November 5 is Guy Fawkes day in Britain, however, for a few years November 5 has been associated with the Occupy movement and the hactkivist group Anonymous.
Anonymous describe themselves as a “truth movement advocating hacktivism as self-defense for unconstitutional government.” Some label the group as digital terrorists but the truth is that in past years they have been a force for good in taking down child porn sites, hateful websites and have helped many oppressed citizens in their fight against corrupt regimes. They primarily stand for a free internet and are against internet censorship and control.
November 5 marks an annual event for Anonymous known as the Million Mask March and for two consecutive years they have managed to organise “The Largest World Protest.” This year protesters gathered in more than 400 cities.
In most of the world, people marched for what they believe in, but tellingly there was no protest in Malta. Worse still, this global protest didn’t even make it to our media. It might be a symptom of political apathy but as citizens we cannot lull ourselves into believing that just because something doesn’t affect us directly then it is not worth speaking up about.
Just the past few weeks local news items have revealed some shocking stories and not only don’t we take to the streets to protest we don’t even engage in discussions about certain issues.
Most of us are happy writing a letter to the editor complaining about how we spent 30 minutes on the line with a particular telecommunications company but none of us bat an eyelid when news about the Leisure Clothing factory breaks, and we are faced with the fact that Chinese workers have been brought to Malta under alleged false pretences to work in abysmal conditions.
How is it possible for a Labour candidate (in the run up to an election to Parliament) to post racist comments on his Facebook account and instead of being orstacized by the leader of his party, who also happens to be the Prime Minister of Malta, is let off with a simple slap on the wrist?
What about the latest news of three hotels being planned on ODZ land in the south? Malta is quickly turning into a concrete jungle all because greedy developers can never get enough. And of course there are the usual issues of hundreds of migrants dying at sea and the constant killing of innocent birds.
So I guess Omerta is alive and well in Malta, and most of us keep our mouths shut if an issue does not affect us directly. Whilst the rest of the world are using social media tools to start discussions and engage in things that really matter we are happier to sit on the sidewalk and watch.
We have become so accustomed to one way communication that now that a few people have took to Twitter, under anonymous guises, and have started to ask questions they are being called Twitter Guerillas. Yes they might be annoying to the person on the receiving end but at the end of the day the tool used advocates two way communication. If you’re on Twitter, expect replies, as annoying as they might be. The next step is in your hands.
As long as there is no harassment or threats there is no reason to huff and puff. Malta needs more active citizens!