There was a time when young people were the driving force of the economy, a time when middle-aged men with graying hair felt as though the world they knew had changed beyond comprehension.
And today - Where are young people? What is youth? Who are the youth?
Ask most policy makers and they may give an age bracket and a couple of sweeping statements on vulnerability… They follow this statement with one of two descriptions– either "poor youth – jobless, insufficiently skilled," or "druggies, always up for a drink, riots and violence." The victim-perpetrator trap…
This is the dichotomy of youth today – this is our interaction with officialdom. Here we stand thinking that we have finally come to deal with the needs of the "working poor" in our societies whilst not realizing that the face of society itself is changing. A concoction of concepts and spin – for young people unable to comp
lain to discrimination bodies for being laid off because we’re young, where education is barely preparing us for our first job…
In developed and developing countries alike, this is what youth seems to symbolize.
Participation is based on fancy press coverage of a strategically placed conference – close to election time of course, with the tactical positioning of young people around the candidate. The message is clear: "vote for me for I come with a vision for the future."
But give us time, lend us an ear, give us some inspiration – give us hope, do more than just represent us, and we will tell you what our vision is, what our expectations are. We will share our hopes and dreams and aspirations.
Because, you know, we are the present.