nah4)

Jumanah Salama (@Juma_nah4)

Jumanah is a Media and Communication graduate from King Abdulaziz University in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. Her fields of interest lay in the studies of humanities and through her articles she seeks to create a bridge between sociology and social media.
Jumanah Salama (@Juma_nah4)

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Today we circulate graphic images and inhumane videos in hopes of awakening a part of the human mind that has yet to be desensitized.

Artwork by Marwah Fuad (Twitter: @marwah_f1, Instagram: @ElMeem_Artistry)

Between 70-80 A.D., ancient Rome has built an open-air venue famously known as the Colosseum for entertainment. You can hardly imagine the Colosseum without the association of brutal, vicious, and masculine gladiators fighting wild animals or one another to death in front of a raging chanting crowd of 50,000 people. The gladiators’ combats played a key role in desensitizing the Roman public by normalizing violence as a form of entertainment; it became a part of their culture. It’s no wonder they had one of the largest empires in history; death and violence became the norm to them as it is becoming today. To desensitize a person or the public is to gradually normalize an act by exposure without actually experiencing it (in the beginning, at least).

In the present day, we no longer go to colosseums to see violence; we open our smartphones. We watch teenagers beating up an old man on YouTube; we see a woman being degraded on Twitter; and we open Instagram to see a photo of a child being strangled by an outraged father in an act of revenge against the mother. Later we turn on our TV only to see another bombing in war-torn countries. In movies, another hero killing the villain as we cheer them on, and in music videos as the singer brags about his guns.

In a study conducted by Brad J. Bushman of the University of Michigan and VU University Amsterdam, and Craig A. Anderson of Iowa State University, aimed to prove that exposure to violent media reduces aid offered to people in pain. In one of their studies, they had one group of people attend violent movies, and one group attend non-violent movies. Upon exiting the theater, the subjects saw a woman with an injured ankle, struggling to pick up her crutches. According to the study, “Participants who had just watched a violent movie took longer to help than participants who didn’t. Their findings suggest that violence in media makes people numb to the pain and suffering of others.” – The Baltimore Zeitgeist

This repetitive and constant, exposure has normalized violence not only to adults, as in the Colosseum, but to children as well. When we’re notified by our apps that a solider has died or a couple has died in a car accident we simply swipe it off the screen, since we’ve already seen that multiple times on our smartphones or TV this week, right? It’s no longer an issue, we simply disregard it. Today we circulate graphic images and videos of inhumane actions in hopes of awaking a part of the human mind that has yet to be desensitized. The media is our worldwide modern Colosseum.


References:

Unpaid Domestic Work: A Tale of Disproportionate Gender Representation

Alia Al Hazami (@AliaAlHazami)

Alia Al Hazami (@AliaAlHazami)

Column: Hidden Promises
Alia is an AUS student double majoring in International Studies and English literature. She is also the author of Alatash fictional novel. Her main goal is to make a change and empower the youth. Her column is meant to help the younger generations deal with tough situations. It was given that title as hidden promises is what us teenagers often believe; false promises.
Alia Al Hazami (@AliaAlHazami)

How come women’s unpaid work is considered unimportant to the development of society and isn’t counted within its GNP.

Artwork by Hayat AlHassan (@HayatAlH)

Despite common belief, there has never been a time in history where women did not work. The work done by women that usually gets disregarded is that of unpaid domestic nature. Unpaid work is usually defined as the work that is done within the household, such as cleaning, sewing, cooking, and cultivating one’s own land. In history, women took on the roles of nurturers to both children and land. They carried children in their womb, raised them, and contributed to the agricultural development of society. In modern society, the contribution of women in the domestic realm continues to be disregarded despite the constant calls for the advancement of women.

In 1995, the Human Development Report released by the United Nations Development Programme stated that there is a skewed distribution of work between men and women. Women’s burden of work accounts for over 50% in both developing and industrial countries. Moreover, roughly two-thirds of women’s work is unpaid, creating a gender disparity in the workforce. The unpaid work mentioned above is done in the private sphere, that is the household; therefore, deeming it invaluable to the public sphere.

However, unpaid work, although unaccounted for in the Gross National Production (GNP) is of extreme value. Lourdes Beneria, Professor Emerita at Cornell University, stated that a number of economic studies showed that “the value of unrecorded activities, a high proportion of which are performed by women, might range between one-third to one-half of measured GNP”. Beneria assesses the issue of disregarding women’s work by linking unpaid work to capitalism. She explains that in capitalist economies, the market is viewed as the core of economic activity. Anything that does not occur in the market is believed to be economically insignificant.

