Where is the youth of yesteryear?
Whenever I feel like a good dose of depression, I watch the news on RTE.
After I have feasted of the murder of the day and watched the weather forecast, I sometimes leave the television on.
RTE have this series that they have been running for ages called ‘Reeling in the Years’.
‘Reeling in the Years’ is cheap television at its best. All they have to do is pick on some unfortunate bastard and send him down to the basement to dust off the cans of archive material. The contents are then stuck together with sticky tape and banged out to an unsuspecting audience.
Normally they broadcast stuff from the eighties and nineties which bores the arse off me. For fuck’s sake, the eighties and nineties aren’t history? They are only yesterday and I can remember only too well what happened.
For the last few night they have been broadcasting material from the late sixties and early seventies which is much more like it.
One thing that strikes me every time I see material from those days is the number of protests.
No matter what year, we see massive protests in O’Connell Street or in front of the Dáil complaining vociferously about low pay, high taxes or whatever took their fancy at the time. In the majority of those cases, the protesters won and everyone went home until the next riot.
Where the hell are the protests now?
God knows, we have more than enough to protest about. If anything we are spoiled for choice. We have the most corrupt, inept, incompetent bastards in office who have destroyed everything that we gained over the last fifty years and reduced the country to begging paupers. Ireland is not going down the toilet. It has sunk, and is now floating along with the rest of the shit off Howth Head.
When I was a student in the sixties, there would have been riots in the streets. The entire country would have gone out on strike, and we would have settled for nothing less than a complete rout of the government.
What the hell has happened? Where are the students? Where are the unions? Why isn’t there blood running in the gutters?
I am baffled by the meek acceptance of our plight. I am ashamed at the utter spinelessness of our youth. My generation stopped the war in Viet Nam through protests. We brought down governments. We changed things for the better.
The youth of today protest all right. They Twitter their anger. They complain on Bebo. They protest on Facebook.
Is this what the world has sunk to?
I’ll arrange a student protest when I go back to college next month. That is if I can afford to go back since the feckers increased the registration fee from €900 to €1500.
Any rocket launchers I can borrow?
Because today the former protesters are the ones in charge and we found out they know crap about how to run things either.
Robert – Start off with a protest about the student fees? It’s as good a place to start as any.
Jim C – Tha’s always the way. But it’s up to the modern generation to show them the error of their ways.
Too busy living the consumer dream. Things have to collapse more so they can no longer afford to access twitter etc. before they’ll move. That said there are a couple of protests scheduled, one on the 12th Sept and one on the 19th I think.
Thrifty – I fear you are closer to the truth than you think. I’m delighted that something is being done, but there would need to be a massive turnout [and better advertising] to have any effect. And as luck would have it – I’ll be out of the country for both.
You said it dude. For a while now I have believed that instead of being supposedly “free” we are all living in cages. Then I realised something. Its just me living in a cage – the rest of you bastards are out there shopping! As for Gen Y helping me out – unless they can help out while simultaneously drinking designer beers and staring at other people’s bodies I doubt it’s gonna happen. Sigh.
Frankly Grandad it’s not the fault of youth. I think you’re very disparaging of thenm. I know plenty who have opinions but neither the time nor the inclination to become activists, Universities are no longer the hotbed of discontent. When you’re paying up to $50000 for your degree, you get on with it. When you’re not attending class, you’re either working to pay for said degree or studying. When I attended Uni it was pretty much free, there was time to become involved in issues and time to protest . . now, Uni has become the seat of learning and less of questionning. Where are the parents that didn’t put the spark of protest into their children?
Sighs – Speak for yourself. I only go shopping only when it’s a matter of life or death – things like guinea pig food.
Baino – I don’t think colleges and universities have changed that much? I think there is a completely different mindset though. In my day, whever friends got together we used to discuss politics, religion, philosophy and the tits on Yer Wan up at the bar. It wasn’t just students who protested either. Looking at those films, most of the protesters were ordinary working people who had enough of the shit that was being doled out. Times have changed, and not for the better.
In the 90’s we had Irish students working on Cape Cod driving taxi’s with me,after work drank a few beers and discussed politics, they knew about the world.American students in the same situation discuss football and babes and know nothing of politics or the rest of the world.
Once again we are in complete agreement, Grandad. Yes, there is not enough protest, and especially not enough from the young.
But I think one cannot blame the young people for that exclusively. They are products of their (our) time, where parents neglect children because they are too busy living the consumerist life. And it is no surprise that the young adapt, copy what they see their parents doing, and carry it on even further.
What we really lack in our time, and especially in Ireland, are true natural leaders. There are enough people who would have the qualifications to lead and inspire people, but most of them are not doing it. Some are too busy making money, others just want to pursue a career, and there are also plenty of potential leaders who have tried to do something in the past, but did not get enough support.
I agree with Jim C that a lot of the former protesters, who tried to make a difference when they were young, were robed into the system, absorbed by it, and are now no longer capable of doing things right.
As Lord Acton put it: “Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.”
