07 October 2014
Seeing young people standing against authority to defend their rights is, for most of us, heartwarming. We love to cheer on the underdog; we admire those who put their lives on the line ostensibly for freedom as the youth of Hong Kong is doing today. Those are visceral human responses fueled by emotion and high ideals.
But as history clearly tells us, youth movements using the tool of civil disobedience to force change, are rarely successful. The most recent example is Kiev’s uprising that triggered a series of events resulting in Russia’s annexation of Crimea and a bloody civil war in eastern Ukraine. And can the Arab Spring be judged a success by any stretch of the imagination when Libya, Syria and Yemen are placed under a “before and after” microscope?
The word change has an optimistic ring to it, but we forget that while change can produce something better, it can also lead to something much, much worse. It’s interesting to note that students are almost always at the forefront of such demonstrations. Rebellion is built into the DNA of the young along with the kind of bravado that says, “I’m indestructible. It can’t happen to me,” which is why they’ll brave teargas and throw themselves in front of tanks. The older generation tends to be more cautious and, in many cases, rightly so, because where the young concentrate on the battle, wiser middle-aged heads either have self-preservation uppermost or instinctively know that the endgame may not be as pretty as protesters caught-up in the drama envisage.
…Bloomberg quotes research analyst Dylan Loh saying, “The longer this drags on, the more discontent there will be from the average Joe. We are seeing normal Hong Kongers start to raise their opposition to the protesters. Their daily lives – sending kids to school, going to work – are all becoming more problematic.”
RSIS / Online
Last updated on 08/10/2014