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frank_psaila
Frank Psaila

Humanitarian rhetoric and cuckoo-killing

Due to its failed polices and lack of effective measures to save lives at sea, the EU is letting hundreds of men, women and children die slowly, on the open sea.

frank_psaila
Frank Psaila
22 April 2015, 8:50am
The Mediterranean has long been the world’s deadliest migration route. It is estimated that over 3,200 migrants died in 2014, and the death toll so far in 2015 is 470 and counting.

Over 220,000 migrants reached the EU by sea in 2014. Migration and asylum are high on the EU’s agenda. We’ve lost count of the EU summits, conferences, parliamentary sittings and the usual rhetoric from MEPs on this subject. Despite all this, the above figures show that the EU has failed miserably in front of this humanitarian crisis and apart from humanitarian rhetoric has no clear-cut solutions nor the resources, neither the effort to save lives at sea.

Its actions towards people in distress does not match the human rights ideals it espouses. The EU has, repeatedly, failed people in distress. Due to its failed polices and lack of effective measures to save lives at sea, the EU is letting hundreds of men, women and children die slowly, on the open sea.

***

As hundreds of men, women and children die a few kilometres away from our shores, we are far too busy discussing the Manikata cuckoo killer, paraded on the media and fined by our courts for having shot and killed a protected bird on the second day of the spring hunting season to notice, and care. Shame on us. 

***

It was bound to happen. With the MaltaToday surveys showing a significant lead for the NO vote, Prime Minister Joseph Muscat could not afford to face the wrath of the hunters, having promised them a free for all in the run up to the last general election.

Muscat was determined not to allow the abolition of spring hunting on his watch and the obvious reaction to the surveys was to remind his loyal supporters that he supports a YES vote. Muscat is hugely popular with Labour supporters, who went out in droves to support the YES vote on April 11.

With their modest campaign, the NO lobby stood no chance against Muscat’s well-oiled electoral machine, although they did manage to convince 49% of the electorate to say no to spring hunting – which is no mean feat, and they should be commended for it. As an aside, I find the bashing, on social media, of those who voted in favour of spring hunting, hugely distasteful.

***

The high turnout registered in Labour’s strongholds in the south of Malta on April 11, points towards another remarkable victory for Labour at the polls. The YES vote was strongest in the fifth, seventh and thirteenth (Gozo) electoral districts – which should translate in significant wins for Labour in these districts, apart from the obvious ones – second, third and sixth electoral districts, Malta’s ‘red-belt’.

***

Should the Nationalist Party fail to narrow the gap at the local council elections, or worse should the gap widen, it’s back to the drawing board for the PN. A soul searching exercise would be the next step, followed by a change in style, approach and a re-think of policies. 

***

Should the PN manage to narrow, even if slightly, the gap with the Labour Party, that would be a significant achievement for Simon Busuttil and his party. It would demonstrate that the PN has started to make inroads and that the changes that took place within the party’s structure and the efforts by Busuttil and his team to rebuild the PN is striking a chord with disenchanted Nationalists and middle of the road voters.

It would, of course, be a wake-up call for Joseph Muscat’s Labour and, hopefully, help put a stop to the invincible approach demonstrated by Labour for the past two years. Of course, it would still be an uphill for the PN. 

frank_psaila
Frank Psaila, a lawyer by profession, anchors Iswed fuq l-Abjad on Net TV. He was formerly...
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