By Joseline Byakatonda
World over, there is an increase in violence of all nature. The spirit of violence and greed is at play leaving one wondering who to side with in whatever circumstance; whether the opposition or proposers. As it is always, there are two parties in a conflict, but with the spirit of greed and violence at play, it is difficult to decide who of the warring parties is in the wrong or right if one is to take a side. Incidentally, neither of them is a better option. And, while the wild fire of violence and greed spreads across continents; one needs to stand still and ask what will become of the future which starts today spreading into tomorrow with a generation born in violence, nurtured in, and by violence. Majority of today’s people have either been victims or perpetuators of violence.
According to United Nations statistics, the World has more youth aged 15-24. With over 1.2 billion of the World’s youth being youth and children; prepare to eat the fruits of the violent seeds sown. The time has come and surely is here for all, whether dead or alive, to taste the fruits of this violence-Uganda being no exception.
Violence in most cases stems out of pride and greed. The belief that you are more important than anyone else is pride. The belief of only me can do it, only me should be at the top, be it in business, leadership and work among others. Every time there is a feeling of without me this cannot work out even where people with similar skills exist; it is pride. As soon as the window of pride opens, greed walks out the door and violence is at the roof top because with greed and pride, one does almost anything to maintain, to grab, to be in control because the belief is-ONLY ME CAN. All the violence in the world is because of this: Uganda being no exception. All the violence in our homes is because of this. All the violence in our schools is because of this. Which spirit are you spreading, is it violence or greed? For whatever we stand for and spread, we should be ready to enjoy its fruits. By the aroma of wide spread violence around the World, the fruits are already ripening. People are up in arms. This is just the beginning.
Not even the most revered country for democracy is safe. Since elections in November 2016, 261-867 incidents of violence have been reported in U.S.A alone, not counting incidences where property has been destroyed. In Uganda, TOGIKWATAKO is the latest slogan against the constitutional amendment for article 102 (b). The violence that has erupted because of this process is no secret. Citizens are dying, others wounded, others imprisoned because of violence. When adults shout instead of speaking to communicate, then there is a problem. When an all embracing political environment is not nurtured in various countries, do not be shocked when succeeding leaders World over- who will mainly be the youth in five years from now- don’t at all listen to advice, after all you our mentors are not listening anyway. Therefore do not get shocked when young professionals discredit senior professionals, when just married couples discard the advice of those married longer. It is the norm of the society nurturing us; to discredit what others do and are.
To the youth, the message is: get whatever you want to get at all costs no matter whose feet you topple on. When adults speak with disrespect to one another, it is the society that looses because the youth who have grown in that environment will most certainly not respect anyone, be it their parents. Is it therefore not a mistake that boda-boda riders, who are mostly youth, are unruly? That is what we have taught them. When the youth of today do not respect you, simply bear with them, because their environment has not been a good example to emulate. Do what I say and not what I do, will not work in this era. Let’s go back to the drawing board, especially in our homes, that have become the epitome of domestic violence.
Since when did mangoes start growing sugar cane! From the domestic violence in our homes, the youth are deprived love but we expect them to love. Where there is no understanding in our homes, they will not learn it from anywhere. Society must be ready to eat the fruit of the seeds sown, but first, starting with the home. The probability of a domestically abused child becoming a responsible parent or leader is slim while that of children that have been nurtured in responsible homes is high. The current trend of young people selling off inherited or family property is simply a symptom of a naïve environment the youth are nurtured in today that makes them naïve too. Property selling is an indication of no ownership, after-all, it was daddy’s or mummy’s when they are dead or old, get rid of them!
Every day, there is news about a child-parent relationship gone sour. More than before, curses are no longer a scare because many think that they are already living out the curse in their homes. Parents cursing children without training and love will not work. It is like flogging a dead horse. Even God will not answer those requests.
Young people, as witnessed from school outreaches, already live a life of a curse by the way their parents treat themselves. Therefore, scaring them not to insult elders and their parents because of a curse they may inherit gives no meaning as the life lived under a curse, to them, is no different to the life they are living now. It is common now for a child to evict their biological mother, who is a widow, out of her marital home. But that is how we have molded them; to be feeling-less, the fruits of violence. Their feelings too have not been considered. Youth can’t give what they don’t have and cannot have what we have not given them. Families are yet to lose even more than what we currently see or read about.
The Youth may not treasure counsel because in any case, they were not involved or consulted. The Youth of the past were not knowledgeable because of low access to information. This is an era of information, be it wrong or right. Eruption of violence is a symptom of an underlying problem; those in authority not listening; be it husband or wife, father or mother, uncle or community leaders. Violence is an eruption of grievances held inside a human for a long time that because of being overwhelmed burst in anger to make a statement ignored over and over again. Eruption of violence in schools and universities is usually because of authorities not listening to what the youth are saying. The Youth cannot be perfect just like every human, but they still listen, then guide in decision making. Unless there is a change in attitude for leaders in parishes to listen to the youth, youth activities will remain a flop. Touching a heart of a youth starts with intent listening.
The message across the globe from the youth is ‘you are not listening to us because if you listen, then you will do certain things differently for us’. When students of Makerere University continuously strike, do not brush it off because you think they enjoy chaos. But, if they enjoy chaos there also is a question that needs an answer. If Makerere University students just enjoy chaos, then why do lecturers and non teaching staff strike too? By the way, why do those of Kyambogo University strike? Why the wave of strikes in secondary schools? Even those in primary would strike frequently but poor kids, they are easy to trample over and silence. The education sector that’s important in imparting values has instead become a sham. Is it because majority of the people are now going to school? What is it?
The youth are being taught the only way to solve problems is by force. The principle of co-existence has silently slipped out of our culture. While some people are still trying to practice tolerance, co-existence (the ability to acknowledge our differences and yet accommodate one another in love) has been thrown out of the door. Are the adults meant to train us supposed to practice co-existence by hitting each other in homes? As this fades out of the community, do not expect us youth to land from Mars or Venus with a different practice. We will feed you on the very fruits of the seeds you sowed.
Uganda has one of the youngest population with over 77% of the population being 30 years and below. This is the age of energy and blossoming. What we teach them at a tender age is what they will give back to us. Formation of gang/pressure groups like Bakifeesi, Muslim Brotherhood and Boda Boda 2010 are fruits beginning to ripen- fruits of society’s sweat and the homes that form us. Our appeal is to our parents to take a positive step in changing this trend. May the peace of Christ be witnessed in our families this Christmas! Be bridges of peace and not violence. What is sown is what will be reaped. Jack fruits do not grow on mango trees. Violence yields violence.
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