jeudi, février 01, 2007

Liberals of the Island Unite

The promise that Norman Hamilton's column seemed to show in its first appearance in the Times seems to have considerably dissipated. Between Eurovision voting quandaries, weighty considerations about Manwel Dimech Bridge, underqualified radio presenters and a drawl about some book he is reading (summarised by giving us a list of the main characters) there is little to pick on other than the emptiness of the column itself. We could have done without this new addition to the galaxy of opinion writers writing for the esteemed paper.

Which gives me some space to point out a brilliant article by Daphne in the Indy. Incidentally the Indy rarely has more than one opinion column per edition... a stress on quality vs quantity, no doubt. I liked all Daphne's article - from start to finish - especially since there is no attack on Gozo and Gozitanness (or Gozitanity), but I do believe that the conclusion merits reproduction right here (in case you are lazy enough not to read the whole thing):

A government that wants to keep Malta a paradise for bird-shooters, for anti-divorce Catholics of the mealy-mouthed by-the-book variety, and for foetus-fetishists, is a backward-looking one. In seeking to maintain Maltese society in a state of retardation, the government is going to create a massive schism where previously there was homogeneity of sorts. The Maltese who want to live secular modern lives in a Malta that is part of contemporary Europe will wrench themselves away from those who cling to a misguided nostalgia for a mythical island and a way of life that exists only in their imagination.

There never was a blissful past in Malta, just as there never was one anywhere else in Europe. The present is by far the more wonderful, comfortable, convenient, secure, safe and amusing. If we go with it, it can only get better. But we can’t do so as long as the bird-shooters, rosary-fingerers and foetus-frenzied are clinging to our coat-tails and dragging us down. The only way to shake them off is with a pair of scissors to cut them loose, and that, of course, is where the schism starts. The division of the future is not going to be the old one between Labour and Nationalist, but the new one between the liberals who want to inhabit the contemporary world and the illiberal who want to remain denizens of a non-existent past. You mark my words. It’s happening already.

My highlighting of course. The real pity is that in all probability more people will be worried about the fact that the final round of the Song for Europe will only have televoting than about anything that Daphne has to write about.


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