One week after Partit Demokratiku’s youth conference, I would like to mention two things which have stayed with me the most.
On the one hand, I was shocked to see the extent of the fear around politics in Malta. Young people made it clear during the conference that they were reluctant to voice their opinions for fear of being associated with a particular party, and then suffering professionally as a result later on in life.
What kind of a democracy is that, where people are afraid to speak their mind? What also struck me, however, is that so many young people who had these fears stepped forward to speak about them anyway, and turned this oppressive political atmosphere into a subject of debate. They questioned what right anybody had to suppress their voices or independence.
What Malta needs more than anything else are people from across society to take responsibility for the changes they want to see in the world. In Malta, it can be difficult to push for what one believes in, because there are professional and social consequences. Too many of us also have no desire for the common good, but prefer to promote the interests of a select few, at the expense of others. There is a burning need to change the system so that everybody will be free to speak their mind without fear of repercussions. It is a vision which is ultimately good for everybody in Malta, and Partit Demokratiku will fight for it in the Constitutional Convention.
It is intrinsically powerful to fight for the greater good of society and those around you. By fighting for a good cause rather than for one’s own selfish interests, one becomes an active citizen who sets an example to others. An active citizen recognises that as well as having rights, one also has deep and crucial responsibilities. An active citizen has a responsibility to be informed, to seek out truth and to fight for the betterment of one’s society, upholding its rules while seeking to improve them. While we will never all agree on everything, what matters most is our intention. If we have unselfish intentions, and seek to understand all sides to every story, then solutions present themselves.
To genuinely fight for a vision offering the common good does not require a large number of people. It requires a handful who are willing to take respon- sibility. This is why certain figures in history have been able to enact great social and political change. It is why Partit Demokratiku is able to punch far above its weight, as David did against Goliath. A small number of determined people fighting for a good cause can be more effective and inspiring than those defending an outdated and damaging system.
However, as with every movement, while there will always be those who lead the way, it is up to people to stand up and be counted. Two years ago, I was not aware I had anything to offer to politics, but only by getting involved in NGOs and then in politics did I realise what I had to offer. If anything distinguishes politicians or activists from anybody else, it is the step they took to try and change the world. While the choice to do so may not seem easy, it is crucial that everybody takes responsibility