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Volume 68, Issue 126, Friday, April 4, 2003


People, let your voices ring out

Naziha Akon
Guest Columnist

I remember once during my senior year of high school, in a government class, the instructor asked the students to express their opinions regarding a miscellaneous political issue. 

While each of the students explained their droning, ‘conservativei viewpoints, I slipped into a mindless daydream. I was rudely awakened by a student who exclaimed, "My God, if youire Republicans now, what are you gonna be when youire 40?"

I cannot help but think about the grave implications of her seemingly humorous remark. 

In America, the youth have been subdued. We are one of the few countries where the young people play an insignificant role in national politics. It is natural for the young adults of any country to be the voice of protest and criticism because they are the inheritors of the future world.

But here in the land of truth, justice, free speech and "apple pie for all," these rights are least exercised because we are too self-absorbed with what feels good: music, movies, clothes and sex. We tune out the issues that consume the real world even when our own government is heavily involved and despite the fact that our future is at stake. 

Take the war on Iraq for example. How many Americans are aware of information other than what they hear on the news? How many people go out of their way to do some personal research on the issues that surround "Operation: Iraqi Freedom"?

Of course the American government is pushing for this war. It wants some of that oh-so-good oil bubbling under Iraq. Itis going to spread its pro-war propaganda. The question is why are we, the intelligent individuals we are, so ready and eager to buy into it all? 

You know all those scenes of American military, doctors and other personnel warm-heartedly giving medical care and food rations to the helpless but very happy and grateful- looking Iraqi civilians? Have you ever wondered if they really didnit want the United States to bomb the hell out of their country?

I'm reminded of being always in a status of perpetual war when I think of many of our countryis foreign undertakings. And I am reminded of the 1984 slogan "War is peace" when I think of the phrase Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Iim also reminded of my most recent trip to the so-called Third World, to Bangladesh, a country brimming with political and social turmoil, where riots break out every other day. The government is unstable and students run out into the streets at the slightest prompt to protest any and all issues of concern.

I am less afraid of riots and bloodshed than I am of falling victim to a blind, mindless multitude. There is always room for hope in a nation rife with protest and revolution -- the hope that people may find a way to relative stability and peace.

Akon, a sophomore business and communication double major, can be reached via


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