Problems of the Young at the Beginning of the 21st Century
Problems which the young are facing today are very different from the problems that were pressing down the young of the past. Obviously – different times, different conditions, different youth. Nearly the fact that we have a chance to discuss about the problem, whether on internet debate, in school, in different media, or simply in the evening by the beer with other young people, which indicates that we – the young – have a key roll in solving the youth’s problems, is telling us how our time, conditions and youth is different from others. For instance – the rich capitalists were (in the time of industrial revolution) using their working force with such dreadful rawness that they were even brutally torturing the children – they were working in places where adults couldn’t, in chimneys, shafts etc. Children from five to twelve years old were forced to work in complete darkness for several hours. Ironically, the army complained because the young men were to weak to serve it…
Problems the youth has today are very different. Today we don’t know the horrors with which the young people of the past were facing. We aren’t hungry, mostly we come from the environment which is pleasant to us, we have a roof above our heads… Even more, there are many different types of salamis in our fridge, from smoked ham to Mortadella, lots of cheese, marmalade, cucumbers,…,we have a playground in which at least three different sports can be played near our home, and warm bed, modern computer, stereo, DVD player together with all new films at our home… Is it worth speaking about our problems at all? … In those exact things a problem lies hidden that I personally am experiencing. – I’ve got everything I want. I’m in lack of nothing. Why would I even bother if the thing for which I was meant to try to get it I already have? I find that one of the biggest problems of today’s youth – living in environment where they live very well and are completely enjoying the comfort which parents have provided. That can steal motivation and leads into laziness, marks in school can quickly fall, due to high amount of pocket money, the money is spent headless, aspiration for bigger comfort can appear – for why would anyone try everything when one has everything?
The next big problems that I see are drugs. Drugs have spread so quickly that it’s actually strange when you don’t find a lot of rests of joints in your walk in the park, needles can also be found… As we know, today’s drug addict isn’t society outlay that lies in dirt beside the road. No, today’s drug addict is a young male (or female!), who is well dressed, has a car and comes from the environment which I have mentioned before. There is also a crowd of fifteen year-old who are drinking cheap wine or brandy in the parks where earlier in the day children were playing… This habit doesn’t end quickly and in most cases it drags far in their twenties, in some cases it never ends… I don’t want to be a saint because I know the feeling of drinking a beer or two in hot summer days and warm summer nights very well, but (so called) culture of drinking that is being practiced by today’s youth misses the whole essence of drinking – to have a good time – and leads to throwing up, vandalism, not to mention filthy surroundings – empty bottles, plastic glasses, tins, butts – that is kept after that kind of drinking. There is nothing wrong with parties, they have, are, and will always exist, but there is something very wrong when a party turns out to be bare drinking or drug abusing.
I call the state of mind which I have noticed by many of my contemporaries. These young people see their greatest problem in marks at school. The girls who see their greatest problem in the fact that their sympathy is in love with their best friend. The boys who seek fights and they put their aggression on the weaker and then they brag in front of everyone. Both of them literally competing who drank more the night before… Then you try to say something intelligent to them and when you see the way they act you end up feeling the most stupid of them all. Then there is the other side, the ones who spend all of their days studying and sometimes in seems that they don’t really know why they study so much. That they will be successful in school. That they will be accepted in the college they want. That they will be successful once they grow up. What they don’t see is the basic pleasantness of their youth slipping through their fingers – the time in which you can be, if you can be at any time, (in the positive way, of course) relieved from worry…
I want to say that in spite of everything that I have written I know a lot of young people, who are truly intelligent and are looking a way out from all the problems I have described, not only for themselves but also for others. These are my friends that are stuck with me in the middle of all those problems, we are a part of them together and I find the evenings when we talk about all those things most precious. And sometimes we even find a way to solve some problems. It is true that, for now, we only talk about it, but ideas never die, do they?
Due to festival EXIT being the center of the debate I’ll include it in my text, as much as I know the festival.
Most of the attendants of the festival come from the area of former SFRJ. I find this very fact very positive. Today we are all filled with stereotypes about sublimity of Slovenians, hypocrisy of Croats and nationalism of Serbs. I myself sometimes joke about Croatians and Serbs. However, I learn on my experience. And my experience are friendships that I hold with former »brother« nations and the majority of these people are actually nice and friendly. There are exceptions of course, but these exceptions alone are the reason for stereotypes. I was a witness to the emptiness of those stereotypes many times.
EXIT is a large festival. And I can’t imagine a better feeling than being together with thousands of other young people, when you are friend with everyone when it doesn’t matter if you are Slovene, Bosnian, Croat or Serb, when you realize that you are not alone, that there are thousands just like you, people with the same problems. And then it probably seems that the solution for all the problems isn’t as far as it seemed. –
Matjaž Zorec, Pozitiv, age 19