During the last four decades, many countries descended into destructive social conflicts and armed struggles. Many nations were engulfed by chaos and disintegrated into multiple, smaller belligerent entities.
The impact of an internal civil strive is not just the physically evident demolition of cities, towns and all valuable infrastructures of the country. It also manifests as a long-term alteration in the values, beliefs, individual behaviours and cultural identity of the society.
A new social order is replaced by the old one. A modern affluent class which enriches itself from the shifting tides of power flourishes from the ruins of the old vanishing class.
The new financial oligarchs substantially benefit from dealings with the warring factions and exclusively profit from black market commodities. On the other hand, when there is a disorder, an absence of government regulation and control, the state is no longer able to collect revenues and impose restrictions on markets, interest groups occupy that vacuum and monopolise markets for self-enrichment.
Likewise, a new generation of intellectuals, politicians and public figures scramble their way up the ladder of social order to push aside the old elite; and if they show resistance, they are accused of vapidness and at times being the embodiment of an old regime that brought misery and failure to the nation.
However, these recently emerged wealthy and power lust groups usually lack the culture, character and social consciousness of their predecessors. The rapidly accumulated wealth does not bring candour, elegance and respect, to the contrary, it attracts ridicule, suspicion and accusations of pillage.
A visible manifestation of the War on our society is the discontinuity of the natural succession of generations and the formation of a wide interval between two very distinct ages.
This generational gap is left behind by the War of the 1980s and early 90s. An entire age-group is missing from our social strata. The cohort that was born in the late 70s, educated in the eighties would have filled that divide. They represent the missing piece of the jigsaw.
This age-group encountered the civil war, and with all the passion, courage and energy of youth, they were the force and the fire that ignited the flames. They sacrificed their education and respectable careers, without much choice, for the precious cause of liberation and freedom. Consequently, they suffered a larger-than-ordinary share of death, disability and enduring mental illness and poverty.
At present they are the smallest and least significant stratum in society, bridging two comparably larger groups with widely parallel ambitions and values. and their absence is evident in every government organisation, every Ministry and every professional body.
Any agency one visits are populated by swamps of either extremely old, frail and out-of-touch or young, over-confident and inexperienced neophytes.This strange social phenomenon predicts the arrival of what could be either surprisingly beneficial or ambiguously dangerous to the country.
Today, two groups are at loggerheads in every aspect of social life — the remnants from the sixties and seventies and the younger post-war nineties bloomers.
These two groups have different perspectives on many crucial issues. They have contrasting views about the politics and the way the country is governed, the responsibility of the state and how it should be held accountable, the social problems concerning our communities, like, unemployment, security, role of traditional elders in a democratically evolving nation, role of women in the public life, and many more issues.
While the older generation prefers stability over change and they see what is available as the maximum that is achievable, the younger age-group dream of wealth, steady and satisfying jobs, better future and more involvement with the politics of their country.
They are influenced by social media, open spaces and the vast amount of information available and accessible for everyone. They quickly dissent, fiercely disagree, harshly criticise and oppose but not equipped with the right knowledge and experience to put forward solutions to the many problems hampering their society.
With the right supervision, guidance and proper training they can be professionally transitioned so that they can initially contribute to the re-establishment of their country’s many growing organisations, and later assume the responsibility of leadership.
Currently, there is persistent paucity in the cohort whose obligation was to guide and transition both in number and expert capacity, and the future of the country rests on the hands of the seventy per cent of young people racing ahead without supervision, direction or strong social restraints.
It is time we study this structural imbalance in our society and look for ways to avert any potential fallout, as well as channel the stalwart determination of the Young generation in a productive, constructive and controlled manner.