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Develop me: Is the world ready to extinguish the flames of an angry young generation?


For the first time in almost a century, the world was glued to live television footage of events unfolding in England.

For once, it wasn’t a live match between Manchester United and Arsenal or the Wimbledon final, neither was it the Royal Wedding nor the death of its member.

The frustrations of the young British generation had burst into flames of angst. London was on fire. Riots and looting became the order of the day.

Again, the world is divided as comparisons are drawn between the Arab world and England.

The common variable is that they are all riots by young people.

And the split point is that riots in the Arab world are seen as a quest for democracy which warrants UN Security Council, Africa Union and Arab League endorsement of Nato and western military intervention.

While the British riots are seen as acts of criminality. The world can ignore the real issues at its own peril.

Unsurprisingly, the Libyan government made a meal out of it by calling on the British government to step down. “Cameron and his government have lost all legitimacy,” said the Libyan Deputy Foreign Minister Khaled Kaaim.

And without doubt, this is surely a good supply of new cud to the waning propaganda stables of political parties who survive on regurgitated platitudes on Western imperialism while physically violating anyone who dare oppose them.

Just be warned the young shall rise and the writing is on the wall.

From the motor-mouthed Julius Malema in South Africa calling for nationalisation, the recent industrial action in Botswana, the charred bodies of suicidal youths in Tarhir square in Egypt, the Jasmine revolution in Tunisia, the suppressed voices of young people in Syria, the timid and scared youth in Zimbabwe and the rioting youth of Britain, one message is common and clear.

The young generation have been sidelined by the world they live in.

This world spent so much time glued on globalisation, a new form of capitalism and democracy without observing the growing presence of young people.

So much time was spent discussing economic development policies, some of which have seen a widening gap between the rich and poor, neglecting young people.

Globalisation has seen so much rapid growth in consumption, which to capitalist is profit prolific. But this is not matched by the same levels of national industrialisation, the anchor of economic stability.

Where a family used to pay for one phone bill per month, it is now each person a phone bill and yet the industry, the mainstay of employment opportunities is waning.

Within those globalisation policies, young people have been abrogated to objects of employment. And even in that regard, the world has failed to deliver.

The promise that education would lead to prosperity has turned into a lie and dishonesty.

Currently, nearly half the world’s population (almost three billion people) are under the age of 25 and half of the world’s unemployed are under the age of 24. In North Africa, 24% of the young are jobless, in the UK young people between 16 to 24 accounts for 40% unemployed (one million).

And I know of a country that boasts an over 90% literacy rate in Africa while sitting on over 70% unemployment rate.

As long as millions of young people are underemployed, whatever form of development will neither be fair nor just.

Helping young people to realise their productive potentials and to harness their energies and talents to shape a better world should be the priority, responsibility today and a gift to the young generation.

But even if the current world leadership don’t reform today, young people will still take matters into their hands.

It is self-deluding to believe that they will simply continue to be stoical while being parochial to the authority.

Anyone who thinks what is happening in Britain today is a result of a growing culture of violence, acts of criminality and lack of parental guidance, needs to think again.

Young people today have an influence and power similar to that of their once rebellious parents during the different liberation and civil rights struggles.

Events in Tunisia, Egypt, Syria and even England show that youth are not fighting for pride but survival.

This makes the situation even more precarious as most of the youths do not have much to lose nor do they have a legitimate future in the current context.

Leaders watch out!

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