To­day’s gen­er­a­tion con­tin­ues to play fid­dle­sticks while Rome burns

Zululand Observer - Monday - - ZO OPINION - Lon­don Let­ter

AS I’ve said be­fore, the great­est ‘gift’ my self-in­dul­gent gen­er­a­tion gave to the world is the celebrity chef.

It’s a far cry from my fa­ther’s ‘Great­est Gen­er­a­tion’, which sur­vived a world war, a great de­pres­sion, the Cold War and threats of Mu­tu­ally As­sured De­struc­tion.

But even the he­do­nis­tic Celebrity Chef Gen­er­a­tion seems to have marginally more back­bone than the cur­rent crop known as Gen­er­a­tion Snowflake.

Ob­vi­ously I’m gen­er­al­is­ing, es­pe­cially as my kids - thank­fully are any­thing but snowflakes.

Both work harder than I did at their age, both stud­ied more, and both had to take uni­ver­sity hol­i­day jobs for pocket money, whereas my so­lu­tion to a stu­dent cash cri­sis was to tele­gram my dad.

Any­way, it’s safe to say my gen­er­a­tion didn’t cover it­self with glory. Much of the crip­pling guilt com­plex in the West to­day is a re­sult of sappy hip­pie ide­ol­ogy that we thought was cool back in the day.

How­ever, Gen­er­a­tion Celebrity Chef some­how got a free pass. The world sur­vived them. But all bets are off on the world sur­viv­ing Gen­er­a­tion Snowflake.

The hand wring­ing hip­sters and So­cial Jus­tice War­riors who dic­tate the nar­ra­tive and think it’s their mes­sianic mis­sion to show us the er­ror of our ways will soon have to face up to re­al­ity.

For con­trary to their ver­sion of utopia, cri­sis man­age­ment is not about trans­gen­der toilets, Gaia, or #metoo Hol­ly­wood stars claim­ing cast­ing couch abuse. In­stead, it can be en­cap­su­lated in one word: refugees.

There’s a tidal wave of them out there about to crash on the shores of the in­dus­tri­alised world. The po­ten­tial for a global dis­as­ter is mas­sive.

Con­sider this: ac­cord­ing to the UN High Com­mis­sioner for Refugees, a whop­ping 68-mil­lion peo­ple are - or are at risk of be­com­ing - refugees.

That means there are more dis­placed peo­ple than the pop­u­la­tions of South Africa, Namibia and Botswana com­bined.

The big­gest para­dox fac­ing the planet to­day is that pop­u­la­tions are ex­plod­ing in coun­tries un­able to ac­com­mo­date them, but de­clin­ing in those that can.

Ev­ery year mil­lions more are born in the least-ed­u­cated, worst-gov­erned parts of the world than any­where else. And it’s mul­ti­ply­ing ex­po­nen­tially.

Ac­cord­ing to the UN, the num­ber of peo­ple aged 20 to 30 will surge from 1.2-bil­lion to 4-bil­lion this cen­tury.

And all of that growth will be in Africa and South Asia. For ex­am­ple, Pak­istan’s birth rate is 3.6 chil­dren per woman, com­pared to 2.4 in In­dia.

How­ever, Africa will be the epi­cen­tre with an av­er­age of five chil­dren per fe­male.

Flee­ing to the West

The stark re­al­ity is that most of Africa can’t ab­sorb more peo­ple. It sim­ply does not have the in­fra­struc­ture, ed­u­ca­tion, money, or ad­min­is­tra­tion to do so. Ac­cord­ing to the World Bank, 64% of sub-Sa­ha­ran Africans live on $1.90 per day or less. It is sim­ply un­sus­tain­able.

So where will they go? Will they just starve to death? Will we see a never end­ing pa­rade of pop stars singing ‘We are the World’?

There are no easy so­lu­tions. In fact, there may not be so­lu­tions as the prob­lems of sub-Sa­ha­ran Africa - with the ex­cep­tion of South Africa and some neigh­bour­ing states - may be too pro­found for any­one to fix.

By the end of this cen­tury, un­less the baby-boom vol­cano is mirac­u­lously plugged, the num­ber of peo­ple in dire straits will be greater than the com­bined cit­i­zenry of the de­vel­oped world.

The dis­tressed mil­lions have one goal. To flee to the West. But as we are see­ing with Brexit and the re­cent Ital­ian elec­tions, Europe is al­ready at break­ing point with refugees.

Yet what is hap­pen­ing now is a mere frac­tion of what is com­ing.

I hope I am wrong, but we could be on the verge of a bib­li­cal hu­man­i­tar­ian catas­tro­phe that is al­most unimag­in­able.

By the time the tip­ping point ar­rives, the bun­glers of the Celebrity Chef Gen­er­a­tion will be out of of­fice. That’s the good news.

The bad news - on cur­rent form any­way - is that this will hap­pen on the Snowflakes’ watch.

At the mo­ment the Snowflakes are more in­ter­ested in purg­ing thought crime (no con­ser­va­tives on cam­puses), cul­tural ap­pro­ba­tion (no som­breros un­less you’re Mex­i­can), toxic mas­culin­ity (all white men), and their favourite, trans­gen­der toilets.

Wel­come to the real world.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.