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What does it mean to be 20 years old in 2020?

Closed hangouts, locked doors at school, the nightmare of contagion: ignored by politicians and ridiculed by the media, the boys pay the highest tribute to the virus. Who will save them?

By Gierreuno

Unlike the Italian Prime Minister, Giuseppe Conte, who in announcing several times the measures to contain the second wave of the pandemic, has completely ignored the issue of young people, French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, in similar circumstances, a small minutes have been granted. Nothing extraordinary, please, but at least the recognition that there is a problem. It’s hard to be twenty years old in 2020, so I don’t want to give lessons to young people - Macron said during a television interview -. I would like them to understand that, for a few weeks and months, we will have to make efforts”. And Angela Merkel, the most powerful woman in the world, spoke to the boys asking for a radical change of pace: “We must especially invite young people to avoid having parties today to have a good life tomorrow or the day after”.

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J'ai conscience des sacrifices qui ont été demandés à notre jeunesse ces derniers mois. On sortira de cette crise en étant encore plus au rendez-vous de ce que nous lui devons. Je m'en porte garant.

Un post condiviso da Emmanuel Macron (@emmanuelmacron) in data:

Forbidden meeting places, clubs, bars, restaurants and pubs closed, as well as swimming pools, gyms, sports centers. The order addressed to young people is unequivocal: don’t go out, stay at home. And don’t go to school either. It is enough to face the age of adolescence, that the prohibition of access is assured. In Italy at least for the students of high schools. And the university lessons? Remotely. As well as the work: smart working. The attack to which the new generations are subjected, because of measures taken to protect public health, has no precedent. But what about the mental health of young people?

“The truth - says Angelo Righetti, psychiatrist, neurologist, expert of the World Health Organization and of the ONU - is that we are faced with a process of derealization, a loss of sense of reality and the virus acts as an accelerator of this process. The prevailing damage is on the children. The context is no longer educational and therefore it is prevented from developing the ability to transgress. In this way they are kept under control, isolating them, preventing them from developing a sociality on which to cement the growth factors. And this creates serious imbalances.

Imbalances which at this particular stage are intensifying to such an extent that for a young person, having contracted the virus, in many cases produces a strong sense of guilt, as if the disease were determined by the inopportunity of his actions and not by the aggressiveness of a viral agent that is bringing the planet to its knees. A cliché, that gives young people responsibility for the contagion, which obsessively bounces on the media and creeps dangerously into public opinion. “Unfortunately - says Luana Sevirio, psychologist specialized in systemic-relational and family psychotherapy - with the outbreak of the pandemic this phenomenon is becoming increasingly prevalent. There are subjects who end up being overwhelmed and find themselves in a state of prostration such as to become pathological. But the problem is essentially cultural. The fact is that it all works as if it were within a family, where the weakest link, the one that jumps first, is that of the young. The child is protected, he is inside a glass bell. The adult is convinced that he is on the side of reason. The young man is the first to end up on the corner, because he is the bearer of a greater malaise, the one he recorded by entering into society”.

A society that sees him as an intruder, an enemy to be cornered, to be controlled at any cost. It becomes so easy to predict, as the researchers of Eurofound say after having submitted 85000 citizens of the European Union to a short questionnaire, that the boys will be the first victims of the economic crisis resulting from Covid-19. “The results - reads the document released by the agency - show that young people in Europe are struggling to cope with the crisis, so much so that the data indicate the worst level of psychological well-being and greater loneliness than other age groups, resulting from a significant loss of jobs and a dramatic reduction in working hours together with a general insecurity about the professional and financial future”.

But what society is that which marginalises the new generations, hinders the formation of new families, does not combat the dangerous sinking of the birth rate and therefore clearly undermines its own future?

“A gerontocracy, which holds power and strengthens it through a bureaucracy based on prohibitions - says Angelo Righetti -. Young people are useful only as consumers, to be fattened like pigs. No one teaches the seriousness, ethics and necessity of work anymore. The mirage is to live on income, but income cannot be an objective that can be pursued if we eliminate work. Youth is replaced by youth, which gives every individual the right to feel young. Old people are crammed into retirement homes like scraps, not people who can teach you life. The villages are empty, the metropolises are filled and poverty is advancing. Politics no longer indicates any horizons, because it does not have the cultural tools to do so. There remains only one voice that in this scenario manages to pierce the wall of hypocrisy: that of Pope Francis. Just read the encyclical on fraternity. The scope is disruptive”. That said by a doctor who lived as the protagonist of the battles of freedom in 1968, closed the asylums and dedicated his life to fighting the pre-established power, makes a certain impression.

The conclusion is simple: to put young people back at the center of society would require a revolution that perhaps follows the score sixty-eight. Will it start from Saint Peter’s Square?




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