In addition to domestic tasks such as cooking and cleaning, women took on chores that overlapped with the need of society. With the industrial revolution, several products and services no longer were confined to the private sphere but were later on exposed to the public sphere (the market). Those products and services are those initially created and performed within the household. As such, when products that were a result of home craft such as mats, clothing, baskets, pots and services such as haircutting and medical assistance leave the domestic realm, women’s contribution should automatically be part of the GNP.

Despite the continuous neglect of women’s contribution, there has been a certain level of improvement. There are efforts to include subsistence production, which is the output of one’s production for own use, into the category of agriculture in the GDP. However, estimating subsistence activities is very complex as it differs from one place to another. Beneria expressed that once the market criteria did not apply, economic activities became arbitrary. Therefore, statistical disparities between countries develop, further discouraging the acknowledgment of women’s unpaid work.

Complications exist in the mission to account women’s unpaid work, but hope for reform is not farfetched. The battle against the invisibility of women’s work has not been won, but we are on our way. One of the ways in which we can reach equality is in recognition of unpaid work. Women deserve to have their hard work rewarded, as such, being compensated financially would benefit in demolishing the negative outlook of domestic work being insignificant. Women’s work cannot be neglected any further. Policy makers need to revise statistical methods in measurement frameworks and include women’s unpaid work, as it is a vital component in the functioning of society.

To The Ones Who Got Killed In The Name Of Honor

Lulwa A.M. (@A_Lulwaal)

Lulwa is a growing writer and artist from Kuwait. She holds a BBA in International Management. She is an aspiring philanthropist, an avid reader, an enthusiast for knowledge, a feminist and a cosmopolitan. Her major topics of interest, which are reflected in her articles, include cultural diversity, tolerance, women empowerment, literature, and education. Lulwa also reviews books on her Instagram account.

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Countless women are killed every year in the name of honor; our societies harbor such injustice and we are all passive participants.

Picture by Hayat Al Hassan (@HayatAlH)

Almost every evening, when the inhabitants of the oldest apartment building in the outskirts of the youngest and most urbanized city in the country were supposedly in a deep sleep, a certain man beats his wife. Selim, a 14-year-old boy in this oldest apartment building, laid in bed as loud thuds seeped from the apartment above and shook the chandelier clinging onto his bedroom ceiling. Every morning, the neighbors wake up as if they had been asleep all night and had not heard a single thud transported by the passive walls. On this ordinary day, following an evening of the unspeakable ritual of beatings, Selim ran down the apartment building’s staircase in an attempt to arrive in time for his morning class. The red strokes scarring the staircase brought him to a halt. An aching unease crawled in the depths of his soul as he heard the news from his neighbors. He ran back to his living room breathless, his face pale and mouth dry. “Did you hear about the woman that got murdered last night?” He asked his mother, a senior woman of about 50 years old. Casually, his mother replied, “Which one? The shameless one who cheated on her husband, or the one that converted from Christianity to Islam?” His face drained of blood as he witnessed his mother’s flippant attitude towards a crime punishable by law.

This reality seems like something we would read in a Gabriel Garcia Marquez novel or watch in a documentary on the topic of women oppression in the Middle East. Unfortunately, honor killings are real and are considered to be the most extreme form of Gender-Based Violence (GBV) and a violation of the most basic human right, the right to life. “Honor killing” is the act of killing a person who has breached a society’s “honor code”, which is a result of deeply ingrained social, patriarchal and cultural preconceptions of how one should behave. Mostly, women are the victims of such honor killings as a society’s “honor code” expects women to be modest, pure, and virginal in order to uphold the honor of her family, while men are not chained by these expectations. Throughout time and across many cultures, men are known to protect, care and be responsible for their families, especially the female members. Women’s behavior represents how well the men in their families are able to conserve their households, and thus any behavior that deviates from the “honor code” tend to bring shame upon the men in the family, who will be perceived as weak for not being able to uphold and respect cultural values. Thus, honor and masculinity are synonymous, and men would go to great lengths to gain and maintain it. Many consider honor killings as the perfect way to regain lost honor. The points discussed above don’t cause much controversy.

