Following our first interview with Steven Bajada regarding the Give a Vote campaign, whose main aim is to encourage all young people to vote in the 2019 European Elections, The Yuppie also spoke to another Maltese activist, Samuel Camilleri Brancaleone, who also got involved with the Give a Vote campaign.
The aim of the campaign is not to influence one’s opinion about who you should vote for, but it is rather trying to emphasise how you have your own opinions and you should fight to express them on voting day.
Here is what Samuel had to say:
1. How did you find out about the Give a vote campaign?
I had been involved with Agenzija Zghazagh for some time on other activities like the Model European Parliament and one fine day they reached out to me and asked if I’d be interested in taking part. Least to say I’m glad I did.
2. What inspired you to participate?
Two things really, firstly I’d be lying if I told you that a trip to Prague and Brussels didn’t catch my attention. Secondly, and I say this without being too cliché – the experience. I had never really participated in campaigns like this and of this magnitude so something like this is exactly what I needed. I was also looking very favourably upon making friends and contacts from across Europe; I love meeting new people and making friends and now that I’ve actually met the other participants I can’t say I’m not thankful.
3. In your video you spoke about cultural diversity. Why do you feel this is important? What are your experiences related to this topic?
As I may have hinted at from my previous answer I like to travel. I do because I get to experience different cultures from around Europe. Ever since my first trip abroad to Paris and that visit to the Louvre Museum did I realise how important culture is and how it affects us in ways we don’t think of. The most important thing in culture is that it gives us an identity, a sort of purpose. Only after interacting with a certain amount of foreigners did I realise that while we have a lot in common we are still very different. This is why I firmly believe that – as I said in the video- while Europe is one of the smaller continents it is one of the most diverse and it pains me to hear people say that culturally Europe is ‘the same’ – similar in aspects yes, the same, definitely not. Europe’s cultural diversity is important because A. its unique, pure Maltese culture is found only in Malta and it sets us apart from the rest of Europe & by extent, the world. B. the countries in the EU, with all its defects show, how while we are all different we can still work together.
This is Samuel’s campaign video – https://youtu.be/p8bdYIa-vBs
4. How did your passion for politics and therefore activism ignite?
I would say I’ve always had a certain flare for politics; I’ve always wanted to be involved. I don’t think I’m wrong in saying that we live in interesting times. Unfortunately, these interesting times can get chaotic and if there is one thing I dislike more than pineapple on pizza its chaos. Therefore, I want to contribute and do something to help sort this mess out. I cannot help but mention that I’ve always admired politicians, especially those involved in the EU and the idea of doing something like them didn’t bother me. My resolve continued to strengthen when I took part in activities like the Model European Parliament and Model United Nations. But, I knew that for me to actually get there I must be more active and interact with more people and this campaign, I’m proud to say, is a step in the right direction for me. It would also be a bit of a shame if I didn’t mention that I’d like to see things change in certain issues and while I can’t give some grandiose quote about how you can inspire change I can at least recommend that you get involved in any way.
5. So, in your opinion, why should we, each and every one of us, vote?
Well, the whole premise behind democracy is that as much as possible the people, or the electorate as they tell us in the law course, are in charge of who gets elected. Those who are elected are there to represent your thoughts on certain issues. If you don’t vote you’re cutting yourself out of the system and how you feel and what your opinion is will basically be irrelevant. Why? Politicians only care about those who vote and they’re not really bothered about your opinion if you’re not voting. Your vote is basically an indication to politicians showing them what you believe in. It’s easy to be lazy and not care but that’s gonna come back and bite you. Why? Say you’re opposed to something not taking action doesn’t make it go away it increases the chances of it actually happening.
What if you’re sure your party or candidate is going to lose? Let’s look at it from the winner’s perspective – there’s a difference between winning by 1000 votes and winning by 100 votes. You voting – even though you lost – slims the gap between you and the winner. If the winner won by a small gap s/he is gonna need to start paying attention to what you think. On the other hand, if you voted for the winning candidate you want him to make sure that s/he’s confident enough to stick to his/her principals and not try to appeal to the opposition.
If you’re so confident that your candidate is going to win, not voting isn’t helping. Firstly if everyone on your side thought like that then your candidate isn’t going to enjoy the results. My family likes to tell me “Dak li ma jigriex f’mitt sena jigri f’seconda” – how many time have we heard that so and so isn’t gonna get elected then the day comes and woops so and so got elected. Again if I my candidate is going to win I want to be sure of it.
I’d like to point out that what I’m saying doesn’t apply to the European Parliament election only, what I’m saying applies to any election you may vote in. Your vote is going to make a difference no matter if whom you support wins or loses. The best thing you as a person can do for democracy is to get informed and #Giveavote in any election you can vote in.
I feel that I can properly express myself through my writing, and that it's a great way to make myself heard, so that I too can someday make a difference in this complicated world.
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