mardi, octobre 03, 2006
The doors at Tal-Qroqq opened yesterday. Listening to the Bay Radio news I hear an interview with new KSU President David Ciliberti. It would seem that the most important item on his agenda for this new year at University is the visit of President Eddie Fenech Adami who will talk about yesterday's students and tomorrow's students.
Every year the atmosphere at our University looks more like a school and less like an alma mater that allows independent development of thought in a good environment. I cannot see the rebels of our generation - the leftist SDM, the commie Graffiti, the weird anthropologists and the surprisingly activist MKSU are all gone. Instead there is a campus full of apologetic arse-lickers that do not bode well for the future. Even Graffitti tend to sound like they are into radical change just for the fashionable aspect of having El Che wrapped around their neck rather than for the chain around Castille type protest.
I had attended a Graffiti inspired protest at the visit of Li Peng to Malta. I doubt whether any of the current generation would even begin to consider such a manifestation - and be bothered by the great police action we would get. The most hussle and tussle the new generation seems to like is the one at the bar fighting for a drink or head banging infront of some group.
We liked the drinks and the odd rock concert too. But we also had a common feeling that we wanted to change the world. We ran protests that never made the headlines but were effective. Like the spontaneous corner meeting in 1993 by the hundred or so law students against the inadequacies of the BA Legal & Humanistic course that had just opened. Like the ongoing efforts made by the few hundred active students to try to convince the rest that sitting back and accepting all that is thrown at them is not the best way to get a tertiary education.
The new University generations are being accused of being 'softer' all over Europe. Maybe they have been dulled up by their playstations, mp3 players and iPods. Maybe. Maybe it is the failure of our generation to really get things started. The failure of my generation to set a durable mind-set of not allowing intervention by the bigger parties into student politics. We managed to keep them out ourselves (notwithstanding the general perception of the greater public) - unfortunately once we left they crept back in ... finding new volunteers who were prepared to toe the line like those who had come before us.
One final word. Opening day at University carries many memories. I recall the great bonfire bonanza I had helped organize in 1994 with a budding Beangrowers act featuring on the list. It included all organisations (at the time I had to battle with the SDM executive to convince them that Student's Day would be for everyone - the wishy-washy communists at Graffiti included!). I remember the older generation who had still carried on the tradition of the 5th October Sangria-like concoction (I seem to remember Renzo preparing it). The one I remember most at the beginning of my early years at Uni is Julian Manduca - choppy.
My thoughts on Student's Day this year go out to Choppy. A model student activist if ever there was one.
* Student's Day in Malta is officially celebrated on 5th October. Among other things it commemorates the night when thugs attacked University. Don't expect EFA to forget this particular episode when talking about yesterday's students.