I would like to voice my opinion on the issue of the youth vote being omitted from voting for the referendum, while 16+ youths can vote for the local councils for the first time.
I had to ask myself, why is that?
Recently KSU (kunsill student universitarji) issued a statement : after issuing a professional poll and taking an internal vote, KSU took a stand against spring hunting, while in full respect of entities that are in favour. This was met by an uproar amongst several (seemingly older) individuals on social media and on online newspaper comments along the lines of ‘Who are you to say so? What do students know about spring hunting? Did you see these birds while you were in Paceville?’
This is sadly the general attitude towards youth. Even if you possess a Degree, Masters or even PHd, your youth will overshadow your knowledge to the effect of ‘but you do not have enough experience’.
Malta’s literacy rate for youths is among the lowest in Europe. Why is that? Does this mean that youths do not foresee a more favourable future by continuing their education? That is exactly what it looks like to me. If, after graduating, the possibility of a fulfilling, stable paid job is low, what could encourage youths to continue their education, I wonder? And if, after graduating, they are met with scorn when applying for said jobs, and offered acceptable, but uninspiring alternatives, I wonder further.
These are struggles of youth today. They call us the ‘lost generation’ for a reason.
So, what are young people doing exactly that merits respect? Look around you! What are we doing?
There are so many ways youths are taking an active part in society. The number of youth groups is on the increase, tackling issues such as environment, animal welfare, social issues, gender, politics, arts, music, literature and a myriad of other interests. Active youth are no longer the exception in this society, we are all interested in making a change, meeting people with the same interests, and finding support in a group of like-minded individuals.
Youth is rising above all that is dragging us down in the mundane day to day world we live in.
After a long, 40 hour week of work, what do most young people do in the weekend? Go out in the countryside! Yes, a few minutes of scrolling through your homepage on any Sunday afternoon and you will see Maltese youth flocking to any speck of natural beauty we have, and luckily for us we have a plenty of beautiful spots to choose from.
Getting away from it all and sitting quietly for a picnic, listening to the chirp of birds and feeling the warm sunshine on your face, now where are all your worries?
And you are surprised that youths are on the increase, supporting the SHout campaign with all they’ve got! We are not willing to have the pleasure of a weekly escape into nature, taken away from us, even if for a few weeks.
What about the shooting down of migrating birds on their way to breed? Are all young people vegetarians? Of course not. Different young students will tackle this in different ways:
Most science students are backing the SHout campaign of course. Why is that? Is it because they have no notion of Maltese natural issues? Or is it because their lives revolve around a course designed to teach them about sustainability, ecology and community?
What do the psychology students know about our society, the positive effects that vitamin D and animal companionship have on our psyche?
What do the law students know about Maltese and EU legislation?
What do the history students know about our past in Malta?
What do the medical students know about the effects of lead in our food?
Do the Maltese youth deserve to vote in the upcoming referendum? I’d say they are the ones this issue counts on. The responsibility bears squarely on our shoulders to break the idea of indifference, apathy and laissez-faire of youth, and show the nation that we really are a useful and active part of our society.
We can still do this, even though 16+ students are not allowed to vote in the referendum.
I am positive that on the 11th April, the youths in Malta will not let us down. They will vote, and they will vote NO.