However, there are many misconceptions regarding honor killings. While the media tends to locate honor killings in Middle Eastern and Islamic countries, the United Nations Commissioner on Human Rights reports cases occurring in Brazil, India, Ecuador, and Uganda as well as in Islamic countries. Monotheistic religions in general and Islam in specific tend to be blamed for producing the concept of honor killings, as it is derived from an adulterer’s punishment of being stoned to death. Surprisingly, honor crimes originated in Europe, more specifically from Article 324 of the Napoleonic Penal Code, which states that a husband who kills his wife as a punishment for adultery is excused[1]. Furthermore, murder in the name of honor is not prescribed by any interpretation of the Sharia; there are no verses in the holy Quran and no saying of Prophet Mohammad (pbuh) that authorizes such crimes.

On the contrary, the Sharia strongly prohibits the killing of any person without rightful reasons. Islamic teachings do not allow people to take the law into their own hands and commit murder, regardless of the crime. Although Islam does impose the capital punishment for certain crimes, no one person can act as the judge and executioner, except the judge himself. Although honor killings are a global problem that did not originate in the Middle East or by Islam, this does not mean that the Middle Eastern society is not responsible for binding it to social norms.

It is important to point out that governments should not be blamed solely for permitting honor crimes; it is a collaborative effort between them and their collectively passive societies in harboring values that excuse honor crimes. All societies have to acknowledge that there is nothing honorable about these murders. The continuing problem of honor killings does not only say something about the families that approve of it or the killers who act upon it, but also portrays a defect in the way men and women are raised and what they are taught to be normal. The term “honoring killing” clouds culpability. It cloaks acts of gender violence with one of the highest human aspirations — honor. As a result, those who kill for honor go unpunished. It is time to understand that women should not be held responsible for maintaining communal honor, but should be treated as individuals responsible for their own actions. Honor crimes are not women problems. Once we say they are women problems, men tend to neglect and distance themselves from the issue. They are men problems, as the perpetrators are men acting with ignorance and a handicapped notion of what is ethical. Their impaired idea of a justice system is partial to women, as men who breach a society’s honor code are not punished as women are.

So on this ordinary day, Selim was wounded with the long and abundant strokes of blood smeared on the staircase. Too much rage and resentment could be seen with each smear. The vast display of red that stretched before the eyes of his memory provoked a ball of furry to roll down his chest and nestle in his stomach. He failed to comprehend how such brutality is equated to justice. As night fell, Selim lay in bed and peered into the pitch-black streets. “She deserved it… she deserved it”, he repeated. His conscience was as silent as the moonless night, and just as dark. Unconvinced, he observed the grandeur of the distant city and its indifference to her death. He was suddenly seized by a profound loneliness; he knew he couldn’t face this injustice alone.


[1] Jason Payne-James and Roger W. Byard, Encyclopedia of forensic and legal medicine (Amsterdam: Elsevier, 2016).

Connecting the Dots between Mind, Body, and Soul

Bahar Al Awadhi (@bahargpedram)

Bahar Al Awadhi (@bahargpedram)

Column Name: The Words Within
Bahar is a recruiter by profession, an aspiring writer by night, and a mom of toddler twins. She has an unending thirst for learning, as she completed her BComm in Canada, an MA in Dubai, and continues to develop herself with reading and research.
With her column, she shares her journey as she grows and learns more about this crazy beautiful world we live in.
Bahar Al Awadhi (@bahargpedram)

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Exploring the narrow-minded approach of many doctors when it comes to treating their patients.

Artwork by Hamda AlMansoori (instagram: @Planet64, twitter: @planetsixtyfour)

Have you ever been sick and ended up with a doctor that simply did not care enough to find out what is really wrong with you? Some doctors tend to be robotic, simply going through a checklist of questions, and prescribing a standardized set of medication to practically anyone who walks through the door. And worst of all, some of these doctors do not even have the etiquette of dealing effectively with patients, ignoring any sort of interpersonal skills, eye contact, and not providing them the space to ask questions.

As someone who has dealt with chronic health issues since birth, I have come across all types of doctors, many of whom have fallen into the above category. The health issues I face are not of one organ, and as such, I need to see different specialists, most of whom do not have the means or understanding to work with one another to find a solution. It ends up with me chasing different doctors, and getting a different prognosis from each, when in reality, it should be dealt with as a whole.

The major concern I have is that there is no effort from many of the doctors out there to look at the bigger picture and understand the patient. They treat only the organ they have been “assigned” and are blind to the fact that there could be other issues within that person that needs to be looked at.

We go through all this when dealing with physical symptoms that arise from our bodies. The mind and soul come nowhere near the vision of conventional doctors who are only too eager to prescribe the strongest medications without any real investigations.

