Making Sense of Che Guevara – How Clueless is Generation X?

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By Sonya Rehman

Generation X has been lambasted for being far too frivolous, continuously labeled as the ‘internet technology generation’ – tagged as mindless, robotic media sponging little zombies…but the fact is, it’s true…but only to ‘some’ extent.
But does the older generation really know what we’re going through?

Ten years down the line, a majority of us would be wed with children, while the rest of us would be living up ‘the single life’ with brilliant careers – deceptively so, mind you.

That’s Generation X if you press the fast forward, ‘one decade later’ button.

But if you think about the mid-twenty-something generation now, you will still find two, very diverse extremes of young adults.

The past seven to ten years have been quite ghastly – what with the ‘up close and personal’ witnessing of a local government overthrown, a ‘leader’ in exile, the constant news flashes regarding ‘terror threats’ in and around the Western world, the internal threat of extremism in one’s own country, and the list is just about endless.
‘So what? New governments and war aren’t anything new’ many would say, ‘that’s global politics for you, it’s been happening ever since men took over pieces of land and labeled them as countries, ever since bridges were burnt and borders erected.’

True. There’s no arguing that one…but think of it this way, did our parents, in their youth ever witness war and politics so personally? No of course not. They were far too busy donning bellbottoms and wearing flowers in their hair – things were different back then, not all that ‘simple’ (far too sweeping a statement), but  the media explosion now, in this day and age, AND our utter dependency on it makes world politics, massacres and wars seem as if they’re taking place right in our living rooms.

There’s this massive influx of information you see, which aids in cluttering and desensitizing the youth, along with inciting sincere desperation to ‘read between the lines’ for the dissemination of it all.
So as stated earlier, Generation X is a rebellious, extremist generation.

And not rebellious just because we wear our red and black Che Guevara tees like clueless fashion statements – without knowing who the heck the man was…but rebellious because on one hand some of us are utterly insensitive to world politics, and on the other hand, some of us have grown up to be utterly jittery, paranoid young people.
For the latter, take an example for instance; a few days ago during a relaxed get together at my house with some close (Generation X) friends, three copters chopped the sky over the residential area in Cantonment (where I live).
Surprisingly, all three times, we found ourselves looking at each other worriedly, while one friend almost sprang to the front door! What was happening here? The copters were simply doing their rounds of surveillance, but the possibility/notion of war, or any kind of political disorder has nestled its way so firmly in our minds, that it has left us weak-kneed and fearful.

Take an interview I did with Fawad Khan (of ‘Khuda Kay Liye’) at a coffee shop some odd weeks ago. The road outside was being constructed, and at one point during the interview the entire coffee house shook (basically due to a mammoth steamroller) making Fawad jump out of his skin as he looked over at the window worriedly. Earlier, during my wait for Fawad, the very same steamroller had made the coffee shop sway to such an extent that I had grabbed my purse and screamed at the people inside to evacuate!  And when the poor guy behind the counter pointed to the roller outside, all I wanted to do was crawl under my muffin like a beetle and die in embarrassment.

Recently, I came to learn that a local fashion brand was due to launch its latest collection which draws inspiration from the Russian Revolution! So now, even local fashion has started cashing in on Generation X’s close relationship with war and revolution – even though international designers/fashion houses have been doing it for a while now. Look at local music videos and songs – ripe in patriotism don’t you think?

There you go now. So before the older lot stickers Generation X as walking talking billboards, they must understand that after a while, some of us, the ‘clueless lot’, just consider it easier to opt out, switch off and turn out.
While the rest of us on the other hand?
We’re bound to cop it sooner due to high levels of post-traumatic stress disorder. So cut us some slack will you?

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