Although unsuccessful as “tete de liste” for the Sidi Bouzid region, partly because we did not know how to “talk” to the locals and partly because of the sudden Tsunami called Al 3aridha, I remain a passive-active in Tunisian politics. I have been attending political and association meetings over the last two months. This short but intense path to political participation gave rise to many important lessons I believe are applicable to many young and aspiring political Leaders today. The first is that youth and political participation rarely seem to coincide. Only about 20% of the youth had bothered to vote on 10/23/2011.
After several months talking to youth nationwide, the reason most frequently mentioned for political apathy is lack of representation or identification with present political leaders. This harsh reality poses the largest obstacle: reinstating credibility and true representation in a new, pragmatic political leadership. I firmly believe politics has not failed. Politicians have. As long as young political leaders committed to the ideals of democracy, freedom and equal access top opportunities remain on the sidelines, we’ll never make any progress, regardless of all the talk of the “big party”
All my life I have been told youth is the future. I disagree. They are here, NOW.
Young Tunisians can no longer rely on present leadership and tried and failed methods. I believe the problem is more structural. Young leaders from the whole country must be taken into consideration in the decision-making process to alter hoe politics works and get the results we desire.
Young Tunisians demand pragmatic solutions to real problems, not promises and more of the same empty words. Political parties must fundamentally change. Tunisian youth have a key role to play by participating at every level of politics, including municipal and legislative. They must lose their fear, or apathy, and get involved; our duty is to demand space for participation, today.