(English Version of, Lil Żagħżugħ Malti Bħali)
Dear Fellow Maltese Teen,
I am writing this letter to help you notice what is truly going on around you.
Unfortunately dear friend, you are exposed to the trap of partisanship.
I have often heard your parents, grandparents, uncles and aunts arguing with others about how their leader has done nothing but good to the country and how, God bless, he has never done anything wrong.
When you hear them debating, you begin to imagine yourself amongst the audience of a fierce battle between two gladiators. “Our leader has only brought good to our country! What has he ever done wrong?”, exclaims the first gladiator. “Our leader, in his time, brought more good to these islands than yours ever will! Our leader is perfect – he was, is and will remain so!”, replies the second gladiator with a sense of frustration.
This is what Maltese politics is: a continuous battle between a red gladiator and a blue one.
Then there are the spectators, observing what is going on. Some are cheering one of the gladiators on whilst others wish to prove that this battle should stop. And that’s what I wish to do.
Here is some advice which I have for you my friend:
1. I’ll start off by reminding you this: no politician is “perfect” because at the end of the day, politicians are humans, like you and I. No matter how much good a politician has done, he has done some wrongdoings as well and these must be accounted for.
2. If you are a patriot and believe that our Malta deserves the best possible, then I advise you not to refuse friendships simply because the other person may not share your political ideology. Actually, you should take the opportunity to discuss your beliefs and help each other think more constructively about the socio-political situation of the country. We don’t need more division on this tiny rock.
3. You have the right to vote in every election and in every referendum. The right to vote is a large responsability and I urge you to use it properly and not to vote for a party or politician simply because your parents will vote that way. Vote for those who will place the common good of Malta above their own personal interests.
4. Inform yourself. Don’t be lazy and don’t say to yourself, “What do I care who’s elected? It’s not like it will make a difference to me personally.” This might come as a surprise to you but yes, it does make a difference to you. Although you’re one person amongst thousands more, you have the power to choose who will lead your country. Let’s take Malta as an example. It is a small rock amongst other larger rocks which, despite its size, has always been, in a prominent way, present in international history. Some citizens in other countries only dream of having such an opportunity. Be wise and use it well.
5. There is absolutely nothing wrong with associating yourself with a party. On the contrary, this shows that you are interested in having a say in our country’s leadership. This, though, has to be done with complete knowledge of the principles, values and beliefs you and your party have. You must also remember that once you’ve entered the political sphere, it’s very difficult to get out of it, so I urge you to carefully evaluate your choices. The final decision should match your political ideology and should serve the common good of every Maltese and Gozitan citizen.
6. If you are seriously thinking about stepping into politics, it means that you wish to see change in our country. My suggestion is this: be open to discussions with people from the opposing political camp. Don’t limit yourself to your own party’s suggestions and proposals. Be ready to work with everyone, even if you don’t see many examples of this being carried out nowadays.
7. At school, encourage mature and controlled political discussions. Obviously, I am not saying that you should waste time from lessons to do so. But if the topic comes up, don’t shy away from going along with the conversation because it’s little things like these which one can learn from.
While I thank you for reading this letter, I wish you a great future in which you can continue to grow, learn and develop yourself for your sake and for our country’s sake.
You are our country’s only hope to putting an end to this necessity of being blue or red once and for all.
We should be the ones who enter the arena and help the two gladiators become friends.
Be a catalyst of change.
Be an active citizen. Put an end to the divide.
A Fellow Maltese Teen
1966 1987 1996 2013 2019
Written by: Bradley Cachia