Thursday, April 3, 2008

We the Future: Do the Math

Writing about the "future" always seems so naive to me. Throw in the role of "youths" and it increases my frustration. Allow me to explain. As children and young adults, we have consistently heard cries from our elders (those above the age of 30 nowadays) that we need to play a more active role in our society and in our communities. This, many claim, is one of the many solutions to the rampant crime and other perverse vices that swarm throughout society. I think it is undeniable that the young individuals in high schools and junior colleges across the country can indeed make that inevitable "difference", by spreading awareness and helping to close the cracks that many seem to fall through. But on some days, the importance of this role seems greatly emasculated and diminished. I think about the marches conducted by mothers and children against the heightened level of crime, and the null impact they seemingly have on the actions of others. From this perspective, it is easy to see why many become discouraged from playing their part. Throw in the fact that there are limited resources to make lasting change, and the glimmer of hope dims just a little more. Hence, I think it is unfair to impart blame on any age group for the reason that our society suffers from various transgressions.

According to the Population Resource Center, 41% of Belizeans are below the age of 15. From my own estimation, I don't think it implausible to estimate that 50-60% of Belizeans are below the age of 21. We are an incredibly young society, made up diverse backgrounds. We are as separated as the fingers of every hand, but equally similar in the function, movement and direction of the hand itself.

A black civil rights leader in the 1950's was asked how long he thought it would take for racism to be eradicated in America. His response: 100 years. His reasoning: sometimes, only time and the influx of a new generation can change the course of society. As pessimistic as it sounds, in some respects, I find this applicable to Belize. There's little that can be done to change our historically laid-back attitudes. The upper class is accused of not caring. The middle class is juuuuuuust comfortable enough not to care. And the poorer classes are not expected to care. But I think the math shows that the current 41-60% of "young Belizeans" will clearly decide if that generation shift will happen sooner as opposed to later. What we do within the next ten years, will determine that. Until then, there is no reason to believe that we are on a mission to save our country, or to expect better. Be patient, and let the actions and the possibility of changing the attitudinal mindset of our nation determine the future.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

A Dependent Nation

Ever since the election and ushering in of the new GOB, I keep hearing calls into the radio stations and people in conversation saying G.O.B needs to do this, or needs to do that and I can't help but think that most of us just sit around and wait for our government to do things for us. It gets me upset really because of the lack of initiative from our people and the expectancy that things will be done for us and it really isn't up to us to do somethings for ourselves.

Yes, government is responsible for many things when it comes to the needs of the country but if we as a people believe that when we woke up to a U.D.P country, that our responsibility as Belizeans ended there, then we are in for a rude awakening.

To be Belizean is far more crucial than just casting our very important vote on election day. It should carry through to our daily lives and how we take pride in the matters surrounding us. How many of us are active in our communities to see things get better? How many of us are mentors to disillusioned youth? How many of us partake in town/city council meetings to address issues in your area or take up the challenge of making sure our voice is heard? So many times the forum or stages is there for us to be active participants in the decision making or at least given the opportunity to vent our thoughts and frustrations and while some of us do take advantage of that, most of us are content with watching the activities unfold. Even long after the situation has become dire we still find in ourselves the ability to bitch and moan about our crosses in life but have no motivation to do something about it. We scoff at the Chinese/Taiwanese community with their shanty stores on every street corner but don't have the discipline to sacrifice a generation for the betterment of those to come.

Pipple seh life haad out ya... I don't believe we know what a hard life is yet, sad to say. I feel that we are complaining now because we have so long gotten fat off the tits of goodwill and charity that now when these aspects have become lean, we cry for help and more handouts. We complain about gas prices and high electricity rates in the privacy of our living rooms and expect the media houses and NGO's to champion our cause in the public forum. We fear the reality of what is to come and cry out for our government to do something about it.

I don't think we have the guts (for want of a better word) to objectively look at our lifestyles and see how to change the dependency of the way we live so as to better the way we live. We want it easy and we want it now in this world of $600 prepaid phones and living beyond our means. The keeping up with the Jones' has us hooked on the dream of living the good life while not feeling the need to work for it. In a country where we are quick to borrow the cultures of the US, we fail to see what makes us Belizean and what opportunities lay right before us. Far too often do we seek the "wise" accented words of paler faces than our own to guide us in a direction that we ourselves know to take.

Gimme gimme is our motto, as irritating as the song it reminds me of. Many fingers can be pointed for this mindset but regardless as to who you think is to blame for how we got here... we are to blame for staying this way. Its is time we take pride in being a citizen of this country and realize that the very opportunity of being a Belizean also comes with some responsibility.

Break the cycle! Get involved with your community! Know what is going on in your government! Hold them and yourselves to the highest standard! Love Belize for the jewel everyone claims it to be and maybe, just maybe things can better for ourselves.