Haneen believes young people often have more innovative solutions for the future

PNN feature: ”Yani, I don’t have to be paid to do good things”

PNN / Bethlehem

24-year-old activist Haneen believes it’s time for the Palestinian youth to come to power. They have better solutions for the future.

If the Palestinian youth took over the executive power for one day, everything would look different. Soon, there would be free education for all, a better health care system and much less corruption.

So believes 24 year old lawyer and activist Haneen Salameh from Ramallah. Along with about 20 other young activists, she is attending a training program this week in Bethlehem about youth participation in governance. The aim of the course is for young Palestinians to learn new methods to achieve social and political change.

”As it is, most of the politicians in our country are above 60 years old. I don’t feel like they are doing what’s necessary for this country. I really believe young people would have better and more realistic solutions,” says Haneen.

”That’s also why I volunteer as an activist. Yani, I don’t have to be paid to do good things.”

Good governance

The young activist believes in good governance as the way forward. Good governance refers to public institutions conducting affairs and managing resources in a viable manner. There is lots of room for improvement in the Palestinian public institutions, believes Haneen.

”If you look at the PLO, they tend to forget what they can do to improve their own organisation and legislative system” she says and highlights the fight against corruption and nepotism as areas in which she feels certain that young people would do much better.

”I really hope things will change during my lifetime. I would love to see improvements like more democracy and less corruption. And more equality between men and women.”

Conflict part of the problem

Haneen doesn’t want to be too harsh on the political leaders either, as she knows they are under a lot of external pressure.

”Authorities from outside of the country like to keep a hand on the politicians here. They tell them, that if they don’t do this or that, they can’t have money. I think that is part of the reason why the government is not always doing what would be best for the people,” she says.

Still, she thinks hiring more Palestinian youth in the public institutions would help in this regard. They would come up with new ways to deal with these dilemmas.

”If the system allowed for the youth to be more in control and the old people to have more of an observing role, I think there would be more space for innovation. And I actually think the older generation would be proud of us.”