In my quest to manage my health issues, I have not only seen a number of conventional doctors, but have had to go out of my way to seek relief from other avenues, namely complementary and alternative medicine which offer a less invasive approach. I have seen Chinese Medicine Doctors, Reiki Practitioners, Acupuncturists, Ayurvedic, and Homeopathic Doctors, all of whom have their own views and approaches. One approach that stands out is homeopathy where the goal is to view the patient as a whole, rather than just targeting a specific symptom.

The questions asked in a homeopathy consultation are far from the traditional ones we are used to, and in fact, open doors to so many aspects that you begin to realize and understand where all your health problems are coming from. I cannot say for sure that the treatment works as I have only just begun, but I can say that it is refreshing to be faced with a doctor who sees me as a whole rather than an organ. This is the approach that all doctors need to take no matter where their specialty or practice lies.

This is not to say that all conventional doctors out there are narrow-minded. We have plenty of doctors that go out of their way to listen to their patients and find the best solutions for them. We are blessed to live in a time where medicine has advanced and we have so much available to us. However, it is important to remember that it is alright to seek second or third opinions when faced with any health issue. A nagging pain that may be small today can lead to bigger problems if the root cause of it has not been correctly identified. We are prescribed to take tons of medication to shut down the very symptoms that may actually be trying to tell us something. We must also remember that we are all different and we shouldn’t take any medication just because it has worked for our friends or family. This should not be a one size fits all approach, but a more customized one that fits our mind, body, and soul.

We also need to look within ourselves and understand whether there are emotional or mental reasons that are causing us to feel pain. If the problem is caused by our “mind”, we may be able to treat the symptoms with medication, but if our mind is still not at ease, the pain will come back in a different form.

Therefore, it is important that we understand ourselves first. Only then can we build an honest relationship with our doctors and share our concerns. We must work together with our doctors to find the right remedies. And if we are faced with a doctor that does not seem to care, or not make an extra effort, then it is time to move on and find someone else who will. Life is too short, and we must make it a priority to ensure that our mind, body, and soul are in harmony.

Moving In A Sedentary World

Hend Al Ali (@7anooch)

Having recently graduated from NYUAD with a degree in physics, Hind is heavily invested in the pursuit of scientific knowledge and it's dissemination. In addition to the scientific endeavor, she is also passionate about fitness and is a Crossfit Level-1 coach. Her other interests include literature, mental health, coffee, and good food.

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Modern life has left us accustomed to sitting for the majority of our time, and moving very little otherwise. This might very well be the reason for the majority of bodily aches and pains in people of all ages. The solution is simply to embrace more active lifestyles.

Artwork by Hayat AlHassan (@HayatAlH)

The human body has natural asymmetries. If you study your body closely, you’ll notice that the muscles on either side of your body don’t look exactly the same, and that’s okay. However, a problem arises when you keep training these imbalances: to maintain a healthy body, you want these muscular imbalances to be as minimal as possible. At its core, this is what the bodybuilding discipline strives to do: build a body as symmetric as could be. I am not saying we should all become bodybuilders, but there is something for all of us to learn from the sport.

Even the most active of us live largely sedentary lives. From the day we enter kindergarten, we are trained to spend hours upon hours a day sitting down, hunched up over our desks reading and writing. Eventually, that progresses into hours spent with arms huddled over our keyboards for large fractions of our days, and necks often bent downwards towards our screens. This is all part of the norm, and we are often told that a 5-minute break every hour will fix all our aches and pains.

It is no secret that modern life is unnatural. The human body is not meant to be used the way we use it today, formal schooling and office jobs were introduced fairly recently in human history. It is no surprise that our shoulders, backs, knees, and necks are protesting. When we sit down on our chairs, we largely disengage a large part of our natural musculature. The largest muscle in your body also happens to be the one you use as a cushion to sit on. After years of sitting on one of our most important muscle groups, we forget how to properly use them. This could lead to all sorts of aches, as other joints and muscle groups try to compensate for our glutes (butt muscles), For example, knee pain is often caused by a lack of glute activation.

In the same vein, we recline into the backs of our chairs, effectively disengaging the use of our core muscles, which we use to keep us upright. We lean into our desks, supporting the weight of our bodies with our elbows, shrugging our shoulders upwards. Our shoulders begin to rotate inwards with time, as we are always reaching forwards into our keyboards. Over time, this tightens the muscles on the front side our bodies while leaving our posterior muscles underused. The chronic upward shrug in our shoulders leads to tight trapezius (trap) muscles, ultimately leading to neck pain.

