Congratulations. If you are reading this article, we haven’t all expired in a ball of glorious nuclear self-annihilation... yet.
I was happily thinking about how globalisation can bring out the best in people, as when Kim Jong Un decided to help America celebrate its national holiday by “testing” an intercontinental ballistic missile. Sigh.
You know, nobody wants to belong to “that” generation, the one that Armageddoned the planet. How did we get here? How can the many be at the mercy of so few?
Back in my day – yes, I can say that now – we used to have things like a childhood free of cyber-bullying (you had to have the guts to bully someone in person), barefoot races in the great outdoors (even if it meant knowing how to remove the occasional jigger) and Michael Jackson leading us all in We are the World sing-alongs.
The shoulder-pads might have been a crime against humanity but they were not nearly as bad as those ridiculous tight pants with sagging wet-nappy bottoms that young men wear these days un-ironically.
Yeah, so as we rocked along to We are the World, the ultimate hymn to the fantasy that people can actually get along across all diversities, I suspect many of us ended up infused with an unwarranted optimism about progress and what things would be like when the time came along for us to inherit the earth.
There wasn’t any way of predicting Kim Jong Un, who I am sad to say is actually an age-mate of mine. Then again, there wasn’t any way to predict The Donald either.
Or that Museveni would never, ever-ever retire, or that Magufuli would be so weird... and incredibly challenged at running a fragile economy. That’s the world my generation has inherited, one that is regressive? So far, I have been pointing the finger upwards towards our leaders, blaming them for the ridiculous mess we are in because I need to frame this right. How can so many be at the mercy of so very few? Because we will it that way.
Tyranny doesn’t just happen spontaneously, does it? Lately, I have been enjoying a series of messages on social media about the subject of how not to say anything, ever.
From Tanzania to Swaziland, the same threatening content has been copy-pasted and forwarded about how the government can hear everything you say and read everything you write. Which is supposed to result in a fear of actually sharing an opinion, vocalising dissent and other normal social stuff, I suppose. More proof that the time has come for my generation to do that cool thing: Have some purpose.
I was always so jealous of Generation Independence for the life-defining missions they were handed at birth. A clear and collectivising enemy: Colonialism. Complex, multi-decade nation building projects.
Most importantly, the chance to try to figure it out. The first thing African post-colonial governments did? Overthrow the traditional power structures of kings and chiefs because frankly they were anachronistic and would have provided a resistance to the progressive ethos that they could not abide and an alternative authority that they could not afford politically.
I think you see where I’m be going with this. I can’t help but feel that my generation is letting itself down, and by extension the world, but not engaging in some revolutionary action.
Yes, yes: That word always gets people freaked out but as a pacifist let me reassure you. I think it is time to revive and modernise the make-love-not-war approach to matters public and rein in the bodies politic so that we can step off these ledges that we are on.
Disarming and solving the Donalds, the Kims and the Magufulis of this world means thinking outside this complacency and embrace of violence we have got into... my word-count suggests that we continue the conversation next week.
PS: If you are one of the people passing on threatening messages about government censorship, stop it. We all pay taxes, the least you can do is let the government do its own dirty work.