These brawling youths are nothing but the nemesis-spirit raging against Valletta's gentrification

No. 216 - Republic Street Irregulars

What are we skinning? A recent and well-documented spat of public fights among youths in Valletta, revealing disturbing trends of anti-social behaviour.

Why are we skinning it? Because unruly youths are a perennial bugbear and scapegoat, and which of those two beasts you pick to characterise the phenomenon says a lot about your stance on this, and other similar issues.

But can we really characterise this as an epidemic of urban violence? Depends on which side of the soapbox you're sitting on, I suppose.

I sit on the side of the soapbox which doesn't condone excessive public disturbance, in Valletta or elsewhere. Personally speaking, I would have characterised the insanely loud and discordant live 'music' which has assailed the capital following its most recent gentrification drive as arguably even more offensive than groups of hormonal teenagers lashing out at each other - and occasionally, diners and passersby.

That's quite a silly statement to make. Is it, really, though?

I mean... live music doesn't assault you or disrupt public order. Go stand in the middle of Merchants Street on virtually any evening and then come back and say that to me again.

But the loud music gives you a fair, advance warning, while unruly youths can pop up from nowhere. I would recommend a simple change in attitude here: consider such 'disturbances' as an added condiment to the already 'powerful' musical entertainment -- an immersive theatre performance.
It's still a shame that one's experience of the capital city has to be tainted by youthful 'gangs' causing mischief, annoyance and making a spectacle of themselves. For years we've had to deal with the complaint that Valletta is ‘dead’ in the evenings, and that we wanted it to become more like other major capitals that enjoy a ‘bustling’ nightlife. Well, now it's happened.

But what people wanted was to have their pick of comfortable eateries and watering holes, where they can escape to and spend their money in... You can't have one without the other, bucko. If you want a city that's 'alive', you have to be ready to take in all forms of life.

I am concerned about these kids, though. Is anything being done to check on them. There's been quite a bit of pearl-clutching and calling for 'discipline' and the need for parents to do their bit.

That seems very actionable and not general at all. The bars will be hiring security, for what it's worth.

Imagine if they're also charged with policing the music. Now that would be money well spent.

Do say: "Youth violence is never a pleasant topic, but it's also an inevitable aspect of most capital cities, and if we're going to indiscriminately expand Valletta into an entertainment district, we need to be ready to accept some of the fallout. Or better yet, go for a solid rethink of how we're treating our capital city."

Don't say: "These brawling youths are nothing but the nemesis-spirit raging against Valletta's gentrification."