While reading Daphne's piece on the Independent today, this particular part of the article got me thinking:
"The reason is that while the police and the government could prevent journalists from going into the sleeping and eating quarters of the detainees (this being Malta, where there is scant respect for the role the press plays in society), they could not similarly prevent the Civil Liberties Committee delegation. It would have looked as though they had something to hide, which is precisely how it looked when they prevented the press from going in. They still tried it on with the delegation, though, telling them not to take photographs so as to respect the privacy of the detainees. Then, as one of them told a news conference afterwards: “The detainees themselves were begging us to take pictures, to show everyone the kind of squalor in which they are being kept.”
It is true that unless some people in Malta get a voyeurist pictographic peek at the appalling conditions of the detention centres they will not be moved to push for change. And the government and military know this. That is why journalists or visiting inspectors are not allowed to take photos : forget all the balderdash about the respect to privacy.
So here is our idea. Not too daring admittedly, but it should be workable. Someone in Malta (I suggest AD but any NGO will do) should set up a fund and collect money for a special cause. What cause? Well it's simple. We will buy presents for the detainees. Very special presents. We will buy them disposable cameras to take photos of their wonderful stay on our hospitable island. The aim? A souvenir of our hospitality. Let's see the army argue "respect of privacy" this time round.
Next step is to use the next part of the fund to print the photos as an added service to the detainees. All in the respect of everyone's privacy since all photos will be taken by the detainees themselves.
And should the Army not allow such cameras to be given or prints to be printed then we know which MEP's to call don't we? The same ones who gave a standing ovation to President Fenech Adami yesterday at Strasbourg.