Being a young person is often a double-edged sword – while often censured for being apolitical and disengaged, when they do take a stand, they’re shunned for knowing too little to have a say. According to PN activist Eve Borg Bonello, the key to rallying more young people into Maltese politics is simple: show that it’s fun.
“The problem lies with how we look at politics in Malta. It’s seen as a disgusting, difficult, boring, tedious, self-serving vehicle that doesn’t propel change. It’s not true at all,” Borg Bonello, the 17-year-old president of PN youth group Team Start explained on Lovin Daily.
“Politics is fun. It drives change and changes the world. You have to enjoy being in it and understand your power. That’s what we tell our members at Team Start – make sure you enjoy being here. That’s how we get young people to join us,” she continued.
According to the outspoken activist, if you don’t enjoy politics, then you’re more likely to be in it for ulterior motives, like filling your pockets, stroking your ego or power.
Borg Bonello rose to public prominence after giving an impassioned speech at a Daphne Caruana Galizia protest. The late journalist inspired her to be the change she wanted to see in Malta.
“I’ve always been super vocal about what I thought – whether it’s in the classroom or through a lengthy rant on Facebook. I was always interested in current affairs and I wanted to be part of the change. Daphne’s murder was a wake-up call. Her death was a wake-up call that Malta isn’t a democratic country,” she said.
Since, Borg Bonello attended protests, vigils and started her journey in activism. Now, she’s been elected as the President of Team Start, a prominent PN youth group.
And while some might tout the Nationalist Party as being conservative, Borg Bonello thinks it’s got a place for all ideas.
“The PN is a mosaic of different ideas, beliefs, backgrounds. I am just part of that mosaic fighting for better Malta and for justice.”
Speaking of policies, the activist is in favour of decriminalising weed and believes assisted dying should be left in the hands of medical experts. She’s also passionate about revolutionising sexual health to empower young people.
“In fact, Team Start has an equality initiative, where we’re invited professionals to raise awareness on all things sexual health.”
Many suspect Borg Bonello will run for a Parliamentary seat when she turns 18. If she contests she’ll probably benefit from a bill to add 12 seats for women MPs to the House of Representatives.
While she does agree with the measure, Borg Bonello is cautious of having such a mechanism in place for the long-term.
“We live in a sexist, misogynist Mediterranean culture, so we need something radical to propel women forward and support them to represent half the country,” she said.
“My only issue is that if it drags into the long term. Then, we would’ve messed up. There are reasons why women won’t get into politics and we need to address that – its not just widespread sexism but sexist structures.”
What do you think of Eve Borg Bonello’s arguments?