The Power of Words

It is recommended to handle words carefully as they have more power than atom bombs. This is much true in politics where words trigger emotions and capture the hopes and dreams of people. Yet at the same time words can incite anger, generate conflict and create divisiveness.

Historically, words have always been at the centre of leaders who left their mark on world history. Hitler, Winston Churchill, Malcolm X, Martin Luther King, and Mussolini are a few examples of leaders who in good or bad, have used the power of word as a means to generate popularity and followership. Looking at the local political scenraio, key statesmen including Nerik Mizzi, Duminku Mintoff, and Eddie Fenech Adami have carved their names in Malta’s political history for their ability to attract and motivate the crowd.

In recent years, we have seen a development in the power of words. Words travel faster then the speed of sound through different mediums. Politicians know this and in recent events have maximized the use of social media and other media to develop their political campaign. Indeed, media played a key role in making Barack Obama’s first presidential campaign so impressive and electrifying. Th new channels on which words travel were also at the core of the 2013 PL landside electoral victory. The 2013 PL electoral victory was historic not only for the impressive victory yet also in the way it set the bar on how we communicate messages in local politics. Facebook, and Twitter turned into the common parctice of how politicians communicate with the general public. Indeed the new PN administration has set social media at the centre of its reforms to regenerate itself and seek to bring back its followers.

Although media offers an effective and modern approach as how we manage words in politics, it also offers dangerous pitfalls which can have a counterproductive results.

Indeed, the recent use of words in local politics calls us to stop and think on the the damage caused to Maltese society. The rants and outburst with inappropriate language we have assited to in parliament, through social media and other mediums serve no purpose other then to degenrate the prevalent apathy towards politics in our society. It also serves to instigate a style of politics we have faught in recent years to distance ourselves from rather then adhere to.

Sadly,the contribution given by certain opinionists and journalists serves of little to balance the negativity generated by politicians. Although they generate followership, the “pizella” jargon serves only to kill and ridicule the very essence of politics. It also sends a wrong message to our young generation as to the main scope of why we follow politics and ultimately vote each time we are called to.

Sadly too, journalists are adhering to a school of thought that stresses on opportunism and sensationalism. Journalists often fretfully splash out news at the cost of reporting incorrect or defamatory information as well as at the expense of selecting what is of real value. The school of thought they adhere to stresses on the importance of divulging news before others giving little emphasis to detail. Moreover, in line with this school of thought it is acceptable that journalsm fuels anger and divisiveness in society. Unfortunately all those adhering to this approach do not understand the fact that their actions kill their right to report the truth and to express their constructive opinion to comment.

It is still unclear whether our current political setting is to be classified as a comedy or tragedy. Irrespective of which category to classify local politics, it is recommended that a rational evaluation by all parties concerned is adopted so as to avoid further damage to our political heritage and the community at large.