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Why are people so selfish? Is this our society?

QAIS HUSSAIN, 15, offers his thoughts on a confusing and frightening time for us all

VULNERABLE. Puzzled. Confused. Isolated. I lay peacefully in my room, too scared to say a word, too scared to breathe, too scared to kiss my grandmother goodnight. 

The darkness swirled around my bed, gasping to escape from this bellowing silence. 

I searched the untidy room for someone to speak to. Nobody was there. I was solitary, alone, forced to live in a room drowning in books. No matter how much I screamed out for help, no voice would come out … or so I thought.    

Ambiguous. Impenetrable. Inscrutable.

These are the words I would use for the response we got from Secretary of State for Education Gavin Williamson about our GCSEs.

Panic is a four-letter word. Yes, it is. Every time the shop bell rings, and I think they’re back for more toilet rolls, my eyes fly wide and the only thing in my mind is something my momma never taught me — why are people so selfish? Is this our society? 

My mother answers: society is what we make it, and we all must take responsibility. Without each other, without compassion, without unity, we are nothing!

Dear supermarkets, you know what? If you want my pennies, you’ll have to start fixing things for the Earth, for the kids, for families and local businesses or I will keep everything but what I need to spend of the basics in my pocket. 

I can bake, I can cook from scratch, I can grow vegetables and I can shop at local stores instead of at a mega-corp. There is nothing in your store I can’t live without. I can refuse to hate and instead show love. I can turn off the news, ignore adverts and focus on myself.

Whatever policies we make in a pandemic, the holistic health of children and young families must be our priority. After that, we go all out to protect the vulnerable, to shield and guard them as much as humanly possible. 

When we come at this with a profound sense of love for all, pathways through this dark forest are illuminated one step at a time.

Then there is generational conflict. The teenagers are entitled and shallow? And whose generation had overseen the media, the adverts we see? Which generation should have protected us from these harmful messages? Yeah, that would be you. But you are the ones still best placed to help us.

Keep trying to dial the fun and playful me but he won’t pick up the phone … why is that? 

Oh yeah … I’m scared; time to stop feeling the storm and be a hurricane.

Finally, Mr Johnson, please don’t take our lives with impunity. Do we really matter to you?

From the plagues, to the Spanish flu, where poverty walks, disease stalks … and soon comes to the attention of us all.

Vulnerable. Puzzled. Confused. Isolated.


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