Are you keeping track of the protests and demonstrations around the world today? It’s reminiscent of the 1960s, when America was first introduced to “Baby Boomers.” Then, it was the result of a huge population of youth, who—due to their sheer size, their parents, and their confidence—found a voice in culture, which often led to violence. Let’s look at what’s happening today.
Have you heard about the protests in Venezuela? The protests began in the western states of Tachira and Merida when students demanded increased security after a female student alleged she was the victim of an attempted rape. Venezuela has the fifth highest murder rate in the world. They also complained about record inflation (official figures suggest yearly inflation stands at 56.2%) and shortages of basic food items.
Demonstrations in Independence Square were initially characterized by a festive, optimistic air... but soon became violent. Mostly, young protestors wanted the resignation of their current president. It all culminated in parliament voting to oust President Viktor Yanukovych. This is an ongoing problem, as it has now manifested into a visual divide between Russia and the West.
The Syrian Uprising.
The Syria Civil War is an ongoing armed conflict in Syria between forces loyal to the Ba'ath government and those seeking to oust it. The unrest began in March 2011, with popular protests that grew nationwide by April 2011. According to the United Nations, the death toll surpassed 120,000 by 2013. Tens of thousands of protesters, students, liberal activists, and human rights advocates have been imprisoned.
Over two years ago, we all began to hear about the violence in Egypt. Did you realize it was mostly youth gathering in Tahrir Square? The center was occupied by young and defiant Egyptian protesters, dissatisfied with President Hosni Mubarak and his regime. Although there’s now a new regime, the protests continue.
Is This a Coincidence?
You might just think this is all a coincidence, but I don’t think so. In my book, Generation iY: Our Last Chance to Save Their Future, I talk about the “bulge” in the youth population, both in the U.S. (about 80 million strong) and around the world (almost half the world’s population is 25 or younger). Now, here’s what’s important to understand:
When there is a bulge in the youth population, there is always violence.
Gunnar Heinson, a social scientist at the University of Bremen (Germany) writes that when 15-29 year olds make up more than 30% of the population, violence occurs; when large percentages are under 15, violence is often imminent. The causes for such violence can be immaterial. Whether the country is rich or poor, whether they experience good conditions or bad, violence and passion follow a bulging population of young people. This explains Ireland 90 years ago, or Africa over the last 50 years, or Latin America in the 1980s, and Europe in the 1500s.
What Will Come of This Youth Bulge?
Today, there are 67 countries where a “youth bulge” exists. (That is, populations where more than 30% are young adults or kids). 60 of those countries are presently in civil war or are experiencing mass killings. Heinson has written an eye-opening book called, Sons and World Power. He documents this history of youth and violence. It matters not if the countries are civilized or non-civilized. It’s about the next generation finding a place to express their identity. Without healthy guidance, they’ll join any cause and enter into anarchy.
Five years ago, I warned of the realities brewing around the world right now due to the size of this emerging generation. They could go either way: positively influencing our world, curing cancer and AIDS… or they could go sour, having never found a place in this economy to express themselves except through violence.
What they need most are caring adult leaders who’ll become mentors.