We often sling backpacks, laptop cases, and handbags over our shoulders, and it is often the same shoulder that has to carry the burden each time. This would only aggravate our already-tired traps and lead to the development of only one side, further exacerbating our neck and shoulder issues.

Unfortunately, there is no easy fix for these issues. This is not to say that there is no solution. We have put ourselves in the position where we have unlearned basic human movement, and now we must relearn the use of our bodies. Perhaps the modern gym is also unnatural, but it is also the space where we work towards regaining the use of our bodies, where we learn to move like we were born to. We owe our bodies this at least: to know how to use our bodies well.

Interesting Facts about the Japanese Language

Shof Elmoisheer (Instagram: @Bookish2525)

Shof Elmoisheer (Instagram: @Bookish2525)

Shof holds a Master’s degree in Marketing and a Bachelor in English literature. Avid reader of classic literature, her preferred type of fiction, along with psychology and marketing. Skilled at drawing, created a comic book, not yet published. Dedicated her Instagram feed to bookish recommendations. Fond of language learning, taught herself Japanese. In her column Thoughts of a Reader she reviews books, writes short stories, and talks Marketing.
Shof Elmoisheer (Instagram: @Bookish2525)

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Some think of learning the Japanese language hard, and that’s it, but how much do we really know about that language?

Artwork by Farah Al Balooshi (Instagram: @SenoritaFarah, Twitter: @FarahAlBalooshi)

I’ve been interested in the Japanese language for 8 years when I was still in college. I remember liking the sound of the language, and next thing I knew I’d picked up a few things. I first started teaching myself Japanese by listening, a lot. I decided to compile what I learned in a notebook, which by time accumulated into many notebooks. Based on my eight years of note taking, here are things that I find utterly beautiful about it.

Japanese has the most fascinating past.

The Japanese didn’t have a writing system of their own; they had to borrow one. And so Kanji漢字 symbols were imported from China and given new Japanese pronunciation. At first, Kanji was only used by men, women were not allowed to learn it and instead wrote using Hiragana, a simpler system that consists of 46 characters, much like a regular alphabet. That is why most of the early literary works by women authors were written exclusively in Hiragana (Trombley, and Takenaka, 2006). The Japanese language reflects so much of the culture and its people, everything you learn has a story attached. The word Seppukuせっぷく, for example, means to cut open your own stomach in the name of honor, which was an act used to be carried out by the samurai. You only end up having more questions, it just gets, as Alice (in Wonderland) said, “curiouser and curiouser!”

English loan words in Japanese.

After WWII, over 25,000 loanwords have entered the Japanese dictionary, the bulk of which is English (Kay, 1995). Using English loan words became the norm to the Japanese people, which signified the strong influence of the American culture (Kay, 1995). This is great news for you if you are interested to learn Japanese, since being able to speak English will give you a head start. Though loanwords are adopted to Japanese phonetics, they’re still easily recognizable. Try to figure out the following Japanese words, Openingu, peji and puraivashi. Shouldn’t take you much to see the resemblance to the original English words of opening, page, and privacy. Loan words became a huge part of the language that a special alphabet was created. In Katakana letters, loan words are written and made detectable.

Japanese is very different.

Japanese can be written from top to bottom, or from left to right. There are no spaces, yet you can easily tell where one word ended and another began. As you can see, Japanese text combines three writing systems, where each has its own quality and specific function. There is the previously mentioned symbol system called Kanji, and two Kana alphabets known as the Hiragana and Katakana. Kanji symbols represent words that are Japanese in origin. They look like a drawing attached to other simpler looking kana characters. So this is how a sentence looks like, to say “I play Tennis everyday” 毎日テニスをする。

Japanese is spoken backward, the actual word order of that sentence is ‘everyday tennis [ I ] play’. The verb is always at the very end of the sentence, and according to my notes, there are only two verb tenses, past and none past. Compare that to English with its past participle and present perfect continuous, Japanese will suddenly sound a lot less intimidating.

Japanese is not a difficult language.

It’s a matter of perspective, what is considered difficult by that person might not be so for you. Your native language can influence your attitude towards the target language, similar sounds and grammar rules can make studying it easier for you than for others. There are also individual abilities that vary from one person to another. Learning Japanese text is challenging, it requires memorization of a 1000 Kanji symbols. It all depends on you and what you’re capable of. If you’re not persistent enough, then yes, maybe Japanese is a “difficult language” for you.

