Revolt? A few weeks ago I received the request to contribute to this issue of 'Hooglandse Nieuwe'. Whether I can write something about the theme of 'uprising' and my experiences with student protests. Pleasantly surprised but also slightly surprised, I accept the challenge. What to do with the theme 'rebellion' or should I understand it as 'resurrection' in view of Easter? In other words, the first (possible) dilemma is already presenting itself, partly due to my personal background. On the one hand, I feel very much attached to Christian values, but on the other, I consider myself a socialist, in the sense that I actively fight for a world of solidarity. And a world in which human dignity and equality should be pursued. Is it an inner conflict, because both don't go together? In any case, I don't experience it that way. Rebellion or resurrection are concepts that (can) have meaning for both Christians and non-Christians and, in my opinion, are also an extension of each other.
In recent weeks, numerous associations have come to mind when it comes to the term 'rebellion'. Revolt in the sense that an individual or group rebels against the prevailing view, or the choices that are made in our society. In this sense, revolt implies 'struggle' and 'resistance'. In line with this, rebellion can also be understood as 'setting an example' or being a 'role model', in which the person concerned has one or more ideals to pursue. In that case, he or she will stand up and take the lead in making these ideals a reality, followed others who have become inspired. Anyone who experiences 'revolt' as something negative could also approach it positively. Revolt or protest can also be understood as the pursuit of a common goal by the individual or group of people. From this point of view, rebellion should be seen much more as a form of cooperation and community spirit, in my view. It then concerns 'taking responsibility for'. If I then interpret rebellion as resurrection, in the light of Easter, I consider this term in the context of 'hope' and 'trust'. Trust that there can always be a new beginning, or finding the way out when you are faced with a difficult situation. Personally, I am comfortable with all the aforementioned associations of 'revolt' or 'resurrection'. For me, the common denominator is that the theme 'revolt' is closely related to 'wanting to give direction'. Direction to your own life, but also to society.
What does the preceding say to people of today, especially students? In other words, the theme 'revolt' is not one-sidedly focused on major protest demonstrations. It is correct to observe that a large group of (young) people no longer feel addressed by this form of 'revolt' and wonder what such actions contribute to society. On the other hand, I know from my own experience that those same (young) people of today are very much looking for their own identity, ideals and vision of life. Many of the people I speak to are critical of their own lives and the society in which we live. In that sense, there is indeed talk of 'revolt' by students and other people, although it should not be understood as a student protest with banners and attributes. Moreover, I note that there is also a lot of attention for developing personal talents and skills. This (personal) quest is nourished by an inspiration, an example that is followed. This could be because you are touched by a person, the work of an organization in which you want to be involved, or a more general objective that you personally experience as very important. Regardless of which source of inspiration applies to you, it leads to the identity and ideals already mentioned. These may change or diminish in importance over time, but then others will take their place.
Young people, including students, keep making choices when it comes to study, friends, work and all kinds of other things in which they always connect and disconnect from certain connections in social life. In every (conscious) choice that someone makes, a piece of 'rebellion' can be seen. Conscious choices give direction to your life, opening up possibilities, but closing others. You will experience some choices as very good, others you will regret. If you decide to take a different path on that basis, you are in effect 'revolting', because the choice made is not in harmony with yourself.
Students often work together in groups. Students are often enthusiastic and take the lead in organizing all kinds of activities and events. The common objective may then be that the study or student association runs well, that a particular study or department is retained, or that there is sufficient and good housing for students in the city. In effect, they take on the responsibility to make something possible and to give direction to what is important to students and other young people. Here too there is talk of 'revolt' in the sense that there is a common feeling that action needs to be taken. In my opinion, there is no question of passivity or indifference, action and revolt by students only express themselves differently than in the past. If you want to reach students, you will have to respond to that.
In line with the foregoing, 'revolt' must also be understood as 'resurrection'. Whenever the path you have taken cannot be continued for whatever reason, you will have to muster the confidence and hope to continue to pursue your ideals and vision of life. This end can again be the start of a new beginning in which you have to deal inventively with the opportunities and possibilities that do exist for you or for society as a whole. Here too, students and other young people are leading. Despite the fact that in daily life many certainties are taken away, because the accessibility of education is under pressure, it is difficult for starters to find a job, etc., these people find their way in a creative way that makes them satisfied.
The foregoing shows that "rebellion" is not a dimensional concept. Although there are fewer young people today who feel attracted by student protests complete with banners, it remains a topical theme. Even today, students are critical of their own lives and the lives of others. The way in which they express this criticism is different than it used to be, but certainly no less effective. Moreover, it is a subject that applies to everyone, regardless of life vision or beliefs. Moreover, 'revolt' around a common goal can lead to special partnerships and be a lesson for life!