The Malta Independent 23 September 2019, Monday

Reveal the hero within you

Camilla Appelgren Tuesday, 18 December 2018, 08:46 Last update: about 9 months ago

One day some 20 years ago I lay on a hospital bed nearly unconscious and heard a doctor telling my mother that it didn’t look good. My only memory from that day is the one where I was thinking to myself that this was not how it should end … I wasn’t ready!

As a very active environmentalist I have seen a significant change over the last couple of years, and it’s for the worse, I’m afraid. Malta has for a long time had its challenges when it comes to the environment but somehow we managed to cope. Lately this has changed, more and more people are giving up and it’s very concerning. We are losing one green space after each other and on top of that the pollution rate is increasing. At a time when we really need our politicians to take bold decisions, they are instead with their heads in the sand.

I have never seen so many children with respiratory illnesses like here in Malta. Why isn’t that seen as a big red flag? A country that is well known for its love of children, yet we are ruining their future. If that isn’t, then what is?

So, with politicians not looking into solving the situation from a sustainable point of view, and citizens having given up on having their voice heard, we have now reached a scenario where nothing will change. Are we simply going to keep on going like this and hope for the best? Are we awaiting miracles to happen, that will we will wake up and find ourselves surrounded by greenery and fresh air? Do we think that without action we will have no corruption amongst decision makers and everything will be perfect?

When did we become so apathetic to this situation? Have we lost our ability to see the light at the end of the tunnel? We need to stop pretending that someone else will change the world and start realising that the change starts with us as individuals.

I feel that there is one core issue in Maltese society at the moment - a severe lack of empowerment at all levels. We have left no space for critical thinking and the ones in charge of our country of course are benefitting from this. If there is no one opposing their decisions, it will be much easier for them to divide and rule. It seems that people think that a democracy is based only on the fact that we choose our leaders. Well, that is a good start but shouldn’t we make sure that the chosen ones actually follow up on their promises and do a good job?

When it comes to party politics, I find it very tasteless that people are accepting corruption. I refuse to agree that the excuse of “But the others are corrupt as well, that’s why I still vote the same” is a valid one. You can still be a hardcore Labour or Nationalist supporter, while at the same time you demand that the rotten apples should be thrown out from the fruit bowl. Because you know what happens if you leave the rotten fruit amongst the good? The mould spreads and after a while the whole batch of fruit has gone bad. So to preserve the good, we need to speak up and take action when there are bad ones taking over. No matter if they are on our side or not.

The Maltese people have a history of uniting and showing strength during hard times, so how did we end up in this mess?

What I know is one thing. True heroes aren’t created during hard times, it is during the hard times that the hero within us is revealed. So let’s not give up, we need to understand that the society reflects individual actions which then are multiplied. After all, you are the one that have to live with your choices. If you don’t like the situation in Malta, why cast your vote on the same party and not look elsewhere?

Going back to that day at the hospital bed. It’s true I wasn’t done yet, I had yet so much to contribute to the society that had cared for me for two decades. After surviving meningitis that time in my life, I promised myself one thing. Next time I am about to die, I will make sure to not regret any decision in my life. I will make sure to speak up for the bad and promote what’s good. I will do my best to safeguard the environment for the generation to come. So that next time, I can at least look into the eyes of my children and tell them that I indeed did my best. Can you do the same?

 

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