Post Mortem

2019-A year of protests: Strive for a better world in 2020

By Nagaland Post | Publish Date: 1/3/2020 1:35:53 PM IST

 There are absolutely no denials and frankly no regrets to state that the year-2019 was a year defined by a wave of protests sweeping right across the globe. Right from Chile to Hong Kong, United States to India, France to Lebanon,  name it, protesters occupied the main streets and by-lanes for varied reasons candidly defying the rulers and their governments conveying as well as reminding them that ‘enough is enough ‘—‘don’t cross the line’, failing which face the fury of the masses. Precisely, this is what happened. We did witness a number of massive protests across the countries and continents that covered the print and visual media.

By and large, the protests were directed against injustices and misgovenrnance. This is what we witnessed throughout the year 2019. A common feature that undergirds all the protests happened throughout the world, for example, Lebanon, India or Hong Kong or the climate protests that covered the entire world, one important and notable feature is that in all these what we saw was that the young outnumbered the others and so the youth-centric. The issues were wide-ranging from climate-to-citizenship-to-misgovernance-to-corruption-to-abuse of power and authority. The youth of the world realized that their world has been robbed by the ruling classes. 

As against the back drop, the young came out in large numbers voicing out that their future and the   generations to come into this world shall not accept and tolerate the ways with which their world is governed and the levels with which those who rule them abused their powers they are vested with. Therefore, the youth of the world came in thousands and millions on to the streets shouted slogans, carried placards and voiced their grievances against those who claimed to be their representatives. Climate, joblessness, gender injustice, corruption, price rise, polarization, religious fundamentalism and cultural nationalism that led to total collapse of governance, rising economic and social inequality were some of the crucial issues that triggered the protests.  In India in particular anti-Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) coupled with NRS and NPS, infuriated the young Indians who saw that their dreams and aspirations were being dismantled and crushed. And their frustrations fuelled as their idea of India was being determined on the basis of religion one belonged which was antithetical and diametrically opposed to diversity of India in which they saw unity and oneness. Further, 2019 protests across the world evoked clear ideological and political divide pitched between liberalism and conservatism, fundamentalism and globalism, unit in diversity and unity in uniformity. 

2019 protests seem to be directed against the populist forces for their failures to deliver solutions to refugees, migrants, anti-Semitism, xenophobia, misogyny and others that concerns socio-economic, politico-religio-cultural facets. Young people all over would not agree with the traditionalists, their leaders who in their sixties and seventies offering all sorts of excuses, dodging the problems with frivolous excuses that their countries were facing and in the process accumulating properties and laundering the public money for themselves by abusing their powers and authority and what not. Apart from these, the theme that irked the young world was the planet’s climate emergency. With the climate change in erratic ways due to the humans’ greed and abuses of nature that totally changed everything evoked serious concerns pushing the youth to intervene. The young world seemed to be disconnected and totally left out, while on the contrary they should be at the center of participation and decision-making processes. 

Instead of being a shared and inter-dependent world those who controlled the nations to a large extent remained selffish and unconcerned about many things that we were going in front of them. In addition, the young saw the devastating levels of gender equality and gender justice. 

India topped the list wherein indiscriminate rape of women and girl children which became a regular feature and flashing point in 2019 that further rip opened the patriarchical mores and sexism. Young women bravely occupied the streets of the Indian cities challenging the ruling dispensation of treating women as objects of sex and commoditizing them. Year 2019 belong to the youth of the world who daringly protested against those powers who let them down and thus asked those politicians who failed in their governance. A clear message they gave to the world leaders was that they would never forgive and excuse them for their wrongs and failures. The world the young envisioned was a humane, just, equitable and sustainable.  Year-2019 was a year that was an inflection pointer for politics, democracy, globalism and governance.  Protests are part of democracy and 2019 was totally dominated by the young. They did defy and challenged the global and national powers that their continuance in office shall never be taken for granted. As rightly opined by Henry David Thoreau “Disobedience is the true foundation of liberty. 

The obedient must be slaves.” The message passed on by the young conveys similar views. Year 2019 that passed by belonged to the youth and the year 2020—second decade of the 21st Century too belongs to the youth who would continue to play key and pivotal roles in the making of new histories and in constructing new narrative thereby playing critical and creative roles in all aspects of life.  In them there’s anger, hope and vision. The past and future is a continuum as Kilroy J Oldster from the Dead Toad Scrolls unfold that “Human mortality threatens a person’s ontic self-affirmation. Life is a dream within a dream. The past is nothing, the future is an illusion, and my own existence is a trifle. If I can stop living a life of artifice and face my own nonbeing with courage, I will no longer suffer from the demons of damnation … Unlike human beings, no other creature spends their day brooding over their history of wrongdoing, or agonizes over the vagueness surrounding their future. 

Our preoccupation with the past and the future oftentimes causes us to fail to embrace the true joy of living each day one minute a time. Some people are inclined to sabotage their present happiness by assigning a disproportionate significance to their past. Other people escape a meaningful engagement with reality by fantasizing about their future.” A nuanced swipe of the past, present and future that leaves the year 2020 open to us and the young knows what to do.    

Dr. John Mohan Razu

Launched on December 3,1990. Nagaland Post is the first and highest circulated newspaper of Nagaland state. Nagaland Post is also the first newspaper in Nagaland to be published in multi-colour.

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