Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Noonan on Young vs Old

Link to the Original Article

"And youth trumps age. Egypt is a young nation, median age 24, with high youth unemployment. All revolutions, in the end, are about the young versus the old, because the young are driven by hope and the old by experience. The men who massed in Tahrir Square the first week looked to be aged roughly 16 to 35. A few days into the revolution, I received an email from a friend just back from Cairo. He told me, he'd seen a young man run out of his suburban Cairo house. He was off to the demonstrations, to take part in history. Running after him was his grandmother, who literally grabbed him by the ear and tried to drag him back inside.

The young want revolution and progress, the old are inclined toward stability and peace. The grandmother was probably thinking, "I want you safe." The young man might have been thinking, "I want my freedom." The old are certain that happiness cannot be found in politics, that life is deeper and more mysterious than that. The young believe that happiness cannot be found without freedom, that freedom cannot be won without a fight, and that the fight is political. The old of Egypt will likely think the young have no idea what they're unleashing. The young think the old have no idea what they accepted—the limits, the oppression. "Anything is better than that," the young say. "We'll see," reply the old."

What I like about Noonan's expression is that it is wise and balanced. With the use of a story linking to a conversation, the discussion comes alive. Very clever way of presentation.

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