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– More is expected from Guyana’s most informed generation
This is not a lecture. This is not talking down and this is certainly not me on any high perch thumping my nose at a vibrant generation. It is a reflection intent on starting a national conversation.
There is no evidence to suggest that those born between the mid-1990s to 2010 are prepared to be the generation that leads a revolution to lift Guyana out of its perennial morass. Self-absorbed in the colorful screens and eternally apathetic and disinterested, the most informed generation has shrugged their shoulders at the revolution. This, I am convinced of and no meme, posts or tweets will convince me otherwise. I am heavily fortified in this position because when one looks at the volcanic eruptions being caused by the global Gen Z with their physical peaceful activism on the streets of world capitals and compare to the opera silence here, there is only one conclusion available. To be clear: the term revolution utilized here generically alludes to the peaceful physical organization of youth group and movements which peacefully organize, agitate and assemble for change.
With that in mind, those under 25 in the land of many issues, are supposed to be disruptors. They are supposed to be the ones who rail against the dear leader culture. They are supposed to be the ones who eschew the age-old metaphysical ethnic political battle of the cup versus the palm tree. They are expected to be the generation that says we have enough of the political grandstanding that has kept this nation in extreme poverty despite having a plethora of natural resources with a small population. They are supposed to be peacefully assembled in the streets like Gen Z in Hong Kong and in Nigeria standing against corruption et al but they are just not.
DISINTERESTED, DISCONNECTED, APATHETIC
It is not all well and good to simplistically castigate or discard an entire breeding. The reason being, Guyana’s intractable problems can deaden the soul and it is easy to slide into a psychological desert. To the extent that the youth are disinterested, disconnected and apathetic, I
fully understand. Take it from a fed-up member of the generation before the one currently under discussion. We get it. At age 21 or 25, you are looking for a job and just need to survive but it is folly to pursue the same while being unconcerned about who or what policies are either helping your cause or stymieing your efforts.
Being disinterested, disconnected and apathetic is sometimes often good for one’s mental health. However, this country is on the cusp of cataclysmic transformation and the onus falls on Gen Z heavier than it did on the Baby Boomers, Gen X and Millennials. In no way is this submission suggesting that others are exempted but the most informed generation, arguably the most educated, the most resourced ought to be at the forefront. It has happened in every normal society but here, the revolution is stalled and I suspect the finger of evidence might be pointing at the perennial tribal monster.
TRADITIONAL ORGANIZATION V VIRTUAL ORGANIZATION
I am supremely aware of the argument which says: ‘I post all the time on matters of national importance’ or I am active on social media. With all due respect to the beautiful tool of social media facilitated by technology, it cannot replace traditional physical organization. It is apt to note: tantrums thrown with one sentence which receives 1K reactions and 1.5K shares may provide an ephemeral cathartic release, this alone does not cut it. Added to this, Gen Z may want to posit that from the armchair and keyboard, they can cancel anybody or shut down any operation on social media deemed inimical to their interests. Therein, they say: the revolution is being had. I beg to differ at the risk of being memefied, trolled or canceled.
Despite all of the aforementioned which serve some useful purposes, it all has to dovetail and culminate in a physical traditional organization. For this advice, don’t relegate me to the popular deflection point of being old, I am a millennial who knows the importance of a 60 sec Tik Tok videos. It is not ‘old’ or preposterous to root for the traditional methods of physical organization. Solely being on the keyboard in an armchair cannot parallel the inestimable value of physical activism. The cancel culture is not enough. Nothing can replace the efficacy of the formation of youth organizations that meet to plan marches, design placards, procure instruments for loud chants and assemble in the big squares. This is the essence of revolution. Power only concedes when it sees large numbers peacefully assembled in the streets. Insofar as that is concerned, Guyana’s Gen Z revolution is stalled, if not started at all.
CHOREOGRAPHED AND ENGINEERED
I am reminded of the age wisdom of David Mamet who opined: ‘Old age and treachery will always beat youth and exuberance. Perhaps, Guyana’s political context provides a perfect case that demonstrates the truism of this statement because over and over again, the seniors have been successful in their attempts to choreograph and engineer the activism of the youth. It seems, Gen Z has not escaped this stratagem and my gut feeling suggests that through various institutions, the Baby Boomers continue to perpetuate the system through mastery of their craft. For example, if youths from a family, school, party, religious organizations rise as Mavericks and attempt to rock the traditional boat, they tend to apply pressure in the right way to dissuade and destroy such movements. Maybe, this is a key factor that is responsible for Guyana’s stalled Gen Z revolution. Be that as it may, I am not disposed to accepting this as an excuse to justify the demobilization. (The views expressed in this articles are not necessarily those of the Village Voice News)