Our children will be our saviors

Young students showed the courage and leadership that adults failed to show when they took to the streets to demand something as basic as road safety in 2021. File photo: Prabir Das

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Young students showed the courage and leadership that adults failed to show when they took to the streets to demand something as basic as road safety in 2021. File photo: Prabir Das

Is it really 2022? How did 2021 go so fast? Was it because we had such high expectations and ended up facing one intimidating disaster after another that we didn’t realize that the days had turned into weeks, weeks to months and months. in a whole year?

It was supposed to be the year of salvation, the year we would finally be able to at least take off our masks and breathe. Instead, it became another battle: Another more vicious strain of coronavirus called Delta has ravaged our nations, killing and weakening humans even more ruthlessly than its cousins, destroying families. Then, just as we were starting to believe the pandemic was about to go away, Omicron walked in to roughly remind us that it was far from over.

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This is the year of “awareness”: that we have to live with the Covid, for how long, no one knows. Scientists fear that new variants of the virus will emerge from time to time, and the only way to fight them is to update vaccine formulas and keep inoculation rates high.

But as we begin the new year, let’s try to see the positives among the constant barrage of tragedy and chaos. Unsurprisingly, it is the young people who have brought balm to our injured psyche. Nothing could be more exhilarating than the Bangladesh U-19 women’s soccer team winning the 2021 SAFF U-19 Women’s Championship after beating India 1-0. The girl’s euphoria was so infectious that it was hard not to tear each other apart with pride and wonder. Was it heartwarming for you to see twins Mogini, Ana Mogini and Anuching Mogini playing, Ana scoring the winning goal? It proved once again how girls from the most remote, poor and neglected communities can be trained to become the most formidable athletes. This, along with the happy event of the Bangladesh National Women’s Cricket Team qualifying for the ODI Women’s World Cup for the first time, are signs where we should be paying attention: sports facilities and support. for our daughters and women – something that has been largely neglected for decades.

As we talk about getting prizes for great performance, let’s not forget the 16 member girls and boys team that won four gold, two silver and five bronze in the 23rd International Robot Olympiad. It proves that you need to give young people the right opportunities at the right time to achieve exceptional results.

The past year has also shown us how passionate our young people are about protesting injustice. The death of Notre Dame College student Nayeem Hasan who was hit by a Dhaka South City Corporation garbage truck has reignited protests from hundreds of students demanding road safety, victim compensation and proper surveillance the condition of the vehicle. It showed that, despite the brutality and intimidation they faced during the first road safety movement in 2018 (also sparked by the deaths of two students hit by a deadly bus), these young people refused to bow to the law. ‘vehicles stop to check. for valid papers, and demanding something as basic as roads safe from reckless drivers, who think nothing of destroying human life and rushing off.

Young people around the world are joining the movement for change, whether it is Greta Thunberg of Sweden who continues to berate governments for their incompetence and lack of sincerity in tackling climate change, or Malala of Pakistan who has taken shot in the head for defending the education of girls banned by the Taliban, or the thousands of young men and women who flock to the streets to protest against police brutality and blatant racial discrimination against blacks or people of color , or the students of the University of Dhaka protesting against the torture and murder of a comrade by a sadistic husband. Young people are tired of the helplessness of grizzled leaders who talk incessantly and continue to fail to lead, protect or feed them and their planet. Their outrage is contagious and has connected millions of their comrades across the world, and now, collectively, they are a force to be reckoned with.

In the Orwellian systems that seem to spread throughout the world, where the innocent continues to be denied justice, silenced for even asking for it; where the slightest dissent can be fiercely muzzled and the tentacles of corruption stretch far, it is the young who have the temerity to throw their fists in the air in protest or victory. It is their courage, their resilience, their solidarity, the clear perception of what is right and wrong, the ability to be creative in the most difficult circumstances and the spirit of innovation that emerges with each crisis as well as ‘with every technological revolution – these are all which we must embrace, encourage and support with sincerity and love. The year 2021 has given us ample proof that pandemics, climate change and the lust for power will continue to threaten our very existence. As we move into 2022, let us have confidence that our young people will find ways to reverse this doomsday trajectory and find the antidote for a toxic and dystopian future.

Aasha Mehreen Amin is Deputy Editor-in-Chief and Head of the Editorial Team of The Daily Star.


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