To the generation before us I say: What sort of example have you set for us? What have you given us to believe in? You teach us morality but then you tell us one must be practical, there is no room for idealism in the real world. You tell us one must be fair, but then the moment your son or daughter needs and internship you scramble to call in a favor with your family and friends, you “pull some strings” as they say. How is that fair? How is that honest?

“It’s just how one survives in the world,” you say. “If I didn’t make the call, then someone else will.” But while the rich and the connected are fighting over who can pull strings first, what happens to the poor and unconnected? Perhaps you should stop and consider if your child isn’t qualified enough to get an internship or job on their own merit then they don’t deserve to get it. Consider also the psychological ramifications of what you do on your children. How will they believe in fairness and honesty when they see them trampled upon all around them?

That’s the issue though. You don’t really want us to believe in fairness and honesty. They’re not things you actually take seriously, just things you like to talk about over tea. You want us to succeed and that’s not possible with lofty ideals in a corrupt world. But what sort of success do you really want for your children? Prestige and money are good to have but what about our souls? Do you care about that at all? All the prestige and money in the world won’t hide the stains on our souls or yours.

“Calling in favors isn’t a big deal,” you might say and maybe it isn’t. But that’s not the only thing you do wrong. You talk about kindness one second and you beat your servants the next. You talk about honesty and you take bribes. You talk of gender equality and you shun rape victims. You talk of justice and you let rapists roam free. You talk of patriotism and working for the country and steal money from the government.

Elders, politicians, what legacy are you leaving us? It is only of material success and spiritual mutilation. If there is a just God, if there is such a place as heaven, the gates will be closed for those who lie and steal and exploit the poor. Is that what you want for us? You teach us to pray five times a day, to fast during Ramadan, to sacrifice cows when the time is right, but you’re mistaken if you think that’s enough to save us.

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