mardi, avril 04, 2006
Do you know what Chapter 300 of the Laws of Malta is about? Enacted at the height of Socialist Malta, the Foreign Interference Act it was intended to "regulate the limitations on the political activity of aliens". In 1982, it was imperative for the government of the day to limit interventions by politicians from the country of World Football Champions that might in some way criticise whatever is happening in Malta. As Aliens they had no right to speak about our island internecene squabbles. Tindahlux! (Do not interfere/meddle!)
We have always had this thing about the foreigner. Il-barrani. Our word for foreigner in this case is better translated as "the outsider" - the one beyond the barrier. The alien who comes from across the sea that keeps us so warmly encapsulated and shielded from whatever ills exist beyond our island of utopic perfection. In 1982 we had foreign politicians telling Dom and his band of Merry Socialists that theirs was not such a happy republic after all. Dom, still not in the libelling trade at the time, had shifted his concerns to blocking out this criticism and telling the Italian Gorla's to stick their noses up their own culi.
Fast forward to 2006. We still do not like foreigners much. We still think of them in two distinct categories (a) money bags or (b) vermin. The first category normally comes from the north and will only be scorned at when his tipping habits fall short of the 10%. The second category arrives in boat loads. In both cases we shield them from the inhabitants. The first has glorious non-environment friendly buildings built for his accomodation and consumption, eating away at public land and public property. The second is placed in sub-standard detention at His President's Pleasure and can wait up to eighteen months to find out whether his stay in this extension of hell has been worthwhile all not.
We actually joined the AIDS carrying foreigners with the promises of investment and new roads and wealth dangled infront of us like a carrot. This week we went to their Parliament, which is now also ours and transformed a debate about the poor people in the detention centres into a debate about the small island that is infested with vermin and cannot cope. Our 5 MEPS probably pleaded with Ze Germans to unearth the Pied Piper of Hamelyn who would whisk away the problem for our shores and make it someone else's.
What surprised me is the language of the debate until now. Are we such a sorry country that we can justify leaving people in squallid conditions for years just because nobody was there to hold our hand and show us how to do it right? Are we able to look ourselves in the face and say that this is our Melita of milk and honey when we cannot provide basic living conditions to those in need?
That Europe has a duty to assist Malta with regards to the flood of immigrants that use us as a stepping stone towards the continent is beyond any doubt. But that we act the victims in this sad scene is unpardonable. That we shut our eyes infront of the inhuman treatment that we have afforded to guests is atrocious. It is a sign of a decaying society. Once again I repeat that I am not proud to be Maltese at this point in time. The farce of the MEPs who stress on aid (to Malta) and do not also stress on the need to treat humans humanly is beyond me. Even more of a farce when they trumpet collaboration on the MLPN front to effectively tone down criticism of Malta from the EPP and Socialist front.
In the desert, to the South of our pretentious island, there is a implied rule. Anyone visiting an oasis is to be welcomed as one of the family. The visitor is to be cared for, fed and nurtured before he ventures back out to battle against nature. Nobody is your enemy in the oasis. The same applies to tents. Visitors are afforded the highest status. Read your bible if you doubt this. It is a rule that centres around an instinct. Survival.
Because today you could be the host. Next time... you could be the visitor.
Related Post: Il-Ponta ta' Santa Marija (kinnie&twistees)