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Dear Generation Y, there’s only so much a screen can show


Comments / 1962 Views / Friday, 6 January 2017 00:00


By Sulaiman Rameez 

As big as a generalisation it is, it’s frustrating and scary to observe where we are heading towards. We constantly witness fierce battles fought with passion and vigour at the cost of broken keyboards and embarrassing typos. 

Whether it be on Facebook or WhatsApp, content levels have reached saturation so much so, that finding credible information is a scarcity. We then have the pranksters and trolls, misleading people who seem slow to catch on, for the humour of the rest. On top of that we have memes to poems to articles to mildly narcissistic pictures (mine included) and it almost feels like our entire lives are based on or for some even validated by the virtual world. 

While it is definitely a blessing to be connected around the globe, one of the key drawbacks that the virtual era comes with is our lack of engagement with the ground reality. As a generation, we are probably the most informed, and yet the most misinformed. It has become so convenient, that we are now apparently able to understand an entire faith from an article, judge a person based on what’s reported of a crime, and analyse a situation of war based on the live coverage given to us by International Media. If it were only that easy.

One of our biggest struggles that are fuelled by the lack of connection with the real world, are the choices of freedoms we would like. The issue here is that we want it all. We want a planet free of sexism, racism and crime, with a beautiful eco system and world peace. Brilliant! 

But wait, we also want a world where pornography is legal, because, that’s expression? And we must protect the freedom of expression? We want to protect the freedom of speech (where convenient) to push our various agendas, and sadly the often heard “It’s okay, just throw it there men, the cleaners will pick it up, what are they being paid for?”

I wish I could spell it out in black and white that some freedoms in this world are mutually exclusive and we need to pick the right ones. But that’s not the case. It never is. We need to understand that we are part of a complex system of 7.4 billion individual perspectives and that there will never be a perfect balance of freedoms that we agree to. But the closest we could get is to re-establish our link to reality and use that as a means to compromise certain freedoms and gain others. 

(UNLOCKED is a space for Sri Lankan youth to express their views and opinions on development with the aim of creating positive change in the world. The views expressed in the blogs are solely those of the authors. UNDP Sri Lanka and Daily FT does not represent or endorse the views expressed in these blogs. Read more about the UNLOCKED initiative www.lk.undp.org.)

As an example, If we could put half the energy that goes into double tapping those pictures on Instagram to read up on the “biological” change that pornography does to the brain and why this is a significant factor that has contributed to the rise of sex crimes, or try experience a culture or religion other than yours, through a friend, we just might be able to inch closer to the happiness that we expect from the freedoms we desire. 

So my kind appeal to you is that in addition to the hashtags, trending articles and viral videos, step out of the house and embrace what the real world is like. The smoke in the air, the enthusiastic street vendors, the agitated protestors, the everyday citizen running to make a living and most importantly the awe-striking splendour of the world we live in. Because there’s only so much a screen can show.

(Sulaiman Rameez is a past pupil of D.S. Senanayake College, Colombo. He is very passionate about international affairs and climate change. Hoping to pursue his higher studies in law and international relations, he hopes to someday start his very own chain of organic farms as a first step towards the winning the battle of climate change. Sulaiman is also the Director of Environmental Affairs for the International Youth Council, Sri Lanka Chapter and loves to meet new people and is constantly making progress in his life mission of spreading good vibes. He is well recognised in the debating and Model United Nations arena for his multiple awards and is also a student at Bandaranaike Center for International Studies. Connect with him via: @SulaimanRameez.)


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