The anachronistic island

On 5 March, Prime Minister Abela crossed by boat to Gozo where he was the guest of honour at a private dinner organised for him to meet Gozitan contractors and entrepreneurs on the eve of the latest Labour fundraising campaign. Only 10 days later the Prime Ministers of Poland, the Czech Republic and Slovenia took a high-risk train journey to Kyiv to meet Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy. They were there to express ‘unequivocal support’ for Ukraine.

In the middle of an election campaign, Maltese citizens have started to receive €100 and €200 cheques signed by the prime minister and the finance minister. In a blatant violation of Venice Commission guidelines, the party in government abused its power of incumbency by splashing out public monies on a vote-luring exercise. In other parts of the world, besieged citizens had to resort to melting snow or emptying water from heaters to avoid dehydration.

Labour Party election candidates insist on handing out “goodies” to the electorate. Children are a particular target and amid promises of free ipads we have seen candidates hand out virtual reality sets in exchange for a photo session with the kids decorated with the electoral slogan. It is never too early to groom tomorrow’s fanatics. Meanwhile, one out of every eight children in Moldova is a refugee. Half of the 3.2 million refugees are children. Drawings by children who have fled Ukraine depict tanks, missiles and the hope that one day there will be peace.

Marina Ovszannikova is a news editor on Russian state TV Channel One. She was. Until, tired of being part of state propaganda and lies, she protested on live TV calling for citizens to open their eyes and not believe the lies. She was arrested and is now facing a fine and possible detention. Two weeks into the invasion of the Ukraine many people in Russia are brainwashed into believing that there is no war and are shielded from the truth by the strong grasp of the state on journalism and reporting. Malta’s journalistic scene is strongly dominated by party propaganda. The party in government has a multimillion-euro campaign in place even though it has failed to produce accounts that would justify this power of expenditure.

Campaign promises in this election centre around the showering of benefits, increase in tax cuts and more costs on the public purse, all of which will presumably be funded by the sale of passports. The promises have continued relentlessly notwithstanding the potential economic repercussions of the war. Belarus is the world’s main supplier of potash – crucial for new crops. Wheat risks becoming a scarce commodity. This is a situation that needs forward planning and not parties promising to spend the earth for the supposed greater comfort of the people.

The Omicron wave continues unabated and new records are being reached in Western Europe and China. Despite the persistent danger posed by the pandemic there is increasing clamour for “freedom” from the covid restrictions. People want comfort, they want no masks, no boosters and zero control. They crave the first world comfort of “freedom”. In Mariupol, hospitals are under siege. Russian soldiers control the doctors and their access to patients. Paediatric hospitals are bombarded.

Two accidents on successive days gave the impression that Malta traffic had reached gridlock. Again citizens complained of the discomfort caused by traffic jams. Our parties race to compete with new ideas on how to make the nation even more servant of the car and the concrete roadways. The party with a track record of environmental mutilation promises more investment in open spaces. Elsewhere lines of cars and buses attempting to flee bombarded cities come under fire from Russian military. The solution to their kind of traffic inconvenience lies far from electoral manifestos.

It’s as though we are encased in a time capsule, sheltered from the outside world. It’s as though the folds of time wrapped around the island of Malta and rendered its citizens immune from the realities of the world. I have been finding it harder and harder to follow an absurd and hollow electoral campaign. I prefer scrolling on online groups set up in Luxembourg to assist the Ukrainian refugees however we can.

The Luxembourg government has made it administratively simple for refugees to be hosted by families, to find work and to obtain as much help as they can get. The response from the public has been outstanding.  Real solidarity is tangible. The noise of the mass meetings, of the rabble calling out their leader and saviour, and of the propaganda machines is far away.

Malta in election mode is not just a thousand kilometres away from the real world. It seems to be another age altogether. An island anachronism.

                           
                               
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Godfrey Leone Ganado
1 month ago

And now you will see these same people lobbying for vantage places for the Pope’s mass on the granaries, and perhaps donating a few loose coins for the victims of Putin’s senseless war. L-aqwa li nidhru.

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