The risks of not giving a damn

    Protest Malta
    Photo by Miguela Xuereb

    One of the problems with having an opinion piece to write on a weekly basis is that you tend to follow the news a bit more closely than you otherwise would, leading to complete desensitization towards what is happening.

    Over the past week, in fact, there’s been so much news pouring out of newsrooms that my brain is completely fried. We had the shoddy €80,000-a-year contract given to disgraced-ex-Tourism Minister Konrad Mizzi by the Malta Tourism Authority, which has since been revoked. There was the confirmation by the Law Courts that ex-Justice Minister Owen Bonnici broke citizens’ human rights when he cleared Daphne’s memorial in Valletta. And the fact that the President of Malta is going to speak at an anti-abortion rally organised by the Malta Unborn Child Platform*.

    Then there was Kobe Bryant’s fatal accident, which led to widespread discussions on his unresolved rape cases, the quickening of the spread of the Coronavirus, the story that people believed the Coronavirus was somehow related to Corona Beer (it’s not), and, of course, the 75th anniversary since the liberation of Auschwitz. All this coupled with endless memes, Jessica Simpson coming clean about her alcohol addiction at the time of that infamous Ellen DeGeneres interview, and the news that Lindsay Lohan is set to return to music with a new album.

    It’s all a bit much to digest.

    Yet all these things – bar the list mentioned in the penultimate sentence, granted – are important pieces of information we should all sit down, dissect and learn from. Yet the truth is that I, and many others, have now reached a point where nothing is worth being shocked over. And that comes from absolute exhaustion stemming from the constant bombardment of the media telling us, ‘hey, care about this, it’s important’ mere seconds before telling us to care about something else.

    The biggest problem with this, however, is that the more we read and consume news, the less we care. It’s becoming much easier to just turn a blind eye than to do the right thing and stand up to be counted. That’s why the number of people at this week’s civil society protest was less than what it was at the end of last year, not because fewer people care or because more people agree with what this government is doing. That is also why people were more ready to shun Harvey Weinstein but less prone to dismiss Kobe Bryant as a hero.

    And whose fault is all this? Well, no one’s really. We have fought for our right to be informed, but all this information is draining and numbing us. Of course, knowing that whenever we do take a stand, things get sorted, would help. But let’s not be too utopic about this: no major change is going to come without a fight. The question is: are our ideologies stronger than the perpetrators’ lust for power? I’d like to believe so.

    *Previously, this was mistakenly attributed to the River of Love. (04/02/2020)