Op-Ed Opinion

Opinion: An open letter to the young people of my country: Let our contributions reimagine the future of our country

By Duol Peter Lam,

July 02, 2021 – Peace and mercy of the Lord to my fellow youths of South Sudan. We are living in unprecedented times that feel like everything we know and understand has suddenly been put at risk.

An open letter to the young people of my country: Let our contributions reimagine the future of our country
Duol Peter Lam (photo credit: courtesy)

Before the 2013 conflict, many of us lived normal lives, some of us were even privileged ones -and yet, in the blink of an eye, the conflict shifted the narrative of our lives into one of national fear and uncertainty.

As a generation, today’s youths have been consistently called a ‘snowflake’ generation. A generation, which is unable to understand the sacrifices our elders made for us to be where we call a country today, an impatient generation, which is not willing to roll up its sleeves to get the work done. Yet, in the face of reality in this national setback, we are one of the generations with the capacity to reimagine our country and transform it for the greater good if we can open our eyes.

Deep down, the overall consequences of the catastrophe have left our entire society and severely us the youths with no real options rather than feeling more uncertain about our futures.

It also threatens our mental health and our mindsets around navigating this newly-created infraction of tribal confrontation at the state level, whilst making us fear for the safety of our own selves in our very own country when the truth is told.

Our communities and tribes bonded our ideologies, immature politics turned us into a “Lame-duck generation”. Millions of students stranded on foreign soil, with little or no way to return home. International reports by humanitarian agencies concluded that in no country on earth you can’t find a South Sudanese. We are everywhere pursuing dreams that our country didn’t grant us. And in the bigger picture, those are only young people stranded in that misery.

We need to pull up our sleeves to get involved in turning the situation around and creating a country where our children and grandchildren would be proud of. We must try to focus on what matters most for the next generations and avoid what would recycle the current political messes into our country’s future.

I know the days are really dark, but we must try to keep the light shine. I challenge all of us to help create a safe modern, intellectual, and developmental environment wherever we are serving. We need to avoid copying the disastrous politics of the current and let’s get along with a modern practical way of solving our own problems without any anticipation of external help.

Our problem is not our elders as many believe 

Our problem today is not our elders but instead is our very own selves. We are lacking a sense of self-realization, a sense of self-awareness to understand our roles and abilities. The majority seems to be less informed about the priorities our country needs and almost all are lacking information about why a young country like South Sudan would be in that stage today.

Frankly, you need to dig into the causes of this bad break and contemplate what would be the necessary response from the owners of a country like us. Our elders did their parts, they brought to us what we called a country today. And the reality is that they only failed in managing what they struggled for.

Fellow friends, let’s realize that the turn is definitely ours right now. And more importantly, the question will be, how?

Here is how we can contribute to bringing change in our country little by little:

Wherever you are serving whether as undersecretary, as a school teacher, as military personnel, as business personnel, as a student leader, or as medical personnel, do what represents the upcoming generations, please. Our actions today do not affect only our very own future but also that of generations to come. Historically, we are one of the generations with a capacity to reimagine our country and transform it for the greater good if we can open our eyes clearer.

In other parts of the awakened world, young people are the manipulators and great pillars of change. Tribalism and nepotism have no room currently in these counting centuries and the question is no longer about how stronger your tribe is, or how brave you are, or your descendants either. It’s about what have you done so far that helped many find their way up? What have you planted for your descendants? What change have you brought to your society? What is your memorable contribution to the nature and progress of mankind?

Young minds across the world are busy nowadays advancing technology, striving for economic independence, advocating for social change and justice, they are helping in fighting climate change and natural disasters. So, why not us in South Sudan? My fellow friends, let’s stop the life of no purpose to dedicate our sweats and lives to something representing us and our generations.

Confronting and criticizing our elderly politicians on social media without any practical contributions won’t help us, it will only put our security and progress at risk. Social media didn’t make any change yet it has been 10 years after the mismanagement of the country. We must try both media and practical methods of creating change. And to get me clear here I’m trying to point out that let our roles not be just a social media role since nobody cares. We must involve practically and non-violently.

Regrettably, at some points, you will find that majority of us contributed to our failure as a generation in a way or another, like this scenario from most of my colleagues who are writing these inspiring articles against corruption on social media while they are the corrupt monsters in the dark you can’t imagine, Please, we need to be real. Let’s engage in helpful projects like capacity-building projects, educational projects, and entrepreneurship, not tribal-based projects of hatred and divisions. Let’s put out something to be copied by our young ones.

Duol Peter Lam is the Council Chairman of Nuer Students’ Union in Egyptian Universities and Higher Institutes. He can be reached via duolpeter100@gmail.com

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