There are so many idiosyncrasies which make our little island state unique. The list is too long to be published in such a short article. But, as a nation, we tend to go from one extreme to another when attempting to solve problems. Such a fallacious solution to any problem or crises is inevitably catapulted into the political arena.
Let me dish out a couple of examples to further project our mind-set regarding how we tend to go to extremes in ‘solving’ problems. When all the main cities in Europe and beyond were witnessing protests due to the extreme lockdown measures which were introduced by the respective governments due to the COVID-19 pandemic, our government was doing its level best to avoid a lockdown scenario in Malta. Which we did succeed in. However, during this period, the social media was crammed with angry locals (all of which became overnight experts in virology and public order) demanding and urging our government to lock us all down because people were dying. So, lock the airport, lock the port, insist on a curfew…that was how extreme and to what great lengths a very healthy sector of the population wanted to go during the pandemic.
It is the same with the introduction of a new concept locally. When I was a kid, computers were being introduced into the market. Overnight, every high street had half a dozen computer shops all selling nearly the same stuff. The same scenario was witnessed with video and DVD rentals. Once a shop was opened in a village core, another dozen mushroomed throughout the village. Nowadays, one can see it happening with gents’ barber shops and greasy Turkish doner outlets.
We go to great lengths to sort out a concept or a problem by taking them to extremes. We project an image of being more of a virgin than the blessed Mary herself and more Catholic than the Pope himself. We have enough band clubs with their musicians and activists to create a straight line of people from here to the moon. The same goes for fuel-guzzling cars, even though everyone grumbles about how long it takes to get from Point A to Point B. Let alone the environment. Extreme solutions to daily occurrences.
Environment and Politics à la Maltaise
With regards the environment, even though there will be quite a number of puritans who will raise their eyebrows at the coming statement, a huge chunk of people – some genuine and some with very obvious personal reasons – went all out against the development of the Marsascala harbour because, they said, it will ruin the soul of Marsascala and will not let the locals swim there and the fishermen there will not be able to continue their trade. Bollocks, I say. If these were the only problems, I am sure that the competent authorities would find a mutually satisfying solution. If being environmentalists means leaving a shabby, fourth rate fishing village without any decent upgrade and being the mecca of the south for drug related distribution, then I am not an environmentalist. Again, this is a classic example of taking things to extremes, instead of creating the right atmosphere for dialogue wherein much needed investment injection in the area is coupled with a moderate approach of compromise instead of hysterical extremism.
Which brings me to the political issues which are bothering me on the subject in question. Firstly, and I have always repeated this issue, one notes the very precise methodology of how the brutal assassination of Daphne Caruana Galizia is being utilised to create a saint-like martyr for a very frustrated group of conservative has-beens. By no means should her murder be justifiable. On that we agree. But depicting her as the best journalist in the universe after Bob Woodward is an insult to our collective memory. She had bouts of great, investigative journalism which made her unique. Very true. But her pen was used to demonise, destroy and humiliate hundreds of people who were not public figures without even checking on the veracity of what was being fed to her. Why? Because they were ħamalli Laburistiand that’s that. They fell in a category of islanders which she really and truly despised, as she so eloquently would confirm in writing time and time again.
Blood on their Hands?
And now we have a very sad and nostalgic Nationalist member of parliament, who should know better, trying to convince the court and public opinion that since Daphne died allegedly for exposing a corrupt number of instances under a Labour government, then any Labour Party member of parliament is collectively a co-killer of Daphne. And that they have blood on their hands. This is total bull. It is such a fallacious argument that even a nine-year-old would shatter the supposed logic in the supposed reasoning of this lawyer cum politician.
This would create a scenario, therefore, that all the Nationalist Party members of opposition and PN officers of the period are all collectively co-killers of Karen Grech since the Maltese law courts themselves confirmed in writing that the murder of Karen Grech by a letter bomb was a political assassination. And that includes a couple of Emeritus Presidents of the Republic of Malta. That would be the farcical logic of the Hon. Jason Azzopardi’s twisted interpolation of guilt by association. Which harks back to the time when the medieval church fingered all the Jews as collectively responsible of deicide since Jesus was supposedly killed by the Jews, not the Romans. Extreme fallacies for extreme scenarios.
Now, we are witnessing another coordinated operation being undertaken. This involves journalists. There is an image being created that journalists should be above libels and court actions because these actions hamper their work and puts them at risk and so on and so forth. So any half-baked journalist or blogger can write what he bloody well wants on anyone and, if there is no truth to what he or she is stating, the aggrieved party should have no legal remedy to offset this travesty of justice made under the aegis of journalistic freedom.
We are really adept at taking things to extremes. But beware of such situations. There is always the possibility that what one is being shown is not always the real reason why matters would be pushed to extremes. There is always a hidden agenda. It seems to me that since the right in Malta cannot outdo the left in the ballot box, these schemes and many others are being ‘innocently’ planted in the collective mentality of the population in order to create stepping stones for sabotaging the present status quo which the people themselves have voted for throughout these eight plus years.