About this series of blogs:
We’ve done a series of Instiga-Views (instigation + interview) offering insight from people with experience to instigate positive action and reaction from younger generations toward building their own paths. We didn’t have any questions, rather we asked our interviewees to speak to their younger selves, to give us their honest, straight to the heart thoughts on two of the following seven “Instigators”: Breaking the Rules, Courage, Adding Value, Career Catastrophes, Fear, Censorship, and Play.
Here’s what Noura AlNoman had to say about Censorship and Play:
As responsible parents we raise our children to understand wrong from right. As they grow older we give them more space to discover things for themselves. Upon adulthood, we trust them to make the right judgments, while being there to provide counsel and wisdom when needed. Sadly, in our part of the world, a citizen is a child forever. He is neither given a good education, nor raised to be a responsible adult. Never trusted to make the right decisions, not in his choice of education, marriage or anything to do with self-determination. The state goes as far as to decide what he cannot read or see, guaranteeing a lifetime of guardianship. I once worked as a censor, and ironically, I now look down upon a society which has no respect for its citizens to make decisions in their own private lives.
Often, when I tell people I still play for fun, brows are raised, smirks are barely concealed, and some actually ask: “Aren’t you a little old for games?” No, you’re never too old for games. I love the fact that I can play anything I want and not feel ridiculous. What’s life without the creativity, the thrill of competition, and the freedom to have fun like a child? I have never stopped playing games, and it has kept my mind sharp. Not only is it a practice with many benefits, but it also keeps me connected with my children throughout the years of their development. Nothing beats the bonding we have when we play monopoly, or complete a 2000-piece puzzle. Recently, we’ve also started painting miniature armies together and competing in mock battles. I will keep playing games till my dying day.
Noura Al Noman
With a Bachelor in English Literature (1986) and a Masters in Translation Studies (2004), Noura Al Noman had studied language for years; but never expected to become a writer, let alone an author of books for Arab children. At the age of 45, she published her first two picture books for toddlers in 2010. “Cotton the Kitten” and “Kiwi the Hedgehog” were published by Kalimat in Arabic, and aimed to contrast how children deal with pets and wild animals. Noting the huge deficit in books for young Arabs (aged 15+), she wrote her first novel, “Ajwan”, one of a handful of science fiction novels in the Arab world, published by Nahdet Misr (Egypt). Noura believes that Arab youth are hungry for Arabic fiction. Ajwan won the Etisalat Children Literature Award, as Best Young Adult Novel, 2013. Although she has a full English translation of “Ajwan”, Noura has delayed publishing it to give a chance for the Arabic version to take a foothold. Book two, “Mandan” was launched at the Cairo Book Fair, January 2014, and she is working on the third book in the series.
Noura Al Noman is member of the Board of Trustees of UAEBBY.