A friend forwarded me a clip of Eddie Fenech Adami addressing a mass meeting in June 1982. I am normally not partial to partisan nostalgia but, for some reason, I decided to watch. I was struck by the genuine depth of the leader’s words – the real words of a Party in opposition inspired by truth and justice.
“We know that our fight is for justice, it is not a fight for nationalists but for all the Maltese. It is a struggle for the good of our sons and their sons.” There was a sense of purpose; a mission. ‘Justice will prevail’ is not a volatile slogan of these days but a truth written hard in stone.
Fenech Adami’s movement in the 80s could read the writing on the wall. The signs of the times were such that the movement could gather the momentum felt around the world in a struggle for democracy and justice.
The masses that assembled to back the movement did so with justice and truth in mind. They were acting for future generations. Which is why I am always dumbfounded whenever I am reminded that Fenech Adami’s PN was elected to government with the most fragile of majorities – barely scraping past the 50% majority.
That is statistics and polling for you. The writing has been on the wall for quite some time now. A corrupt web linking politicians and the criminal underworld has surfaced and it is clear for all to see.
As Ranier Fsadni rightly noted yesterday, it takes a special kind of fealty to obliterate any form of moral compass and persevere in the support of a Party mired in corruption. And yet the latest polls point to another Labour victory on what could be an even grander scale. Given the results in 1987, we should neither be shocked nor surprised.
What then do we make of our society at its most basic elements? Where is the sense of mission and purpose in our politicians? Who will hold them accountable by these standards?
Time and again I have referred to the adage of a healthy society being one where the elderly plant trees whose shade will only be enjoyed in the future by their offspring. What we are facing nowadays is the exact opposite. A society concerned only with itself and short term material gain will not be incentivised to bring about the required change.
The most recent revelations concerning the Montenegro wind farm investments should have gone a long way to convince even the most diehard of faithful defenders that investigators and journalists are not tilting at windmills.
I, for one, had hoped that concrete proof that taxpayers’ money is vanishing right under their eyes should be sufficient incentive for them to take up their pitchforks – history is riddled with examples of the people getting furious once those in power touch their purse. But in Malta, history is for other people.
We are regaled instead with a prime minister and members of his Cabinet feigning surprise and anger. Varist the Confessor spoke of some kind of eclipse and for the need to cleanse Malta of all this reputational damage.
The issue here is that politicians like Robert Abela, Evarist Bartolo and most, if not all, Labour in government are part of the problem. Theirs is a collective responsibility that cannot be washed away mildly with some promise of a new beginning after seven years of silent complicity with the crooks.
Until yesterday, they were defending disgraced politicians Muscat, Mizzi and Schembri tooth and nail, baying for those dubbed as traitors to be silenced.
In all this, the desperate state of the Nationalist Party does not bode well for concrete action. The internecine feuds are a welcome distraction for Labour that aims to capitalise on a divide and conquer tactic.
That sense of purpose witnessed 28 years ago might be captured by the revived protest movements calling for truth and justice, but we would do well to remember that “a lie can travel around the world before truth has time to put on its boots”.
As I type Keith Schembri has cryptically returned to social media posting that today he will “finally be able to speak the truth”. A bit rich coming from someone who has been evading any possibility to speak any form of truth for months now.
The writing has been on the wall for some time now. We know the ills that are afflicting our nation and yet we seem reluctant to act on the remedy. I am reminded of the words of one of the Maltese nation’s fathers, Mikiel Anton Vassalli. Aspiring philosophers such as Evarist Bartolo would do well to heed them:
“Li jkollok marda u ma tistax tagħrafha hi ħasra kbira, illi tagħrafha u ma tkunx taf bid-duwa hija ħasra li żżommok fuq ix-xwiek sabiex issibha, imma li tkun taf bid-duwa u mank tiksibha, dak huwa gwaj ikbar mill-marda nfisha. Xi ngħidu imbagħad ghal min il-marda jafha, u jaf, u għandu f’idejh id-duwa tagħha u intant jintelaq u ma jridx joħodha?’”
(If you suffer from a malady but do not know what it is, that is a pity. That you recognise the malady but do not know the remedy is a pity that keeps you on tenterhooks until you find it. If you know the remedy but cannot find it that is worse than the malady itself. What then of he who knows his malady, knows and owns the remedy but relaxes and refuses to take it?’ (Vassalli, Lexicon, 1796)).