MP makes strong appeal to tackle bullying after US school shooting

After the Texas gunman was found to have a history of bullying, Malcolm Paul Agius Galea opened up about his own experiences with bullying

Labour MP Malcolm Paul Agius Galea made a strong appeal for Malta to tackle bullying at all levels after opening up about his own experience as a victim in childhoom.

During a parliamentary speech, Agius Galea recalled how a group of children had ganged up on him when he was younger, as he was making his way out from catechism classes (mużew).

It was only after a man came and stopped the children from hitting him that he managed to escape and head home. “God sent him from heaven,” he said.

But he then turned to Salvador Ramos, the 18-year-old gunman who opened fire at a Texas elementary school and killed at least 19 children. Ramos was reportedly bullied in school due to his speech imediment, and had a troubled family background.

“We were two victims, but two extremities. I moved forward in life and am here today, but the other victim fell backwards,” he said.

Agius Galea insisted that bullying must be tackled, in Malta and beyond its shores.

Parliament had been discussing a new bill on femicide, something which Agius Galea said can also be a result of bullying.

“Victims of bullying are an important human resource to our society. those victims, who today their characters strengthened, can help us address this problem and help other victims of bullying.”

He added that many victims of bullying can sometimes end up isolated. “Here, I’m proposing a national campaign against solitude, reason. being that it’s the start of many mental health problems.”

Agius Galea mentioned that verbal bullying is prevalent across Malta. “In every locality there’s at least one person who people say is troubled. They end up being victims of bullying, and then they kill themselves.”

He mentioned that cyber bullying, sometimes verging on sexual bullying, can also be highly detrimental to people’s mental health.

“Cyber bullying is becoming more common, and it’s important to address it. It’s one of the factors of this digital world that we need to take care of.”

Agius Galea eventually concluded by touching on prejudiced bullying, usually on the basis of someone’s race, sexual orientation, skin colour, political beliefs.

“They are Maltese too. We need to show that they are Maltese like us and can be part of Maltese society. They’re as important as you and me, they’re citizens too. We need to keep our eyes open for these people.”