I have spent the past few years living nomadically and had the opportunity to meet people from all over the world. Engaging with so many different communities has emphasised the value of community to me. I’ve grown confident in my understanding that, through activism, we invest in community. To live passively and accept injustices as ‘the way it is’ is to abandon our potential and encourage a stagnant world which can only deteriorate as a result.
My main focus and passion has been animal liberation, however, I feel very strongly about many social issues. Animal Liberation Malta does a lot of really great work, so I’ve joined them in recent months to get involved and learn about effective activism – lessons which have been invaluable for the experience of meeting Jaiteh in a deeply upsetting episode of exploitation.
There’s a huge risk of Jaiteh’s story being individualised whilst a much larger conversation needs to happen. I wasn’t completely unaware of the exploitation that workers in the construction industry in Malta face but really had no true grasp on how bad the situation is. I couldn’t have expected to witness an incident like this, but once I had, it was obvious that this was an opportunity to raise awareness on the issues of displacement, individual and systemic racism and Health & Safety regulations in construction work in Malta.
I think we might be losing our sense of community, and with that, our humanity. We can’t remain indifferent in times of injustice. Community activism has changed the course of history for so many issues – I really hope that we can improve by holding each other to the highest of standards in terms of kindness and compassion. These standards require us to stand up for the rights of all, to create the basic and most important foundation of community.
I am truly honoured to have met and had the support of these inspirational women during this time and want to thank them: Maria Pisani from the Integra Foundation, Ishana Meadows and Jasminder Kang from RAAH Fest, Christine Cassar from Moviment Graffiti, Tina Urso from PILN, Regine Psaila from the African Media association, Patricia Graham, Katherine Galea and Rebecca Borg St John.
(Photo Credit: Therese Debono)