Since the 24th of February, 2022, when Putin of Russia announced his country’s “Special Military Operations” in Ukraine, the world has been feasting through television, radio, newspapers, magazines and social media, on the marvels of advanced technologies in the military, finance, economic and social realms.
We now know that Putin was saying the truth a few years ago when he said Russia had developed a supersonic weapon which travels at a speed several times faster than light, is remote controlled, evades all current surveillance systems, and can carry nuclear warheads.
We have witnessed the devastating power and accuracy of remote-controlled and guided weapons destroying their targets, with the ease of an ice cream melting in the Kalahari Desert. We have learnt how the US and Western European media is married to liberal capitalism and parrots the war objectives of its capitalist and political masters.
We have learnt how easy it is to target individuals and companies and remove them from the world banking system through the use of technologies imbedded in the global financial and banking systems.
We now know that freedom and democracy are American and Western European, while the rest of the world is either authoritarian or transitioning to American and Western European imposed “freedom, democracy, science, art and culture”.
We have seen how Europe can scramble and respond positively to the plight of millions of refugees created in under 4 weeks, only if the refugees are Europeans.
It is now very clear the US and Western Europe are quite happy to flood any country with its military weapons for such a country to fight its wars with its real threat, while enriching US and Western European arms manufacturers.
All countries of the world are checking whether their old stock of arms and military equipment are enough for the moment, or whether they should stock up again. Even neutral Switzerland has gotten into the act. German has grabbed the opportunity to rebuild its already large military. So are all Western European countries.
Russia and China have, meanwhile, all along been building their armies, ever worried about the expansionist and threatening posture of the US and its Western NATO allies.
In pursuit of global economic and political dominance, we have seen how the US, NATO and Western Europe have driven the world to an inch of nuclear war. Terrified of ending up like Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria or Libya, Russia has resorted to the only means the US and Western Europe understand, fear and respect: war.
Oil, gas and grains are fast becoming an economic and social problem for many countries, as the global impact of the war, especially the weaponizing of the economy and finance systems of the world by the US and its NATO Western allies begin to bite. Many other value chains in technologies, manufactures, agriculture, transport and even military industries are being disrupted.
In this conundrum and more, Zambian young people, largely unemployed and poorly educated and skilled, can only use cheap cell phones for social media when they can afford data and electricity to charge their phones, and when they can access the internet. Our young people are passive observers in a world military drama pregnant with the threat of nuclear war which could turn them into nuclear ash. For Zambian young people who care to know, it is impossible to sift through the information warfare and get to the truth, about the war.
Sadly, Zambia has blindly voted at the UN with its former enslavers, colonisers and now neo-colonisers, perhaps in the hope of quickly securing IMF loans to smooth over its massive debt problems.
Young people love new things, they love gadgets that challenge their intellect and skills. They love to find out what makes things what they are, how and what they are made off. Young people are inquisitive, curious, and very creative. They are not satisfied with things as they are; they are always looking out for that which is changing in everything. This is what it means to be young actually – to be ever probing, learning, growing, developing and changing.
The deep pit of mass poverty we have thrown the majority of our young people into means that this world historic period will pass them by, without them influencing it in any way.
Philosophy, sociology, geography, mathematics, physics, chemistry, biology, technology, and all knowledge and skills, properly made available to young people, are what have produced the wonders, both destructive and productive, we are seeing every day.
In our part of the world poverty and hunger mean that our young people are not part of the great world movement of new inventions, new innovations, discoveries and expansion of knowledge in new frontiers, and more importantly; they are consumers of inferior technologies, once these have become old and overtaken by new ones, in the US, Western Europe, Japan, Russia, China and Asia.
I participated in what was, and still is called “JETS” – Junior Engineers, Technicians and Scientists – meant to promote careers among young people in engineering, technical and scientific fields. I do remember working hard trying to manufacture a cheaper, safer and better version of matches. I almost burnt the dormitory I was sleeping in at Luwingu Secondary Boarding School. I made the unforgivable mistake of taking a sample of my raw matches to my dormitory, and, to make sure those who smoked did not use them for lighting cigarettes, I hid them under my pillows. I do not know what instincts, shortly after leaving the matches behind, forced me to return to check the state of my matches. When I went back into the dormitory, and fortunately it was during class time and no one was around, I saw smoke bellowing from my pillow and instantly new that my matches were the culprits. I quickly doused the fire, fortunately it was just starting and was very small, and I took my experimental matches fast to the chemistry laboratory where it was safe to store them!
I actually went to Mpika Secondary School where the provincial JETSfare was held that year, with a rebel expatriate teacher who personally paid for the trip from his pocket, called Roel Wieringa, from the Netherlands. The good man is today a professor of information systems. Needless to say, we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves and I think we were recognised for our participation and taking the rough journey we had made to make it to the fare!
Our young people are no different to Chinese, US, European, Asian, Latina American or Australian youth – they are fully human, talented, intelligent, eager for life and desirous of being part of the inventing worldlike all other young people of the world.
Their greatest challenge is their material and cultural poverty and backwardness which guarantees that they have an infancy, childhood, teenage, adulthood and education experience all steeped in poverty and therefore are denied the opportunity to be part of the world movement of young people that are creating new sciences, new technologies and new inventions which are every day changing the world we live in.
We must change this state of affairs. A good starting point is to demand that our education system be completely overhauled to meet the demands of the times, every child must be in school, at government cost, every child must be properly fed so that their development is guaranteed, and our government and parents must make these absolute priorities.
None of these demands can be met without a fight with the lying, thieving, corrupt profit mongering politicians and other leaders we have tolerated over the past 58 years. Young people themselves must lead this fight; it is about their lives!
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