Mind their language

Robert Abela is obsessed with prosperity. In October 2021, he promised a new prosperity for Malta. This month, speaking in New York at the UN, he spoke of the need for “peace, equality and prosperity”.

Abela was accompanied by a sizeable entourage on his trip to the US, presumably in an effort to boost the chances of prosperity for the Maltese islands. I did read that Malta has signed an agreement with Antigua and Barbuda to provide consultants on… wait for it… water conservation.

Think of that agreement when you witness the next floods after the slightest bit of rain. Still, there’s an agreement and it will probably count towards some development balance that Malta is involved in.

Back to prosperity, though. As UN speeches go, Abela’s was right up there with the Miss World candidate style of “I wish there were peace in the world”, only with worse diction. His intervention pales in comparison to that of Luxembourg’s Prime Minister Xavier Bettel, who gave a grounded, passionate talk on the world’s future.

Abela might believe that aspiring for prosperity works even beyond the shores of Malta and Ragusa. He might have a dream that one day everybody dreams that they can own their own yacht and travel away from the island that has been raped and pillaged into oblivion.

Not that the language on the island is anything encouraging. Byron Camilleri proudly strutted all over Facebook, posting about the raids on migrants to weed out those who are living in Malta without the necessary permits. The heavy-handed methods led to the destruction of property of perfectly legal citizens who only happened to live in an area blacklisted by the authorities.

The enthusiastic action of the Cleansing Division – I kid you not, that is the name tagged by Byron – destroyed structures faster than you could say “abusive construction”.

Elsewhere, Robert Musumeci was weaving his magic to get the Planning Authority to sanction major illegalities in a club complex in Iklin. The planning directorate had recommended a refusal, but this was overturned, presumably thanks to the very convincing arguments by the nation’s foremost law-chitect (that’s a local chimera of lawyer and architect, in case you’re wondering).

Funny how the bulldozers never get to make their way to illegalities linked to the prosperous part of the islands.

Byron Camilleri was also busy labelling NGO Repubblika as “extremist” – the second leading Labour politician to use this kind of label after Miriam Dalli. The language of the politicians is clear as they try to deprive organised civil society of its legitimate right to protest and monitor the authorities. The Minister for Cleansing would do well to retract this kind of comment.

It was not only Labour politicians advocating ham-fisted tactics reminiscent of police states. Upcoming PN star in Gozo Alex Borg addressed the Independence crowd and called for “an iron fist” (ponn tal-ħadid) to be used on those who come to Malta or Gozo intent on stirring up trouble. “We must show them that we mean business,” he said.

The PN might be warming up to his newfound Mediterranean entente with far-right ideas. Giorgia Meloni’s victorious party in Italy was carried to power on promises of a new prosperity, iron fists and the motto of “God, Fatherland and Family”. As our lazy opposition tries desperately to find a new self (even by stealing the left’s fist of resistance for its rally posters), it must be wary of the dangers of language.

A whole lexicon has been revived, and behind it lies a very dangerous kind of politics. We should be wary. We should mind their language.


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Francis Said
Francis Said
2 months ago

An excellent article which unfortunately should worry us all. But it seems that our collective brains have been lobotomized.
I always believed that oil is lighter than water, that good will thrive over evil and that we can look forward to a better quality of life.
I must admit that I am starting to question this logic. The more time passed the deeper we end up in drainage.

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