All of us are intrigued by what is going on in North Africa and the Middle East. Pundits are busy trying to figure out what is going on. What is behind this social uprising? Many are looking to the power of social networks which have certainly been a tool to help connect protesters and get the message out. But here are three statistics that I think bring a lot to bear on the unrest that we are witnessing in the world.
1. CNN reported yesterday that 39% of the 1.5 billion Muslims in the world live below the poverty line.
2. Each of the current dictoators that are experienceing opposition from disaafected populations have been in power 30 years or longer.
3. 30 has become the age of demarcation line for those who are leading and participating in these popular uprisings. From Tim Casteel’s blog: Gunnar Heinsohn, 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. 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.
Do you see a trend? I do. What really grabs my attention is the new found power of youth. There is a rising generation that is no longer satisfied with the status quo. They are dissatisfied, passionate, and connected. That makes for a pretty powerful force-laregly without traditional weapons. Whoever or whatever captures their heart and minds may win the day. I see an opportunity for the gospel that gives real life!