Protest Culture: Why Standing Up For What You Believe In Is Essential
Malta's Protest Culture
Historically, one of Malta’s biggest protests was the Sette Giugno riots.
After WW1, tensions between the Maltese & the British were rising. On 7th June 1919, the Maltese population took to the streets of Valletta to protest. British troops then fired into the crowd, killing 4 & injuring around 50.
Protest culture in Malta seemed to die down for a while after that. Roughly 100 years later, massive protests broke out concerning the assassination of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia. Crowds swarmed around Parliament, with police setting up barriers for safety.
Raise Your Voice
After that, protests started happening more & more frequently, with citizens protesting to raise their voice on important topics like:
Women’s Issues: gender-based violence, femicide, abortion, gender equality.
COVID-19 restrictions: anti-vax, the entertainment industry not re-opening.
The Environment: climate change, the Marsascala marina, overdevelopment, the uprooting of trees, the Balluta Bay pontoon.
Anti-Racism: Jaiteh Lamin, Lassana Cisse.
Why Do We Protest?
Protesting is a key part of any democracy & a fundamental human right for citizens to use.
One of the easiest ways for people to be active citizens within their communities.
There is power in numbers when people come together under 1 common goal.
It makes authorities take notice to start a conversation or push for change.
The voices of minority groups are enhanced by the collective & pushed to the forefront.
Does Protesting Work?
Some argue whether or not protests are actually effective in bringing about change, or if they are just useless displays of emotion.
It does take time for significant changes to be made - they don’t just happen overnight. Although this is frustrating, many choose to take that anger & put it into something productive, like protesting & speaking up.
Malta's culture really suffers with apathy, which is the lack of interest or enthusiasm to do something, such as trying to make a change. Giving in to this apathy is an issue & makes you part of the bigger problem.
"There may be times when we are powerless to prevent injustice, but there must never be a time when we fail to protest." - Elie Wiesel
Taking A Stand
Choosing to sit back & do nothing says that you’re ok with the way things are going.
Change can only happen if we actively do something to try & move the needle.
Recently, the application to build a pontoon in Balluta Bay was withdrawn. The plans for the Marsascala yacht marina have also been cancelled. If people hadn’t kicked up a fuss & protested, these projects might have gone ahead as planned. Protesting does work.
Active citizenship means having issues you’re passionate about & ready to take a stand for.