Other people

The world hit a record daily Covid cases on Monday as over 1.44 million worldwide infections smashed the prior record.

I don’t know whether the Omicron variant has a hand in this burst or not, but up to now the almost two years of Covid had spared my closer bubble of acquaintances. Until recently Covid was something I read about in the news and happened mostly to other people.

Covid is no longer happening to “other people”. As numbers rise the chances of acquaintances being infected have risen. It is still not the reason why I am vaccinated and ‘boosted’. I have no more patience or tolerance for anti-vaxxers who persist in obtuse hard-headedness.

We have come to a point where the effectiveness of vaccination is self-evident and yet the anti-vaxxers persist in burdening society with the consequences of their egoism. Covid does not happen to others. It is in everyone’s interest to participate in the fight against its spread.

As the Second Year of the Covid Era ends we can afford to look at how we are faring as a nation. The Shift’s coverage of the National Statistics Office report seems to be a good place to start. The explosion of Malta’s debt (by €3 billion) gives us a clear picture of the modus operandi of the Labour government and its currying of favour with a huge part of the electorate. 

What disgraced former PM Joseph Muscat left as inheritance for Robert Abela is a leech of the public purse. Day in, day out, The Shift has reported the cavalier attitude with which the Labour administration has dispensed with public funds. Take for example the spotlight on the Festivals Malta state agency, yet another orgy of public fund abuse for the Greater Comfort of the Labour insiders.

It’s quite simple really. Wherever the administration is expected to manage public monies, we find a record of direct orders, cronyism, and leeching. Your money is being used as charity – distributed in an unmeritorious way with the only criteria being a link to Labour.

It is not even about the power of incumbency anymore – we must take that for granted. Labour will win the next election. It will do so spending your money to win favours and votes.

We are resigned to accepting that this kind of news no longer causes outrage. As things stand our constitutional set up remains incontrovertibly perverted in favour of an administration built on cronyism. If we accept this as the major lesson from 2021 we can also add that there is another aspect that goes beyond the financial.

In fact, we can gauge the state of the nation also from the reactions in the health and environment sphere. Two institutions that are crucial to a functioning society are our correctional facilities and those dedicated to mental health.

Again these are areas of society which we might think affect “others”. Consequently, our level of empathy in these spheres might automatically be set low.

Yet the ills that afflict our prison as well as our mental hospital give us a picture of an egoistic society that ignores the weak among it.  Prisoners and the mentally ill are obviously not of much value to our political class. Nor is much protest made by the rest of the population. The others will have to find a solution of their own. 

Immigrant workers too are off the empathy radar. The appalling story of Ahmed Adawe Diriye, the Somali who fell while working on the roof of a Marsa factory on Wednesday is the latest story that should make us hang our heads in shame.

Ahmed died twice. He first succumbed to his injuries having been treated as an anonymous person. Later he was reported missing, and it was only five days later was it discovered that the dead anonymous person and the reported missing person were one and the same.

The rabid comments under Ahmed’s story exposed the inhuman face of an uncaring society. We would like to think that these ‘others’ who spew bile on the net are not part of the same society that we live in and yet… 

Archbishop Scicluna asked our politicians how it is that we can tell migrants that we are full up and have no place for them. Ahmed’s story is part of the answer to the archbishop’s question. Our society is too busy queuing at the trough of public monies, ignorant of the fact that it is being fattened with its own money. 

In a time of quarantine and isolation we labour under the impression that much that happens in the world is happening to other people. We couldn’t be further from the truth.

                           
                               
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Jesmond Saliba
Jesmond Saliba
7 months ago

Under this Labour government Malta started comparing well to Dante’s inferno.

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