četvrtak, 7. studenoga 2013.

Our Youth

One of the most favorite and repeated quotes of the legendary Yugoslav leader Josip Broz Tito was about Yugoslav youth; “Country with this youth does not have to fear for its future.” Well, if that is the case, then the future of Bosnia and Herzegovina is uncertain indeed.
All media and web portals have over the past few days been swamped by the story about three teenage girls from Tuzla who molested and beat up another girl. None of the several school children who were observing the harassment in the school yard even tried to intervene, while some of the onlookers obviously saw this as great entertainment. The incident was filmed and clip was posted on the YouTube, while the three girls later went as far as to brag about their “accomplishment” on social networks (so much about social networks).

This was not a sole incident but just another drop in a rising sea of incidents involving adolescents. Only few days later, again in Tuzla, one teenager wounded his school buddy with a pocket knife.   

Five years ago, in February 2008, Bosnia was shocked by the senseless murder of 17-year od Denis Mrnjavac, who was beaten and then stabbed to death by a group of several teenagers in a Sarajevo tram. The culprits did not even know Denis Mrnjavac but did not like the look they thought he gave them so they decided to end his life for that. The murder triggered a wave of protests in Sarajevo and other towns across Bosnia and Herzegovina, which eventually led to the resignation of the Premier of Sarajevo Canton in October that year.

Today, five years later juvenile incidents seem more frequent, brutal and senseless then ever. They still leave bad taste in our mouth but it seems that people are getting used to them. They rarely shock anyone anymore and trigger only lukewarm public protests.

The attacker on Denis Mrnjavac and his accomplices were sentenced to maximum sentences totaling 35 years in prison, while three girls from Tuzla were swiftly kicked out of their school. But that has hardly fixed the problem this country is facing with its youth, or maybe it has made the problem even bigger.

Public reactions to the incident involving three girls in Tuzla, as well as details of that and other similar incidents in the past have shown that our public suffers from the same serious behavioral problem like the three girls themselves. In addition to the calls for their expelling from the school and criminal processing, various public guardians and caretakers have also used social networks – again, so much about the (a)social networks – to call for their lynch, mass rape and other sorts of utterly inappropriate physical and psychological punishment.

Only few people pointed to the fact that growing juvenile delinquency is only a reflection of the overall situation in our society and a consequence of the general failure of family, parents and their parenting and education system to raise their children as individuals who will create and contribute to the society rather then destroy and take away its values.

Five years ago, mother of one of the killers of Denis Mrnjavac helped her son to hide the murder weapon. On the other hand, few days ago father of one of the three girls from Tuzla told media that if the three girls were prosecuted he would stand in favor of the harassed girl. Such reactions of those parents may be pointing at flaws in the upbringing of these children which have eventually led to such incidents.

Schools, teachers and country’s education system hold their own part of responsibility for the apparent demise of at least part of our youth. Still, the greatest responsibility lies on families and parents – which is something many parents desperately try to avoid or ignore.

Our youth is mirror-image of our own past as well as indication of our own future. The image is not pretty and if we want to change it, we better think fast about changing our present.

Author: Srećko Latal

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