Wednesday, May 25, 2011
The day of youth
I'm living in a unique alternate universe right now, the universe in which "the day of youth" has come. Formerly, young people were seen as a minority, disenfranchised - like the Dalit of India perhaps. "Children should be seen but not heard", to the extreme. Now something has changed, and the oppressed are standing tall. This is the day of youth.
I even wonder if we shouldn't say the oppressed has become the oppressor - after all, if the world is in the hand of youth, what does that leave for everyone else?
(Incidentally, according to the definition we are using, I will still be a youth for 2.5 more years. Guess how old I am?)
The thing is, it's a little hard to fathom how a minority can be an age group? Does it mean that when the days of one's youth are over, that person's productive role in society is over? Do today's youth realise that by taking pride in their age, they are setting themselves up for failure?
In fact none of this is true, and the older generation is just as proud of what has happened in Egypt as are their younger counterparts. They have been slowly working toward this goal not for months or years, but for decades! But it is also true that they were not able to pull it off without the energetic mobilising efforts of their progeny.
So to Egypt's youth, I want to say, remember not who you were, but who you will become. Remember who brought you into this world, who taught you, who supported you. Keep your energy and passion high, but also remember that you are the majority - 70% of the population - and consider the possibility that you mobilised more people simply because there were more of you to mobilise. Remember that the old way of doing things belonged to a small bunch of people, not to everyone who is older than you.
Please, today is a new day, and do the right thing. Please don't perpetuate the disrespect. You are standing tall, and the world is saying that this is your time. Do the honourable thing, the difficult thing: after suffering disrespect for so many years, now you can shame those who disrespected you by insisting on showing them respect. Build a society of tolerance not only for different religions, not only for women and men, not only for uneducated youth or people from other countries, but for your own parents and for who you will soon become. Then, maybe one day, you and your children will be able to stand up together.
I, Kati, am a youth who knows I won't be young for long, and this just what I think about the day of youth. I'm sharing these thoughts with the Imperfect Prose community because they are imperfect and I learn so much from you all, no matter your age! ;)