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  • Mahmoud Said

ON BRAINWASHING

One of my biggest fears as a dad is to fall for the desire to brainwash my kids subconsciously as I raise them, the way I was brainwashed when I was young.

I stood no chance, if I’m being honest. It started early at home, an ideology of right and wrong was ingrained in my early upbringing. Do this because it’s right and don’t do that because it’s wrong.

School was no different, a doctrine was embedded in the daily curriculum, and everyone played to the same tune. Clear distinction between do’s and don’ts; no room for challenging the norms or questioning the rules. “It is like that” was the common answer that squashed any attempt to ask why or why not.



Survivor-ship of any ideology or dogma relies heavily on its defenses against creativity and imagination; its guardians’ ability to inhibit freedom of thought, freedom of speech and keeping a tight lid on awareness. It strives in a closed system; regurgitating its ideas amongst the loyal victims who continue to feed the machine by brainwashing their young off springs without a shadow of doubt.

It’s an orchestrated effort between family, education system, community, media and government. Tirelessly working to drill the pre-supposed stances of right and wrong into the minds of its citizens. They use identity politics, fear mongering, demagoguery and partisanship to keep the veil over the eyes.



Travel lifted that veil for me, before the boom of the internet and social media, it opened my eyes to a different world from mine; a different moral compass; a more colorful and wider spectrum of human existence. One that encompasses many more rights and wrongs, cherish the individual’s opinion and requires feedback. A world that does not believe it holds the ultimate truth in anything, it strives to find better ways to do things via freedom of expression, freedom of speech and the right to be different.

Diversity is the key to the future, as life on this planet becomes more and more challenging, embracing our differences will unlock doorways and solve problems that plagued us for generations.

This is the point where I feel my thoughts took me farther than I would have liked, to bigger and more complex issues of humanity and our fate on this planet. Perhaps I should bring it back to the beginning, brainwashing our kids. I could never understand how we test adults before they obtain their driver licenses, require they attend classes and study a guideline booklet; yet we don’t care as much when they decide to bring off springs to our communities and raise them. No one asks if they are fit to do the job, are they trained, should we test them before they roll up their sleeves and throw their bidding in the ring. I never blamed Hitler as much as I blamed his miserable parents. They should have been trained and tested.



I’m renewing my obligation to continue to question my motives in what I teach my children; what I plant in them; what I daydream they become. And ask myself daily, am I brainwashing or arming them with the skills of critical thinking and self-reliance.

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