Youth Work in the 2020s: Difficult in the Diaspora?

The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of SyriacPress.

By Johann Kaddoro

The national concerns of our people need continuous socio-politically organized youth organizations that flank, support, and sustain the political institutions in all ways: intellectually, practically, culturally, and in the media.

We are currently experiencing — unrelated to the coronavirus pandemic — a very worrying inward-looking presence of our youth work. Practically all over Europe, most of our youth associations and federations are passive and unengaged in social debate. This negative trend has been developing for some years now and needs to be addressed. After all, in the last decade, it was the youth that had triggered quite a few taboo topics — such as questions of unity, identity, politics, or the homeland — which in turn could send constructive impulses both socially and in the media.

In the 2020s, there is a need for a courageous, fully involved youth that does not take on the role of a spectator. In THIS decade, it depends on whether we are nationally prepared to master the political and strategic challenges facing us, for whoever sleeps during the present transformation will wake up to bondage and injustice. Everything stands and falls with a national struggle for freedom flanked by a patriotic and progressive youth.

The Bethnahrin National Council (Mawtbo Umhtoyo d’Bethnahrin – MUB), the Dawronoye, represent this broad and deep freedom struggle and have called for youth institutionalization since their inception. This is something we Suroye are proud of, and we acknowledge and honour the related efforts of strength them over the last three decades, in the homeland and in the diaspora. However, the above analysis does not change the fact that in the here and now, we need to more actively and visibly engage the youth of our people in this political and strategic process. Redefining questions, such as the shape of modern democratic patriotism, in an increasingly legitimized global canon of values that pushes one’s own national self-confidence into the background, that produces an egocentric personality out of hard-won individual freedom, is a task for the youth. This can only be answered in critical dialogue with the present generation. Creative and contemporary ideas are needed to engage the youth.

They are emancipated in a different way and more individualistic, career-conscious, and in some instances more egocentric, than past generations. So, in their world view, such a task only stands in the way of self-development.

For our people, in turn, it is vital that our achievements, but also setbacks in the homeland, are actively processed by the diaspora youth in order to channel them reactively in a goal-oriented manner. Solidarity with the homeland is not a one-way street. It presupposes an ideal and material affinity with various points of contact. How do I, as a youth, contribute to the youth organised in the homeland receiving spirit and support from me in the diaspora and vice versa. In order to build bridges to the next generation, a broad brainstorming is now needed on how, and under which credo, the youth will gather.

With this small contribution, I wanted to express my opinion, because the upcoming national challenges are indeed large.

Long live the national resurrection of the Suroye and long live the organized youth of Bethnahrin.

Tihe Dawronoye d’Bethnahrin