This is the same everywhere, but in Ireland we have the added problem that those we – the people – have put into positions of power are also very inept to handle it. I have lived in various countries in Europe, Asia and Africa throughout my life, and I can say that the degree of complete incompetence we in our political leaders is unique in Europe. There are equally useless leaders in Asia, and a lot more of them in Africa. But in no other European country could one find so many badly educated and incompetent people in parliament and government. Why are the people of Ireland always electing the least qualified people to govern them? Do we perhaps have a secret collective death wish?
We often look down on the countries of the so-called ‘third world’ and regard ourselves as far superior. But that is not really the case. There are examples of true people power in some of these countries that can only put us to shame.
I remember vividly what happened in Manila, capital of the Philippines, on February 26th, 1986. More than 100,000 people assembled outside the presidential palace, demanded the resignation of the dictatorial and corrupt president Ferdinand Marcos, and they did not go away until he rsigned and fled the country. I was there and saw it with my own eyes.
And a few years later the Filipinos did it again, ousting another corrupt president in the same way. This man did not get away and has been in jail ever since.
A similar mass protest also ousted an incompetent president in Indonesia soon after, and there are several more examples of that kind from other countries.
We should get our anger channelled, organise ourselves and assemble in large numbers outside Leinster House and Government Buildings in Dublin, demanding the resignation of the current government and early general elections.
On my own blog – Views from the Emerald Isle – I have a number of opinion polls. One of them asks: Does Ireland need an early General Election? And at present the votes are 97% in favour!
I think that is a clear enough message. All we have to do now is to bring it home to those in power, who deliberately refuse to see reality. And as much as I would welcome the support of the younger people, if they are too lazy, ignorant or stupid to see what is happening to their country and their future, then I would be more than happy to join the protest of middle-aged and older people.
Age is only a number. What counts is one’s state of mind.
In various European countries older people have formed their own parties, some calling themselves ‘Grey Power’ or ‘Grey Panthers’. We could do the same in Ireland, and I propose Grandad as the leader of such a party.
Are you up to the challenge, Richard?
An interesting post GD. and one that reafirms my own suspicion that commercial internet (with government blessing) is stealing and brainwashing the still forming minds of young people worldwide. In fact of that I am increasingly convinced – and am also thinking (daft as it sounds) that the quickest way all those Sporty-Tough-Guy-‘Joes’ and Glittery-Aspiring-WAG ‘Janes’ feel ‘back in control’ of themselves for any length of time, is through – binge drinking! Yes, that’s right, IN control by being out of control and swearing their drunken socks off at overly Politically Correct police, every weekend. Wow! How bravely daring!
So on the face of it, young people are still ‘revolting’ GD!
Just not the right way. The real worry is that their antidisestablishmentariaism is all about ‘self’. Altruism is almost dead. (I say almost, because there are still a lot of caring, socially orientated, hard studying, hard working kids out there).
Probably the only long term solution for the humans of this world is a global power-cut, lasting forever. Those that survive the anarchy, rape, murder and pillaging of the initial stages of blackout and deprivation, might just learn to live and work together again(?)
.-= Geri Atric´s last brainfart .. TECHNO TURMOIL =-.
Perhaps (speaking from the UK) there’s something in the supermarket food that makes people give up! 😀 The thought just popped up in my mind because of my current reading material. I grew up not liking salad all that much… didn’t taste of anything, though I ate it when given it. And then for a while I changed my mind and thought “wow, what juicy, crunchy lettuces! Shame about the greenfly that didn’t get washed off.” And then I got tired of salads again, because they weren’t juicy and crunchy any more. And it only occurred to me recently that the salad I enjoyed was from our own back garden…
Hah! My little spark of whimsey seems to have ignited another conflagration? I really don’t know what is causing the modern apathy.
My honest belief is that we have just grown up with a background level of corruption and incompetance, where tribunals are the order of the day. We have become so used to it that we just shrug and accept it.
When I was a kid, a single murder was something that caused a feeding frenzy in the newspapers. Nowadays, murder is a daily occurence so we just ignore it. Same difference.
Mass apathy? Get on over to http://www.misternicehands.com and make your voice heard! 🙂
Peckerhead – You’re a gas man.
I remember making my way up the east coast to take part in the anti-war protest before the start of the second Iraq war.
It was one of the largest mobilisations of protest in Irish history, supported by the student organisations, the trade unions and the various anti-war organisations.
The government of the day dismissed the protest, and continued to compromise Irish neutrality by allowing US forces to use Shannon.
The only effective form of protest takes place at elections. To hell with taking to the streets, the airwaves or the internet – hit the politicians where it hurts (their liberally lined pockets), by not voting for them. I know it can be hard to find a viable alternative to vote for, but perhaps, if people have the courage of their convictions, a few brave and hardy souls will step in to the breach and run for election as a truly independent (and independent thinking) alternative.
I’ll see you at the anti-Nama march then
Bock – Much as I would love to be there, I shall be abroad rallying support for an invasion.