Guest post by Alessandra Dee Crespo
This is how I see it.
The Vigils held on every sixteenth day of each month are for Daphne. To remember her with gratitude. To remember her sacrifice. To assuage our conscience for leaving her to fight the battles alone. To show solidarity to her husband, to her parents, her sons, her sisters, her nieces. Our presence at the Vigils is a message to them also, that there are decent people out there who are mourning with them, who value their pain, who will forever be in awe of their dignity and grace in the face of such brutality inflicted upon their family by fellow countrymen and women.
But tomorrow is about you.
It is about you showing up to be counted. It is about you showing the rest of the world that not everyone looks the other way when the crooks who have seized our country rob it blind of its assets and of its values.
It is about you, parents and grandparents – it is about teaching your sons and daughters, nephews and nieces, that living the good life is about building on the values of work, integrity and honesty that shaped this nation. It is certainly not about amassing ill gotten gains and living off the fat of the land.
Do you remember, parents and grandparents, aunts and uncles, how good it felt when the country called you in the 80s and we answered? How good it felt to stand up and be counted? How good it felt to fight for your country? You might say you did your bit.
We have another fight on our hands. It is the fight for the soul of our nation. It is the fight of good over evil. We do not tell you to attend or else, like others are doing. We rely on your goodwill, on true patriotism, on true love of country. Patriotism means to stand by the country. It does not mean to stand by the prime minister, by the government or by the party. Only dictators consolidate their tyranny by an appeal to the cult of personality.
No one is forcing you to come tomorrow “or else”. If you do not come tomorrow you will not lose out on a promotion, you will not be demoted. Neither will you be harassed or blacklisted. But if you do not come tomorrow the message you will give to your children and your grandchildren is that you are fine with the filth and the stench of sleaze and corruption.
Young people, this is mostly your fight. Your fight for your future. For what kind of country you choose to live in. If you don’t stand for justice and truth tomorrow it means that the fight of your parents and your grandparents was for naught. It is your time to pick up the baton. In the field of responsible citizenship and moral decision-making, no one can take your place. Decisions cannot simply be made for you in advance by others. You must take ownership of this fight.
Make no mistake, some people will revel in comparing photographs of tomorrow’s protest and Tuesday’s meeting. On the 1st May there will be a massive crowd ordained by Joseph Muscat to bless his dogged defence of Keith Schembri and Konrad Mizzi.
Tomorrow, however, we will not ask you to defend the indefensible. What we are asking of you is to do the decent thing and stand up for your country. This is not about partisan politics for in Daphne’s own words “Politics isn’t about colour. It’s about personal choices and what they say about us. The colour is nothing but the representation of those choices. You don’t get to choose whether you’re black or white, but you get to choose your politics. It’s called a decision.”
Tomorrow the only politics that count is the politics of the common good.
We all have a stake in this young democracy of ours. We do not have the luxury of indifference. It is our moral duty to show up tomorrow for this is our nation, this is our home, and we are the people. We expect better, we deserve better, we demand better.
Be there. Be the change.