When I was an English teacher, I remember telling frustrated students that yes, seemingly nothing really works all too efficiently in Malta because we do tend to be a lot more relaxed than most countries, but in the end it generally all ends up ok. I don’t believe this anymore.
I’m not going to go into the merits of cases under investigation, despite how painful it is that we live in a country where I have friends’ funerals to go to once or twice a year, be it accidental or otherwise. The main reason I can no longer say I am proud of my “island paradise” is because the state has given up on caring for its people. Who cares if there are a few hundred casualties a year as long as a 40,000 majority are happy to pay more than they earn on rent and essentials?
As an island state, we the people exhibit the so-called “island mentality” on a regular basis. Just look at how the world reacted to the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia, and look at the political farce that we turned it into. We are a defeatist nation happy to see our country on Top 10 Countries To Retire To on Buzzfeed, all the while being equally happy to disregard news that we have some of the filthiest air in Europe, as well as over 35% sub-par education in students up to the age of 15.
We are the first to take the piss out of huge countries like America because they elect trigger happy oranges to office, and yet just take a sample of teenagers in our country and ask them to point out Ghana on a map. Let’s give 16-year olds a vote because they really should be given a voice, but at no point did we consider an interim adaptation of our education system to ensure that our close to 100% voting turnout doesn’t continue to be mindlessly bi-partisan.
We have a government run by businessmen who use civil liberties as a scapegoat, but then again something as simple as a morning after pill is still left up to the moral judgement of a pharmacist. People who feel justified in laughing young women out of their pharmacy for asking for something they are legally and rightfully entitled to. The sluts.
On the other hand, lest anyone calls me one of the solid primary colour tribesmen, we have an Opposition which has no idea how to keep its own party intact. How the PN thought they could compete against Joseph Muscat’s sales pitch campaign by calling corruption is beyond me – have they ever been further away from the people?
They were right about one thing, we are a Mafia State, but it has nothing to do with the government. The reason this government has been getting away with all that’s been reported internationally is because the people are perfectly fine with it. We relish in the idea that we, a tiny island, can get away with literally anything.
Recently a law was passed whereby making it illegal to smoke a cigarette while driving due to not having both hands on your steering wheel. Have you seen any less people smoking while driving? Because I haven’t. How could anyone of us ever feel afraid of the law if the law is enforced by people who give as much of a shit about the law as anyone else?
I’m not sad, I’m disappointed and angry because I feel like my country, my own people, have let me down. Memories of young people dying before their time are being soiled by media circuses and speculation, while young people still living are having their lives ruined by identical clickbait. Any form of debate that goes against our precious Catholic values is hung, drawn and quartered almost as if the Inquisition themselves had Facebook access, and yet the numbers of people in church have been dwindling for years on end.
I want to end this on an appeal, as a young Maltese man who desperately wants to be proud of my beautiful heritage and my country’s incredible potential. Please open your eyes to the bigger picture. Please realise that we are killing each other and ourselves. Please realise that getting away with petty illegalities on a daily basis and having people feeling comfortable laundering money, selling drugs to children, taking sexual pleasure from children and women by force, are all symptomatic of how we all want to be the bloody Godfather.
This has to stop. We need to be the people who change things. We need to put our foot down and truly fight for what we believe in – if, that is, we believe in anything at all any more. I want to go back to my country, and I wish one day I can have children and maybe grand-children who are proud to be Maltese. I sure as hell am not right now.