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The Flower Grandchildren Are Angry

Coen van Wyk

Posted on March 1, 2019 08:49

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Fumes of weed in Haight-Ashbury, demonstrators chanting: ‘Make love, not war.’ Parents wondered why their hard work and good intentions were not appreciated. And today the grandchildren of the flower generation are rebelling. Some are polite, but their anger can be felt. Their parents are bemused. When will they ever learn?

I grew up half a world away from Haight-Ashbury and Woodstock, where my peers wore flowers in their hair, but we cheered with them: ‘Make love, not war.’ A friend was refused admittance to his graduation ceremony because his hair was too long. The chant: ‘My country, right or wrong. If right, to be kept right, if wrong, to be set right’ resonated, and politicians squirmed when put to unaccustomed questioning.

Flower power! Syracuse.com


We sniggered when ‘Oh Cecilia’ was banned from the airwaves for being indecent, and when the censors did not get the implications of ‘Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds’ and ‘Puff, the Magic Dragon’. Like our counterparts world-wide we undertook not to be put in ‘little boxes, made of ticky-tacky’ but to make the world our home, and furnish it with love. Instead we furnished it with nightmares. We sang ‘I want to build the world a home’ and my dad snorted.

But we planted apple trees and our insecticides killed the bees and half the insects of the world. We furnished it with plastic that is choking the seas. My generation built computers, and instead of giving us individual freedom giant corporate systems monitor every action we take, every item we buy.

The world was our oyster. Brittanica


The post-flower politicians were going to teach the world to sing in perfect harmony, hand in hand. They smoked pot, but only inhaled sometimes. They dragged politics into the brave new world by duplicating the old ‘machine’ politics, creating political corporations that stifle individualism and deny the citizens a direct voice. We have created better, bigger boxes, all made of ticky-tacky, and they all, from the Brexiteers to the Economic Freedom Fighters, from the US Primaries to the Yellow Jackets, they all look the same.

And it is with bemusement that the political establishment finds a new generation of activists confronting them. A wave of youth activists is growing, and they don’t wear flowers in their hair. Some are terribly polite, like the Ugandan Hilda Nakabuye and Vanessa Nakatte of the Green Campaign Africa project. Some are ready to confront entrenched political interests like Isha Clarke in California. Some will confront the highest authorities, such as Greta Thunberg, who told the President of the European Union: ‘They sweep their mess under the carpet for our generation to clean up.’

Greta Thunberg. Polite, but determined. Earth Island Journal

Listening to Greta talking to the European leaders I hear in the background, the words of the song from those happy, flower-scented days: “When will they ever learn?”

For the new generation want what we sought. They want healthy forests with live bees and animals. They want the world to live in harmony and not in permanent conflict. They want to know from us why we failed, and whether we are going to help them put right the world we screwed up.

Coen van Wyk

Posted on March 1, 2019 08:49

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Source: BBC

Filipino fighting youth on politics and Pacquiao

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