Some people draw pride from stating that the Maltese are a quiet nation. History seems to prove their case. On the one hand they produce a string of conquerors (Phoenician, Carthaginian, .. French, British), and on the other, a meek and yielding people who suffer it all out with a saint’s patience and endurance.
Needless to say, this is a convenient paradigm (and, like most of its type, false) that is generally intended to serve the purposes of projecting an image of our environment as ‘naturally’ and ‘historically’ or ‘traditionally’ safe (for both locals and foreigners). This philosophy seems to believe that, due to our seemingly long track-record of being accommodating and obliging, we are a sort of a breed that possesses this marvellous and commendable quality that makes us submissive, acquiescent and dutiful.
Why this ridiculous belief continues to retain its grip on most people’s mind is easy enough: it has always been the way by which the ruling classes preserve their consolidated power. They convince underlings that keeping one’s peace is the best policy all around and the best way not to get into trouble.
‘Ruling classes’ may indeed not be the best way to put it. It seems to come out of some communist manifesto. And anyway, it does not express exactly who I would like to be talking about. It is not political power in the narrow sense of the the word that I have in mind. But any kind of power, whether it be cultural, artistic, educational, philosophical, etc. For even in these ambits one can find this discrete promotion of gutless, spineless, pusillanimous thinking. In essence it shouts: Preserve the status quo! Conserve what is! Change is little as possible! Comply!
These are the maxims we certainly should do without. For what we need is more audaciousness. More daring young men and women. More bold minds. More brave souls. More cheeky, yes, cheeky and impudent youngsters who are ready to take the plunge and risk their blamelessness and their virtue. We have too much obedience, too much deference, too much compliance, around.
The young, especially, should dare. Dare. Dare do what nobody does, and not necessarily the respectable or the virtuous or the unright or even the worthy. Why don’t we have more scandalous young people who enjoy calling the bluff of cultural decay? Oh, how I do miss having more outrageous and shameless youngsters who relish in avoiding the beaten track and go roaming the unmapped expanses of cultural exuberance and jollity!
I may be the first to be shocked, after all. But what a pleasant shock that would be.
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