Response to Commentary by Ian Jackson
I read with great eagerness the article penned by Ian Jackson in the Sun Newspaper of August 22nd, 2011 titled “Our youth simply do not care” only to be disappointed in the facts as stated and in the rash conclusions drawn from a poorly researched commentary. It felt more like Mr. Jackson was venting his disappointment than being objectionable in his criticism (I was expecting them to be more of a constructive nature). Maybe, I too, had too high of an expectation and for that I apologize to the writer.
Mr. Jackson goes on to use the example of the attendance and polling results at the National Youth Council of Dominica’s (NYCD) General Assembly as a primary example that the results “confirm the youth’s denial of themselves and their inability to organize and certainly a lack of motivation and direction as a unit.”
I would like to honestly ask Mr. Jackson: how does one (1) National Youth Council’s General Assembly election confirms that youths do not care? I see this as more of a social issue than a mere youth issue. If we look at the other elections, i.e. village council or by-elections, what is the voting trend? Is there a massive turnout of voters? The greater issue at hand is the fact that the youth get pigeonholed to a social (general) issue to give it significance, using young people as scapegoats, something that this writer has also done in his “Internet Children” calypso.
What troubles me about the writer’s assumption is that the he uses one instance to generalize about the entire youthful population. Every objectionable writer knows that generalizations are made based on trends as observed through data analysis usually other a significant period of time and not on one instance, especially when it pertains to human behavior and attitudes. This gut feeling analysis holds no water, like straw baskets.
To sit idly by and generalize on the state of youth affairs and their behaviors from second hand accounts (Mr. Jackson wasn’t present or hasn’t been present at a General Assembly of the National Youth Council in over five (5) years) is misleading and a rash judgment.
It feels like the judge has tried the defendant even before viewing the evidence at hand, a clear case or irrational analysis of the matter at hand.
I feel this article is disrespectful to those who worked tirelessly at the National Youth Council, often with little or no support from the “adult” population. This article also belittles the achievement of Miss Fenella Wenham (not Miss Jonella Williams) in becoming the first female President of the National Youth Council.
The article goes on to say that “one can’t say that we hear the voices of the youth on issues of national relevance such as Voters versus National ID cards or debates and discussions on integrity in public office… have they organized marches to sensitize their peers on AIDS or are they waiting for adults to do it for them?
These statements clearly come from someone who isn’t in touch with the realities especially as it relates to youth involvement in national and social issues. The National HIV/AIDS Response Unit will attest that the NYCD and other youth organization, groups and clubs have been key partners, stakeholders and participants in a number of their activities and have themselves of the past five (5) years organized numerous debates, discussions, marches, paraphernalia distribution and the likes with regards to HIV/AIDS awareness.
I can also point to more than one occasion where the NYCD openly and freely discussed the issues of National verses Voter ID, unemployment, crime and violence and various other societal ills on state and private media. Young people do discuss these issues and many others too but Mr. Jackson must also be aware that there are more avenues for discussion now than before and simply because the radio/television sources are not the chosen sources for youth doesn’t mean the absence of meaningful discussion.
I honestly think that the article should have given as much focus and credence to the other “school of thought” and should have even explored the influence of the behavior and attitudes of the “adult” generation on the “sewo” generation. Again it shows that adults are quick to judge youth without realizing that they are as much to blame for their attitudes and behaviors.
The outcomes and conclusions from a more concrete analysis would have been more fruitful and would have garnered more respect from me.
Clearly the author of “Internet Children” didn’t want to wait for it, or work hard to build his conclusion, he wanted his judgments now and he didn’t want to work for it!
There is more to be concerned about in this article but I think these points are enough, at least for now.
Delroy N. Williams