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Monday, May 16, 2022

Why the youth of Goa can’t afford to remain apolitical any longer? – Valerie Afonso, President of Goencho Avaaz Youth Wing

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Recently, the youth of Goa have marked their presence in various environmental and political issues. From protests to flash mobs, meeting MLAs to making presentations at public hearings, I am proud to say that the youth have played an energetic and inspiring role in the fight to save Goa. Now that elections are round the corner, the youth are wondering what the fate of Goa will be next year.

This is all the more important as Goa seems to be experiencing a series of challenges. When the entire world is striving forward embracing green energy, our country is still running its course on coal! Our lives constantly being shaped and controlled by people who themselves are clueless of our wants. It is imperative in such cases to make our dissent vocal. As youth, where do we stand?

Whilst we are on to a great start, it is imperative for more youth to join the fight to preserve not just Goa but our own futures. Now more than ever, we the youth cannot afford to remain apolitical any longer. When we remain apolitical, then that gives a platform to undeserving and incompetent leaders to rise to power. The moment you preach your non interest, it gives the impression that one reeks of privilege and plain ignorance or is simply scared of the political mafia. The cunning leaders take advantage of this attitude. Our indifference gives them an upper hand. They thrive on our silence. We have leaders amongst us who don’t even know what ‘sustainable development’ means! Trust me, when we get such people to lead the political arena, we’re in trouble.

The moment one professes “I’m not interested in politics”; we deliberately give away our rights. We have no right to criticize the government; we have no right to grumble over pathetic roads; we cease to be a political animal, in the bargain we have consented to be the silent watchers. We have systematically allowed ourselves to be negated from the decision-making process. Remember, it is politics that forms the constitution, and the constitution gives us our rights.

What can youth do to save Goa from potential catastrophe?
-Inform. Gather. Act. Be aware of what’s happening, discuss it with your peers, gather like-minded people, and act on it the way suitable to you.
-Some have excellent leadership skills; stand for the upcoming Panchayat elections. It is time to snatch the power from these rogues.
-Do not select NOTA for god’s sake. Not the right way to show your dissent. You will end up helping ‘Voldermort and his allies’.
-Do not limit your responsibility to just voting. You are not doing a favour on anyone but yourself.
-Remind yourself and those around you, we are ‘still’ a DEMOCRATIC country. Take full advantage of your fundamental rights whilst they exist,
– Do not waste time ranting about how your votes are going to split. Instead talk to your people, come to a consensus which proves beneficial to you and to Goa.

Today, on International Youth Day, I am issuing a clarion call to all the youth of Goa to come forward and let your voice be heard. Our fate depends on the choices we make. Let not our ignorance or privilege hold us from saving our present and our future. It is time we throw out undeserving leaders, Goa deserves better, we deserve better.

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