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The year 2017 ended with very disturbing news as reports of slave markets in Libya shocked the world, and many asked how such a thing could today even be possible. When such outrages become public, a search begins for the culprits. Is it the evil men of Libya selling the poor Africans, or evil elites in some African countries who keep their people in poverty, or are the culprits are the evil Europeans, desperate to keep the refugees out of Europe by all means? Or perhaps is it is the youth of Africa themselves that is not yet ready to change? Not yet ready to take responsibility for order and progress in their own countries but instead opted for the easy route and fleeing from the problems and diﬃculties at home? Or is it the Nigerians, Ghanaians, Guineans, Eritreans or others who sell their own sisters and brothers as commodities without a trace of guilt? Whatever their individual roles, all these actors, in my opinion, are complicit in the atrocities in Libya.
The acts of inhumanity we witnessed in countries around the world in 2017, be it the wars, the slave traders or the impoverishment of our own people by ruling elites, must bring us a cause for concern. How do each of us, individually and as a community, practice charity and altruism?
I hope that 2018 will be a year for the youth of Africa. Despite having the youngest population of any continent, Africa is ruled by the aged – with an average age of 75 years. No wonder there is little progress in some countries. Statistically, youth are in the majority, but what is preventing them wresting control of their future from the seniors? Would it not make more sense to organise themselves rather than to flee, in order to finally bring about long-awaited change in their homeland? The easiest solutions are not always the best. While everyone understands that changing society is a lengthy process, individuals must also be prepared to work together for the good of the nation.
In some African countries, there is a considerable resignation when facing their problems on their own. No other continent in the world has witnessed the emergence of so many “Free Churches” in a few years like Africa. The “pastors”, “bishops” and “prophets” of these Churches have become millionaires. The fact that many Africans no longer rely on their own strength and initiative to change their lives, but instead place their faith in the hands of these “representatives of God”, is simply sad. It is the capitalist nature of these free churches that strips the proverbial last shirt from the back of the poor.
It is a disgusting charlatanism when these Pastors look the faithful in the eyes, smile benevolently, and then rudely ask for donations “in the name of God”, indeed, with the assurance that the more money flows, the faster their earthly problems are solved, is disgusting charlatanism.
It is not surprising then, that some African governments do not care about what happens to their populations. Those who spend time praying and praying for hours each week have no time to worry about making real changes in their own country. This is one of Africa’s biggest dilemmas.
Trust in simple and fast solutions has not worked anywhere else in the world, so why do some Africans still believe in miracles from God? Is the Creator just a heavenly pizza delivery service, simply delivering their order?
Without a moral-ethical revolution, there will be no real change in these countries in the foreseeable future. Revolutions are not always won by weapons and war, many societies require only an intellectual revolution. Extracurricular education is just as important as classroom education. Many of the elites who have the control in many countries are highly educated academics. However, they do not use their knowledge and education for the benefit of their countries and their citizens.
This is why the youth of Africa must organise themselves. They have no choice but to take their fate into their own hands. Many do not even know what is waiting for them in the “paradise” of Europe: in Italy many Africans beg on the streets, in France many live as homeless people on the streets, while others work as prostitutes. Is this the longed for paradise – a despised existence in the dregs of European society?
So it’s high time for the youth to realise that, no matter what languages they speak, or what their ethnicity, they are all in the same boat – and not just in the Mediterranean …
Instead of making life diﬃcult for each other, young people must finally learn to stand up for each other and to fight for a greater cause. Youth of Africa, wake up! Believe in yourself and take destiny into your own hands. One thing is clear: positive change may demand personal sacrifice, but there is no other road to happiness, more wealthier than this.
Which risk do you prefer? The risk of dying of thirst when crossing the Sahara, drowning in the Mediterranean, or ending up as a slave in Libya? Or the risk of organising and becoming active in your own countries – perhaps failing at first but still living on your own terms? Nonetheless, the right to travel or emigrate legally for education, work, business and leisure travel needs to be granted to everyone, not just citizens of Western countries.
The New Year begins with inspiration as s. Liberia peacefully elects as president a representative of the younger generation – ex-footballer and Senator George Weah. Perhaps there is hope after all.