Whilst I sang the Maltese National Anthem at a protest yesterday, I looked around at the crowd I formed a part of, feeling sad about the events that led up to this protest, disappointed in what my country has become.
I also felt a sense of pride for being a part of a crowd who cared. A crowd who put aside any plans they may have had to come to Valletta and pay their respects to a brave journalist who met her fate far too soon. I stood tall with my hand on my heart, feeling proud that all the people there, weren’t willing to let those with money and power get away with murder.
But as I really started to observe my surroundings I noticed that I was standing in a crowd with an average age of 65. I was in a pool of middle aged men and women who gave up their Wednesday evening card game to be there.
I was more likely to run into my great aunt than a friend from University or people I see out at parties on a regular basis.
The crowd was made up of men and women who remember better days. Days when the island was thriving without the need for dirty money to be exchanged behind closed doors and journalists being silenced with fear. It was also made up of those who remember worse days when free speech was limited and politicians could do whatever they want and never be called out for it.
We don’t appreciate the amount of transparency that journalists like Daphne have provided us with. We can’t sit around and read headlines whilst we’re being cheated by the politicians that we voted for.
As much as I understand that Daphne Caruana Galizia’s readers form part of an older generation, and that my generation are more likely to read headlines as they scroll through Facebook rather than a long blog post, we can’t watch the story unfold from the side lines and expect things to change.
And I speak in the first person plural because I am also guilty of this. This was not my first protest, but it was my first protest against corruption.
The problem is that we’re comfortable. If the problem isn’t on our doorstep then we feel that reacting “clap hands” to Insta stories and commenting “barra” on Facebook posts is us doing our part to society. But to be honest, I really doubt that corrupt politicians read through the Facebook comments and think “If all these people commented “barra” they must really want me out. I should definitely resign”. As important as social media is today, it’s just not enough.
So well done to all the grans who came out to yesterday’s protest. But young voters, where are you? This is our money, our country and our future that’s being cheated. And don’t even get me started on the climate crisis.