Studying Japanese has become part of my daily routine for years; it became part of who I am. Being able to decode Japanese text has long been a dream of mine, one that I am still in pursuit of. My first notebook started off stupid, with only lists of words. As I turn the pages, there are fewer words and more sentences, and even a shy amount of kanji symbols written with obvious labor. To learn any language, you need a motive, because without one you won’t stay committed for long.


References:

Takenaka, Yukari. Japanese from Zero! 1: Proven Techniques to Learn Japanese for Students and Professionals. By George Trombley. 6th ed. Vol. 1. N.p.: n.p., 2006. 41. Print. https://www.csun.edu/~bashforth/301_PDF/301_P_P/EnglishLoanWordsJapanese.pdf

Making a Habit to Give (@YearOfGiving)

Bahar Al Awadhi (@bahargpedram)

Bahar Al Awadhi (@bahargpedram)

Column Name: The Words Within
Bahar is a recruiter by profession, an aspiring writer by night, and a mom of toddler twins. She has an unending thirst for learning, as she completed her BComm in Canada, an MA in Dubai, and continues to develop herself with reading and research.
With her column, she shares her journey as she grows and learns more about this crazy beautiful world we live in.
Bahar Al Awadhi (@bahargpedram)

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The author lauds the initiative of the government in launching the “Year of Giving” and looks at ways that we can all give back to our community.

Artwork by Nouf Bandar Elmoisheer (Instagram: @naufba)

2016 was declared as the “Year of Reading” in the UAE, and this resulted in many noteworthy initiatives, as well as a platform for the bookworms of the UAE to be heard and have their time to shine. While these initiatives are hopefully carried on beyond 2016, the UAE government has now moved on to other ambitions, and has declared 2017 to be the “Year of Giving”.

This is another highly commendable and much needed theme, at a time when the world appears to be divided over differences rather than united in the face of adversity. This is especially needed with the current state of our world where social media has provided a platform for people to show off their rank and achievements in life. This is happening globally and the UAE is no exception as materialistic gains are paraded on a day to day basis. The people living here continue to have higher expectations along with the country’s growth and aim for higher standards of living. While it is important to have ambition, we do need to be reminded from time to time that our focus should not only be on our own personal attainment, but that of our collective society and the need to give back to the less fortunate.

This is where the “Year of Giving” comes into play, and why the country’s leaders must have adopted this theme for 2017. To launch this campaign, a retreat was held, similar to last year’s, and participants included cabinet ministers, government officials, and humanitarian leaders were invited to provide their input. The objective of this retreat was to brainstorm ideas towards the implementation of the “Year of Giving” with the goal of building a framework for charity work and creating a culture amongst people to have the desire to give back to their community.

However, it is important to remember that giving does not always have to be monetary or a grand gesture, but can be in simple things such as helping our family members and being kind to our neighbors. It can be about showing respect to people from all walks of life, and not differentiating between those of different ranks. It is about giving a helping hand or smiling to someone who is having a bad day. Another example is the generosity of people that tends to become more visible during the month of Ramadan, where meals are shared with neighbors and the less fortunate. Such acts of charity and kindness need to be spread throughout the year and not only limited to one month.

It is also important to build a culture where volunteer work is a norm for everyone, and schools and companies should put in a framework to support such initiatives. People working long hours in a day may not find the motivation to use their personal time to give back to the community, but with the support of their employers, they could find the time. There are many companies in the UAE that give their employees between one to two days leave for volunteer work through their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiatives. This is something that should be regulated so that every company can offer this time and also the opportunities for employees to volunteer in an area where they see themselves capable of giving back.

The act of giving is not only beneficial to the ones on the receiving end, but also to the individual making that effort. It can bring a sense of purpose and satisfaction to one’s life. It is important for everyone to occasionally take time out of their busy lives and daily routine to contribute to the community, and in turn, appreciate the things they may have taken for granted.

While some may take the “Year of Giving” as an opportunity to showcase their ‘generosity’ on social media for attention, it is important to accept that their good deeds, done for whatever reasons or ulterior motives, could still influence others to follow suit and engage in community work.

We have many volunteering opportunities in the UAE, and the media has shown that countless people have come together in support of these various campaigns over the years. Now with the “Year of Giving” upon us, it is crucial to shed light on these groups and invite even more people to support and partake in these opportunities, until this becomes a habit and a part of who we are.