Get out

We do not get to choose our birthplace. We are Maltese, living on a sunny (most of the time) island in the Mediterranean out of pure chance, nothing more, nothing less.

The quality of life on the island is what it is, take it or leave it, and the more time goes by, the more it seems that “leave it” is becoming the better option.

I have been speaking and writing as an expat for the past 18 years, so I can also claim a different perspective on the matter. I have seen Malta change gradually and come to expect that the Malta I have left will never be there to welcome me should I ever decide to repatriate.

Should I stay or should I go? The choice of sticking with our birthplace and what it offers or ‘spreading one’s wings’ has been in the news this week. An article carried by another paper compared the lives of the Maltese who quit Malta for other shores to those of non-Maltese who have opted to set up base in Malta.

Meanwhile, speaking at the monthly Daphne Caruana Galizia vigil, Kristina Chetcuti ruffled quite a few feathers with her exhortation to the young to leave the island.

Daphne Caruana Galizia was also a regular ‘offender’ on the matter of upping and leaving the island – especially when addressing younger generations. Often, she would take pride in the fact that her sons did just that and got a world education far from the claustrophobic island confines.

The choice, as I said earlier, seems to be increasingly one Hobson would be proud of. The problem is that the changing Malta is changing for the worse.

An angrier nation has seen living standards spiral downwards rapidly. It gets worse, there does not seem to be either the awareness of the problem or the willingness to tackle it. Rather, the nation is programmed to self-destruct and seems comfortable with that choice.

What do you choose?

Do you choose increasing numbers of cars, construction, roads, congestion and development? Or the ‘balance’ between commerce and commerce to the detriment of your environment?

Do you choose a political system that rewards fidelity over competence? Or the daily depreciation of your living standards in exchange for government handouts?

Do you choose higher rates of violence? Do you opt for a system that rewards noise, cacophony and exploitation?

Do you choose to shrug your shoulders and say, “it has always been like this”, or “we can never change”? Do you raise the white flag after the latest concrete obscenity dwarfs another heritage site or encroaches on the last patches of what goes for green?

Do you just hold your nose and hope to survive in a nation where the majority does not share your values and ideals?

Do you instead hold desperately onto the last hopes of opposition for change? Do you have any faith in the little pockets of reasonable resistance that occasionally make their voices heard despite our politicians?

Do you really think the bulldozer of progress will finally have a spoke driven in its wheels? Do you believe that a polluted system of institutional representation could ever be purged, or will they completely take over?

These are indeed sad and depressing thoughts, and yet they are inescapable truths. After all, even the prime minister escapes the country when he needs a real quality break.

You will not see Robert Abela and his family squabbling for prime spots on the deckchairs at the Blue Lagoon, no. He has swapped the threatened protected site for the marinas in Sicily.

Then again, there is little difference between one powerboat-packed hell and another. That, too, might be at the root of the problem. The majority on the island seems to be content with – or aspire to – these standards. The urbanised agglomeration of the thrifty middle class – that Dubai in the Mediterranean (but shabbier) – might be the utopia of the masses.

For the rest of us, there is only one alternative. Get out.

                           
                               
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Christopher Paul Sant
Christopher Paul Sant
1 month ago

We were led to believe that EU membership would improve our lives. Yet it only improved established businesses and the life of immigrants who found better jobs in Malta. Life became costlier and found ourselves competing for jobs with foreigners.

Last edited 1 month ago by Christopher Paul Sant
N Scerri
N Scerri
1 month ago

Yes very disappointing response from EU to this Mafia infested government. Why do they still for example pump millions in useless road works which only go into pockets of God knows who together with contractors financing this Mafia rotten government. EU already found gross irregularities in these direct orders and they keep on giving. Do like Hungary and stop EU funds. If not not even Metsola will get our vote next MEP elections.

robert caruana
robert caruana
1 month ago

So let me get this right…. our politicians or shall I say government has screwed up in every collosal way…. and its the EU fault….denial and worst of all justification for all those people who voted for this exact way of life…..

Francis Said
Francis Said
1 month ago
Reply to  robert caruana

At least a well said and intelligent post. Well done.

Anthony Cini
Anthony Cini
1 month ago
Reply to  robert caruana

Yes. When I connect the dots I see that they converge on the opportunities afforded by the EU. What happens in this country is not unique to it: it happens everywhere that goes through an economic bloom. Only here it involves a small country with limited space (not like Costa Brava) and we compare ourselves to Northern Europeans (which we’re not). However, looking at the situation in Sicily, one should not hope for an economic depression to resolve or problems: it will get worse.

Out of Curiosity
Out of Curiosity
1 month ago

The consideration to leave the island is becoming more intriguing by the passing of days, and this is the major sentiment of those who are capable to start a new living elsewhere. Still, I feel very sorry for my Maltese brothers and sisters who cannot even dream to move out of this chaotic island due to their age and lack of skills.

Joe Borg
Joe Borg
1 month ago

Very sad indeed but true. I am only sorry for my family if I leave. You cannot change a nation who does not want to be changed. The 70k absentees do not bring much hope as it seems that their pride overrides their sense of duty.

Andrew
Andrew
1 month ago

I understood that Kristina was suggesting that young people leave to get experience, not necessarily permanently. Though I tend to agree with your points!

N Scerri
N Scerri
1 month ago

No wonder all this frustration registered in surveys. People are so desperate to leave but its not that easy for most of them.How sad. Capcap Gahan viva l Labour.

Pawlu
Pawlu
1 month ago

As 31 year old, not a single day goes by this thought goes through my head. Yet here I am and If it wasn’t for my lack of post secondary education I would have already left. But alas I must reap what I have sowed.

Keith Lewins
Keith Lewins
28 days ago

There seems to be a tendency to blame the EU for our predicament, when it is in fact completely of our own making. At the moment we are a net recipient of EU funds, and will be for some time. Let’s see what happens when we become a net contributor. Our government, despite its huge majority has an event horizon only as far as the next election and act as if they are a one term government. What a lost opportunity – they could implement difficult and unpopular policies, and fully see them to fruition. But no, let’s line our pockets and forget about the future.

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