Malta is a particular country; we speak a particular language, we have particular music, but we are also particular in other ways. We are the only European country in which a minister who opened offshore accounts in Panama remains an MP. We have a Prime Minister who boasts how proud and honoured he is to consult daily with his disgraced predecessor, neck deep in corruption and scandals. Our (now ex) ambassador to Finland likened Merkel to Adolf Hitler. We live in an extraordinary place.
We are also living in extraordinary times. As the corona crisis is winding down, many feel they should turn their focus and efforts to another crisis; climate change. Climate change is already all too real, and everything indicates that things are only going to get worse. Malta may well be hard-hit; the life of farmers will be made more miserable than it already is, and a significant jump in sea level would spell disaster. It’s only right that we protest about all this, no? Us youth, we must make climate change activism an immediate priority, right?
Well, yes, but no. I am all for Fridays For Future, raising awareness, writing opinion pieces and sharing content on the looming climate disaster. But lest we forget that we live in Malta in 2020, with all its particularities.
We have a Prime Minister who is unphased by people on the brink of death, dying of thirst at sea. He ruthlessly sent those who hadn’t died (and a few bodies) back to Libya a few days after Easter. Then denies it. Should we expect him to give a thought to less the less tangible dangers of climate change?
We have a Prime Minister who, in the midst of a pandemic, amongst calls for people to STAY HOME, to allow for the hunting season to be opened, and have hunters roam the countryside and blow birds out of the sky (some protected ones too). He did in fact hit two birds with one stone (excuse the pun); unnecessarily putting human lives at risk, and allowing for the few birds still dull enough to stalk this island to meet their maker, only embalmed.
Not to be pessimistic, but we can expect a populist of this sorts to take heed to our cries of save the trees?
Can we find hope in electing the Opposition Leader as our new PM during the next election? Can we trust a man who has less money than you do (most probably), despite having dependents (kids)? Can we rely on a man who failed to publish his tax returns before the leadership election, despite him promising to do so? Well, if you can, I do not.
Climate activism is a great thing, and it is necessary. But with a political class composed of utterly spineless individuals, totally devoid of decency, can we have hope they will tackle the climate tragedy without them robbing us of a couple of hundreds of millions, giving positions to relatives or friends with no prior experience, or issuing direct orders to spouses? I wish, but the last seven years say otherwise.
It is fundamental that we invest in political activism before we move to climate activism; we must strike, demonstrate, write, share, speak. You know, like climate activism, but with politics. It doesn’t sound too bad put that way, does it?
This is why it is high time that we invest in serious, honest, and blunt political activism. This is one such platform, others are cropping up. Climate activism is key, but without political activism, it won’t match any lock.
Written by: Xandru Cassar