Death of a nation

On 16 April 2019, my 89-year-old father passed away. I miss my father. I miss our chats. I miss his passion for music, his love of the environment. I miss our conversations about the books he loved to read. My father was my best friend.

He was someone I could talk to about pretty much anything. A man who taught me to be a free thinker, unshackled by any tribal loyalty to one Party or another. More importantly, he taught me the importance of honesty, imparted solid values, showed me how to be fair, and how to have fierce and uncompromising loyalty to the truth.

He taught me the importance of being true to oneself, to nurture one’s spiritual side – spirituality in a more holistic sense of the word and not restricted to the notions of religious belief. He was an idealist. A fighter of the good fight.

I miss the stories of his past life when the world was torn apart by war; when he was a refugee in his own country. We disagreed, we laughed, we argued, we ate good food, drank beers, listened to music, travelled together, watched films and went for long walks. The years passed. We grew old. Then one fine day, it was time to say goodbye. He lived a full life. His time had come.

On an almost daily basis now, we are reading about elderly people passing because they got infected with COVID-19. The official communication tells us that they had ‘underlying conditions’. The implication is that nothing could have been done, that the underlying condition was the reason they died. Of course, nothing can be further than the truth.

These people died because of COVID-19. As we grow older, we all grow more vulnerable. An elderly neighbour of mine has been locked up since March. I haven’t seen him since then. I saw him go from taking pleasure in harvesting crops in his field to being a vulnerable person in a matter of years.

He’s one of the lucky ones as he is cared for in his own home. He has so far been protected from exposure to the deadly virus.  The cause of death is COVID-19 and not the underlying conditions.

The recent paper published in the Journal of Community Health penned by five medical experts, including the Superintendent of Public Health Charmaine Gauci, criticised the approach and decisions by the government to open the country for business without any proper thought, a serious lack of care and no real tangible precautions in place.

We’ve gotten used to how this government works – money trumps everything else.

Our elderly, who have done so much for us and worked so hard to build our country, have been forsaken by a government that is meant to protect every single citizen of Malta. We have clearly seen, on many occasions and in various ways, that life in Malta has no value.

We are alone. In the eyes of the elected members of government, we are all just a number with a price tag and a vote on our heads.

People are being robbed of the privilege of spending time with their elderly parents, their grandparents, their relatives, their brothers and sisters or their friends. The way I had the privilege to do with my elderly father.

Grandchildren are being deprived of listening to the stories of what Malta was like back when their nannu or nanna were kids. It is shocking, to say the least, that our government has decided that elderly people are dispensable. The daily death-toll of the elderly is treated with such indifference.

It beggars belief. What have we become? There is no sense of outrage.

As the death count due to COVID-19 increases, not one single member of government has shouldered responsibility for the deaths that are all happening because of the irresponsible and miserable decisions taken by people who have absolutely no idea of leadership.

This is an indictment on all of us, but more so on those who were voted in to protect all the citizens of Malta.


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