As I sat listening to my father (Dr. Michael Youssef) explain to his audience, what growing up under a dictatorship in Egypt was like, I was caught off guard when a young man in the audience burst out, “it is still the same now!” Dad paused, clearly thrown off course by this rude interruption. He then explained to the insolent youth that he would answer questions after he shared what was going on in his country.
The young man appeared Middle-Eastern, but I was unsure of where he was from or if he had even been to the Middle East. Regardless, the issue is, he now feels it is his responsibility to interrupt a speech in order to get his opinions across. Had this young mans freedoms been taken from him? Now that he was the center of attention of the panel, and the entire auditorium, one could not help but notice his hands trembling. He was clearly upset about the situation in Egypt, perhaps for genuine reasons. Perhaps he has family there, maybe that is his home, and he is really upset at the state of affairs in his country. Whatever the case, why did he feel necessary to make an outburst?
Our society loves the individuals who stand up to tyranny and opposition, and make their point. We idolize these roles in movies and television, our own President encourages the youth to take control and dictate their own destiny (no matter the cost). President Obama said,
This union may never be perfect, but generation after generation has shown that it can always be perfected. And today, whenever I find myself feeling doubtful or cynical about this possibility, what gives me the most hope is the next generation — the young people whose attitudes and beliefs and openness to change have already made history in this election.
Is empowering the youth a good idea? The problem here is that young people make rash decisions based on feelings and emotions. The Egypt crisis was started by the youth, and many others followed. There were reasons for protest, sure, but are they reason enough to shut a country down and put lives at risk?
This young man was probably no older than twenty-two or twenty-three. The Mubarak regime has been in power for over thirty years. This boy has never lived in nor seen anyone else in power, but he feels obligated to tell someone who has seen both, that he is wrong? No my friends, this is what is wrong with our world today, we have replaced wisdom with energy, we have substituted diplomacy with hot-headedness. Think of all the decisions you have made in the past few weeks… think about the results that came from rash decisions and then think about the results that came from through examination.
I do not know what the end result of this situation will be. I have just read that President Mubarak is stepping down, whether this ends up well or not is unknown. One thing is for sure, diplomacy and careful thought no longer dictates the day, instead we are lead by emotions, fear, and carelessness.
I know I am writing this to a young audience, and my advice to you all is this: yes, be the future voices of America, but maybe more importantly, be the future thinkers, and discerners of America! Study history, learn from people who have seen more and have a better understanding, then formulate your ideas and opinions.
This is how we are able to learn, grow, and lead.