We are facing a war of a different kind, an ideological war to brainwash our children, as social networking sites have recently witnessed widespread controversy over Disney’s support for homosexuality.
This is after the CEO of the company stated clearly and frankly that the “company’s goal by the end of this year is for half of the animated characters to be homosexuals,” which contradicts our customs, traditions, faith, identity, culture, and even humanity as a whole.
After that statement, about 14 countries decided to ban the latest Disney films from showing, including Egypt, Kuwait, the UAE, and Saudi Arabia. Opposition campaigns have also spread on social networking sites such as the ‘#boycott’ campaign, which not only target Disney but also all corporations that support homosexuality.
A group called ‘One Million Moms’ led a large boycott campaign saying that what was happening was mainly exploiting the innocence of childhood from entertainment media, warning mothers against “silent complicity” with the policies of the Disney entertainment empire that manipulate their children through animated films.
The One Million Moms Christian group appended its speech with the phrase: “It is time to respond.” Some called for cancelling subscriptions to sites that have already declared their support for homosexuality, stressing: “We should not pay sites and companies that adopt this goal; otherwise, we will continue to help them achieve it.”
Certainly, Netflix and Disney are among the largest institutions supporting homosexuality, and followers have been noticing it frequently in their films.
Therefore, we must create an Egyptian Disneyland that directs its production to the Arab world with content that is in line with the common sense that God has created people with.
This is in addition to developing children’s skills and illuminating their public awareness through soft power, such as books, cinema, theatre, shows, programmes, and everything that can contribute to the development of awareness.
Basant Hamza — a Professor of Media at Suez Canal University — says: “Producing cartoons for children is very important. An institution must be launched that has the capabilities to produce this type of constructive artistic films that build our children and their future.”
She added that the absence of art designed for children gives the opportunity for those with an agenda to tamper with the minds of our children by presenting films of this quality that include values and culture that are contrary to the authentic Arab culture.
She pointed out that animated films — whether locally produced or dubbed — cost exorbitant amounts of money and require huge budgets that small media organisations or private companies cannot afford. Therefore, this requires a large institution that has high financial capabilities in order to present works that carry the values and ethics of our society and are saturated with the Arab culture and our authentic traditions with the aim of being a message and a gift for future generations, and it is not permissible to deal with it as a commodity or profitable material.
Hamza explained that it is important to pay attention to dubbed works and help those who produce them on the condition that the foreign art pieces are commensurate with our Egyptian culture. The state needs to support these works or contribute to their production while relying on the voices of artists that present this as a message to our youths.
She attributed the absence of these artistic works that address children to the disappearance of productive institutions that support children’s programmes and shows, which confirms the importance of raising a child on these works that cultivate the values and traditions of society.
She points out that the American Disney products are “very dangerous for our children, and our children must be kept away from them because they carry the Zionist ideology, as well as supernatural ideas and illusory imagination that carry violence, terrorism, and strange Western values that do not fit with us and pass them on to our children.”
She also stressed the need to pay attention to presenting artworks to the Arab child as a “humanitarian and artistic message for the future,” as it is one of the sources that shape a child’s mentality and develop their skills.
Egyptian actor and comedian Ahmed Amin also announced his intention to shoot a new cartoon series for children.
“I have a frequent dream that I go back to making artwork for children, and in my brain, there are many ideas that turn into projects on paper… But with the concern that we all have for our children from the content that they are offered — which there is no alternative for — I felt that this was the time and decided to start,” he said.
“I rolled up my sleeves and got to work immediately and urgently in a new cartoon series for children… Very soon you will know more details… I will personally produce the project despite the risk. I hope it will come to light soon, and we will cooperate with artists and parties that really like contributing to the kind of work that our children and their future deserve… Our prayers for our children… May God protect them and preserve their minds.”
Amin affirmed that he is doing this because it is his “religious and patriotic duty to protect our children and our country from this ideological invasion,” and that his goal is to present appropriate and good ideas that will help in raising the new generation and contribute to keeping them away from foreign channels that carry “poisonous ideas.”
He expressed his hope that Egypt will return to a bygone era, when programmes like Mama Najwa, Bakloz, Bouji and Tamtam, Mama Samia, My Bride, Children’s Cinema, the Special Theatre for Children, Bakr, and Sesame World were staples of Egyptian television. All these programmes and cartoons are what shaped the awareness of generations in this period.
In this regard, director Mohamed Fadel says: “We were pioneers in the animation industry in the Arab region, when three state production companies were efficiently working in the manufacture of various types of arts, including series of various genres and television films.”
“Hence, I see that the only way to resist this phenomenon besides parental supervision is re-establishing state production companies with a plan of action that brings the Arab child back to the Arab screen.”
For her part, Heba Al-Sabahi — an expert on family relations — says: “Unfortunately, society is no longer as close to its culture and customs as it was before, and the spread of technology in most countries of the world has made it easy to learn about other cultures, including what is positive, inspirational, and motivational, such as success stories in various fields.”
“But it also shows the negative, such as actions that are inconsistent with our religious Arab values, customs, and nature. Whatever religion we belong to, all heavenly religions call for good manners. So, for quite some time, many Western artworks include ideas and actions that are not appropriate to our environment, and it is not right for our children to grow with this content as their reference.”
“Therefore, the biggest and most important solution from my point of view is to educate our children and explain to them in a simplified way the nature of our society and the way of life in it and what is right and what is not, then we explain to them in general how western societies differ from our Arab ones,” she added.
“Then, every head of the family — man or woman — must follow up with the child about what they see, whether it is an artwork or a game that they playing, and practically rehash what was previously told in theory to create a sense of awareness within the child, which could prevent any indecent thoughts from taking root.”
“I call on all Arab families to keep children away from their marital disputes, so that children are not affected by them and develop a hatred for the idea of marriage and becomes susceptible to falling into the trap of homosexuality for fear of starting a troubled family in which children silently suffer,” Al-Sabahi said.
“We do not ask families to prevent children from pursuing Western arts, but we call on everyone to monitor what their child views and to create a permanent dialogue with them in order to simplify the values, beliefs, and general customs of the society in which they live among family and friends. This is the best protection for a child from succumbing to this evil.”
Furthermore, Iraqi director Nizar Shahid says that western societies — whether the US or Europe — recognise homosexuality and gay rights and even enact laws that champion then.
He added that the West is not satisfied, but rather seeks to integrate Arab society’s soft power under the banner of human rights and freedom of thought and expression, along with other terms that “appear good but are actually evil.”
“Disney over the years — and through multiple productions — has become very popular in the Arab world. When this company produces works that encourage perversion, young children become unaware of what is wrong and what is right, and they may be affected by what they see and choose to become something that is opposed to the form and basis of the Arab society in which we all live in,” he said.
“We may all enjoy and love the characters from Tom and Jerry, Cinderella, the Mickey Mouse Troupe, and other characters from famous films around the world… But recently, the alarm bells have begun to ring. There are scenes of homosexuality embedded in the Beauty and the Beast movie that was released in 2017 and the movie ‘One Word’ in 2020,” he added.
“These works are then consumed by our young children, allowing them to believe that these ideologies are natural because they don’t know better. Therefore, it is not an exaggeration to say that these films are extremely dangerous,” he concluded.