Kumlachew Getu Salilew
The world is in an unprecedented social change marked by turbulence, anxiety, hope and dilemmas. In all the corners, people feeling frustrated by the deepening economic inequality, identities threatened by the ever engulfing forces of globalization, unmet political demands by archaic political establishments are echoing a call for an overhauling of the system. The overall crisis is reconfiguring the social, economic and political landscape of our contemporary world.
The challenges are multifaceted and global. The increased interconnectedness enabled through improved communication and transportation in the last three decades are also sharing the burden to everyone in the table. The refugee crisis in Syria or Africa is changing the political dynamics of Europe and or North America as much as the financial crisis in Wall Street could affect the livelihood of the kid in the remote village of Mozambique.
The reaction to this challenges and historical process are wide ranging. Nonetheless, the rise of radical reactionary voices in previously accommodating and open societies is one notable instance. The recent exit of Britain from the regional integration arrangement of European Union and the ascendency of Donald trump as a presidential candidate of the right wing party in US 2016 national election can demonstrate this depressing trend. A mainstream media superficial, ideologically biased and context insensitive presentation of current events is doing much of a damage in this equation by fueling fear of the others and strengthening paranoia among the majority of the elites and the public.
Despite its diminutive size and lack of discernible structure, however, there is a social group evolving as an anti-thesis. An enclave of dominantly young, better educated, technologically wired, less territorial, liberal, pluralistic and socially conscious. A loosely associated grouping who tend to lean on reason and solidarity and an innovative solution/s to the complicated social problems we are facing as a specie. These agents, who appears to go beyond the micro realities build and the small comfort zones erected, are less tormented by the idea of integrating with the other and are not unreasonably afraid of the unknown or the new.
From engaging in awareness raising campaigns to boycotting socially irresponsible corporations, it is challenging its respective political establishments to reform. Wielding as its main weapon the social media platforms, this circle of people critically debates , inspires, shares on range of socially sensitive matters and forms its own perspective. Religious radicalism , terrorism, sexuality , drug policies, gun control, human rights, electoral politics, migration, multiculturalism and many more other topics does not go unchecked without inviting a fierce and a times furious exchanges in this virtual spaces. Notwithstanding the extent and how meaningful its impact is on public policies, it has been a while since we are witnessing its influence on articulating an agenda and shaping the mainstream media discourse.
I believe this is an encouraging and worth welcoming social movement in our today’s world. I believe using the combination of our talents and the technological artifacts at our disposal we can march for the creation of a better, fairer and free world. We need more of such seeds of change and their bearing. I also believe the way to the current pressing or historically valid setbacks laid in sober and fact based deliberation which are guided with the spirit of collective wellbeing, mutual responsibility, open mindedness, good will and solidarity.
And more importantly, I believe more than any time in history this is a point that humanity needs to re-invent itself and the relation with each other and re imagine its own socially constructed world that it ultimately brought to existence.
Kumlachew Getu Salilew
The contents of this article are the sole responsibility of the author, and can under no circumstances be regarded as reflecting the position of ALDA and the European Union.