I am an ac­tivist, no kid­ding

What is an ac­tivist? I dunno much, but I call my­self an ac­tivist as ‘mil­i­tant’ sounds too much like ISIS who are also fun­da­men­tal­ists, but of a dif­fer­ent colour.

Malta Independent - - Comment - Dr An­thony Li­cari has an aca­demic back­ground of Hu­man Sci­ences from var­i­ous French uni­ver­si­ties An­thony Li­cari

Mind you, if to­day you are not an ac­tivist, there is def­i­nitely some­thing wrong with you. A nag­ging spouse is also an ac­tivist as ac­tivists must nag, not sit and stare like a cheese­let.

Well, as a ten­ta­tive ex­pla­na­tion, I be­lieve an ac­tivist to be a cock­tail of a num­ber of ori­gins. Firstly, an ac­tivist is a per­son who, since child­hood, was iden­ti­fied by mummy and daddy, see­ing him/her build great projects with toy blocks as a tod­dler as a prepa­ra­tion to im­prove the world’s in­fras­truc­ture. Mummy and daddy took hun­dreds of pho­tos of their prodigy who would save the world from droughts, floods and so­cial con­flict. As s/he be­came a teenager, they tear­fully al­lowed him/her to travel the world and of­fer so­lu­tions to the na­tives, to teach them lots of things, though these un­grate­fully thought that s/he was a pain in the apse.

An ac­tivist is also a nos­tal­gic be­liever in the old mis­sion of the hip­pies and its re­ac­ti­va­tion to­day i.e. wash a lit­tle, smoke a lot and drink beer when milk is not avail­able. A nos­tal­gic hip­pie ac­tivist will tie his/her hair in a bun to choke the nits and visit dif­fer­ent coun­tries re­quir­ing ad­vice and as­sis­tance, thus pro­ceed­ing to philo­soph­ico-ped­a­gog­i­cal plans to save the world from what is good. An ac­tivist may bor­row a cof­fin and/or an an­i­mal cos­tume and walk around Val­letta try­ing not to look ridicu­lous, but manag­ing quite well. The idea is to project de­ter­mi­na­tion, though car­toon pueril­ity seems more likely.

An ac­tivist may also be a prod­uct of a very con­ser­va­tive ed­u­ca­tion that con­vinces all round that the sim­ple and naïve masses re­quire lessons in moral­ity. These ac­tivists make about a grow­ing ninety-five per cent of the pop­u­la­tion but state, with solid Chris­tian for­ti­tude, that democ­racy means be­long­ing to a tiny mi­nor­ity but de­serv­ing au­thor­ity by divine left, right and cen­tre. But, be­fore you jump to con­clu­sions, it’s good to know that an ac­tivist can be a con­ser­va­tive com­mu­nist with a nos­tal­gia for col­lec­tive mea­sures.

The most en­ter­tain­ing group of ac­tivists are those who be­long to a mas­sive or­gan­i­sa­tion of two peo­ple, who in turn be­long to other mas­sive or­gan­i­sa­tions and so on. Thus the se­ri­ous, le­gal­is­tic ac­tivist has his/her own closely knit group that bridges out to other sim­i­lar groups. A col­lec­tion of these groups of ac­tivists is called a ma­jor world in­flu­ence con­sist­ing of many mas­sive groups mak­ing, in all, three peo­ple who may be pains in the apse but so cor­rect in their up­right de­cency.

Ac­tivism may sim­ply be a com­pen­satory ac­tiv­ity to bury nag­ging re­al­i­ties from his­tory. (I had men­tioned atro­cious colo­nial­ism in one of my ar­ti­cles.) An ac­tivist may have a guilt com­plex, hav­ing dis­cov­ered that his/her great grand-par­ents were van­dals who de­scended on cul­tures across bor­ders to de­stroy and burn their places of wor­ship and cul­ture. Their great grand-par­ents and be­yond may have par­tic­i­pated in atro­cious bar­baric tor­tures and mas­sacres. Thus, be­ing an ac­tivist now may be a de­fence mech­a­nism to erase a nag­ging guilt com­plex. So the great grand-chil­dren may pro­ceed to the ar­eas of their former vic­tims to be nice to them by be­ing a source of arthri­tis in the joints.

You may be awed at dis­cov­er­ing that all the groups of so­cial ac­tivists put to­gether may look very dif­fer­ent, but they have a strong com­mon bond – that of con­sti­tut­ing one sin­gle great col­lec­tion of ir­ri­tants in the toes. I tend to ap­prove of eco­log­i­cal ac­tivists though socio-po­lit­i­cal ‘ac­tivists’ seem to have just hys­ter­i­cal ex­pla­na­tions of sit­u­a­tions.

Above all, when tiny groups of ac­tivists cough in­di­vid­u­ally or col­lec­tively mak­ing three per­sons, some jour­nal­ists may be duped in call­ing them ‘sources’ – with the mas­sive per­cent­age of the pop­u­la­tion not de­serv­ing the ap­pel­la­tion of ‘source’. A cough by one per­son is even some­times re­ferred to as a ‘call’ by ac­tivists con­sist­ing of one per­son con­vinc­ing a far-left writer of be­ing a ‘source’.

Once I read some­where: ‘Ac­tivists call for…’ I read the story and found that the ac­tivists (plu­ral) who called for some­thing or other was just one per­son. I have the right to like some jour­nal­ists more than oth­ers. I don’t like those who use the plu­ral when they mean just one per­son. It is mis­lead­ing. It also re­minds me of those who like to holler: ‘We want…’ Who ex­actly is ‘we’? I give cred­i­bil­ity to elec­tions, ref­er­enda and sur­vey re­sults whether I like them or not.

But to go back to ‘ac­tivists’, it is the for­eign busy­bod­ies pre­tend­ing to be ac­tivists that I don’t like. If you have the op­por­tu­nity to speak to any of them and ask about their ‘ac­tivism’ back home, they just shut up and freeze. How­ever, when they travel, they for­get their cow­ardice and hurl ad­vice and crit­i­cism at ‘the na­tives’ who re­quire basic ed­u­ca­tion ex­pressed by busy­bod­ies to im­prove their cul­ture.

Which brings back the math­e­mat­i­cal ar­gu­ment of whether a zero is a num­ber or not. If it is, maybe one ac­tivist may ac­tu­ally be a crowd!

As a mostly op­ti­mistic per­son, I like to be­lieve that ‘ac­tivists’ have a so­cial con­science. I also like to know about the ori­gin and evo­lu­tion of this con­science – apart from toy build­ing blocks pro­vided by a proud mummy and daddy.

In any case, I shall be hir­ing a lift to hold a meet­ing of ac­tivists. I hope that you will not come up with some ex­cuse not to come.

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