Young people can be catalysts of change.
By NATASHA IMAN
YOUTHS are often reminded they are the future decision makers, future destiny shapers, our future leaders of tomorrow.
With such great things expected of us, it is indeed distressing to hear of debates as to whether the youth population can bring positive change and a new breath of fresh air into stagnant situations.
But it has become more difficult to stereotype us youth as hot-blooded, hard-headed and impulsive without looking beyond the news headlines.
From the first traces of the protests that emerged from Facebook till the toppling of president Hosni Mubarak’s 30-year reign in February, there had been no victory sweeter for Egytian youths this year.
Despite facing continual harassment from Egyptian authorities, these young activists held to their zeal and allegiance throughout the entire process of reform that the country underwent.
The Arab Spring, led by groups of dynamic youth, demonstrated the strength of youth and their capabilities to bring positive changes, even in environments and situations that had seemingly been set in stone prior to the revolutionary revolts.
Having been exposed to numerous alternatives to the corrupt rule of Mubarak, the youths of Egypt were quick to use their influence on social networking sites to empower their peers to join in their pursuit for political changes. Although been disregarded for so long, they fought and proved that youths can be catalysts of change.
The power of the youth movement and the effectiveness of their activist methods to end the Mubarak regime silenced skeptics who questioned the leadership abilities of youth and their capabilities to lead a wave of change.
While the events in Egypt demonstrated the capacity youth had to bring positive change to a nation, it only took a few days of rioting and looting in Britain in August for youths to be seen in a negative light.
The London riots started as a response to the shooting of Mark Duggan by the Metropolitan Police Service as they attempted to arrest him in Tottenham. Gradually, a peaceful protest turned into days of violence that spread around the country.
Headlines such as “London riots caused by ‘futureless youth’ in the UK?” quickly made their way online.
The Egyptian Revolt and London Riots may or may not have any relation whatsoever to the true nature and spirit of youth worldwide. However, they have prevailed in my mind to be two of the most contrasting outcomes from the attempt of youth to bring about change in their countries.
Instead of resorting to destruction as we’ve seen in the London riots, youths need to get their views and opinions across peacefully, as there is a fine line between unavoidable and intentional violence.
As someone who has faith in the positive change that youth can bring to society, I believe that all we need is opportunity, a little guidance and fervour.
More young people are beginning to step out of their comfort zones and fight for what they believe their futures should look like, almost creating a domino effect just as we have witnessed in the Middle East.
They are setting a blazing trail for youth to follow in their footsteps.
With our exuberance coupled with our forward-looking personalities youths will bring fresh perspectives to their communities.
It is time for us to see the change that the youthful population can bring instead of focusing on the negativity of the situation all the time.
As Thomas Jefferson once said, “Every generation needs a revolution.”