Friday, March 12, 2010

A neglected lot

A neglected lot
By The Post
Fri 12 Mar. 2010, 04:40 CAT

Today, as we have been doing over the years, we will have march-pasts by our youths to celebrate Youth Day.

Speeches will be rattled in a fashion and style that is not different from campaign slogans. But there is a message from Bishop George Lungu that we think deserves a serious hearing and consideration if we have to harbour any hope for a peaceful and prosperous future: “I feel sorry for our youths because the majority of them are a neglected lot.

Most of them have no hope in life at all, they just exist, they have no vision in life. They cannot aspire to do something, they just exist…and so we end up with a frustrated youth, and so the Youth Day is a very important day for the youths themselves to shout aloud to our churches, to the government about their concerns. We need time to reflect on their plight.

It does not help anybody to have this political statement or a church leader if there is nothing happening on the ground. This is time to act because youths are tired and we are not responding to their plight. One thing that makes me sad about the youth is that corruption has reached certain levels such that there is no hope for the youths.

Others are qualified but are failing to find employment, interviews are being held but at the same time they are held, people who interview others know already who have been employed, who have been engaged but they go public as if there is a possibility for employment for this desperate youth. So I think if we are not very, very careful, we are sitting on a time bomb.

We should take this thing very seriously because youths come to a point where they feel there is nothing to use then they do anything when chance provides and that is why in some countries you have riots, they go looting, they feel that’s the tool to survive in this cruel world.”

This cruelty against our young people will not go on forever unchallenged. And we state this with all the certainty in the world because all over the world, it is young people who are actually involving themselves in the struggle to eliminate injustice.

They are the ones who most quickly identify with the struggle and the necessity to eliminate the conditions that exist.

As Bishop Lungu has correctly observed, most of our young people have no hope in life at all. They don’t have a past, a present or a future to look back to, to look at, or to look forward to. And to borrow from Bishop Lungu, “they just exist”.

But the world is theirs, as well as ours, and in the last analysis, it is theirs. You young people, full of vigour and vitality, are in the bloom of life, like the morning sun. Our hope is placed on you. The world belongs to you. Zambia’s future belongs to you.

The young people are the most active and vital force of our nation. They are the most eager to learn and the least conservative in their thinking. We wish our politicians and their political parties could realise this and go into the question of bringing into full play the energy of our youth.

We are looking forward to a day when our politicians and their political parties will stop abusing our young people and start treating them with care and respect. Today, our young people are their hired thugs, they use them to harass, insult and beat up their political opponents. And all they pay them is packets of Chibuku, sachets of tujilijili and at best some maheu.

We should care for our youths and show concern for the growth of the younger generation. Our young people seek their growth in humanity, through their incorporation and participation in the very conduct of the personalising process.

For this reason, they should not be left out and no group or generation should reserve to itself exclusively the carrying out of political, cultural, economic or even spiritual matters.

Those who posses the power of decision-making must exercise it in communion with the desires and options of the youth. There is need to integrate the youth in all that we do, in the management of the affairs of our country, of their nation.

In order that this integration respond to the nature of our young people, it must incorporate the values that are appropriate to them.

We count upon elements and criteria that are profoundly human, an innate sense of the dignity of all, a predilection to fraternity, a recognition of our young people and their irreplaceable role in society, a wise sense of life.

We consider it irreconcilable with our country’s poverty situation to invest resources in excessive bureaucracy of political party cadres who offer nothing to the administration of the affairs of our country, luxury and ostentation or the deficient administration of the country.

In this transformation, our young people constitute the most numerous group in the population and show themselves to be a new social body with their own ideas and values desiring to create a more just society. But this is constantly being blocked by greed, vanity and corruption.

The youthful presence is a positive contribution that must be incorporated into our politics, into everything that we do.

We need to start using our young people in a positive or progressive manner. We should stop the habit or practice of engaging young people in criminal things, in practices of intolerance and brutality that bring them much closer to animals.

This constitutes a crime against the future of these youths as well as against the interest of the nation. The policies of all our political parties should be not to hire any young person for unproductive work, for criminal things. It should be the task of all our political parties to check the activities of every young person; what he does, where he works, and where he studies.

As for our young people, there is need for them to realise that what they cannot do for themselves, no one in this selfish and corrupt society will do it for them. So they should not run and try to make friends with politicians who are abusing them.

These are your enemies. Fight them, and you will get your justice, your fair deal. Don’t allow yourselves to be cheated. See things for yourself, listen for yourself and think for yourself. Don’t allow ignorance and greed to rule you.

If our young people were properly educated – by properly educated, we mean given a true picture of their situation and what has caused it – we think many young people would be less willing to be abused by unscrupulous, greedy and corrupt politicians.

They would have more respect for themselves and others and as such would refuse to be used in schemes that dehumanise others. In this way, our young people would feel more like human beings. They would function more like human beings, in a society of human beings.

So it takes proper education to eliminate these abuses of our young people. And just because we have colleges and universities doesn’t mean we have education because these can also be used to miseducate.

Therefore, we call on all our young people as they parade and march to celebrate Youth Day to think more about themselves and the lives they are living. They should ask themselves if they like the way they are living. If they don’t like it, they should meditate over what needs to be done to change their lot.

Nothing in this world will be handed to them graciously. If they are looking for a good life they will have to work for it, struggle for it, fight for it. And there is no dignified alternative for this. It is their duty to struggle for the establishment in our country of a more just, fair and humane society.

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