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Letters: 18 October 2015

19 October 2015, 8:50am
Solving congestion requires aggregate of measures

Much has been written about the problem of car traffic and the use of public transport. 

We need to see why people in the first place persist in using their cars especially to and from their place of work. If we understand the reasons why, then perhaps we can proceed to understand better how to address what is increasingly becoming one of Malta’s major problems.

One reason may simply be ingrained habit. Many are simply addicted to the use of their car. I have actually come across people who have never used public transport in Malta or who prefer to drive to work when a 20-minute walk would suffice.   

In a country the size of Malta with a small landmass, 420,000 inhabitants and close to 330,000 cars on the road, the situation is clearly getting out of hand and at some stage in the not-too-distant future we may reach a point where using one’s car may actually mean a good couple of hours to reach one’s place of work.

Apart from the almost daily nightmare of driving to work in congested traffic, one is invariably faced with the additional ‘pleasure’ of finding parking space. Certainly not the best way to start one’s day at work!

Little seems to have been done to consider what incentives can be created to encourage more people – especially workers – to use public transport during peak hours. One idea might be reduced fares during peak hours – 6:30am-8:30am and 4:30pm-6:30pm.

A few years back, extensive use was being made of a mini-bus service from various areas of Malta to Valletta. For some reason this is no longer that much in use. A similar and more extensive service should be considered, if need be supported by the Transport Ministry.

A car-sharing culture should also be promoted. I cannot help notice the number of cars in the early morning hours consisting of only one single person – the driver.

I am sure other readers can suggest other practical ideas which with a bit of common sense and discipline can be implemented. There is no ultimate single solution which may address traffic congestion on roads, but the solution lies in the aggregate of various measures which together may serve to alleviate matters.

One thing is fairly obviously some drastic measures must be taken before we reach the point of no return.

Dr Paul Edgar Micallef, Valletta

Religion, a purely geographic coincidence

Have you ever wondered why you were brought up in your particular religion, whichever that might be? In all probability the particular society in which you grew up adheres to the same denomination and has done so for hundreds or even thousands of years.

In reality this stranglehold over the mind of society has been extant since primitive times and during all this long period truth was never on the agenda.

Have you ever considered how many different religions held sway over a gullible humanity, before themselves being reduced to the category of myths? But before being relegated to their mythological corner, in their heyday, these religious faiths were performing miracles by the thousand according to the testimony of the many believers of those bygone times.

Despite their apparent diversity that in reality is only skin deep, religions always shared one thing in common; every single one of them claims to be the one and only true faith and this of course for obvious reasons that need no explanation here.

So at the end of the day whoever you are and wherever you may be living, the ultimate factor that determines one’s religion from birth is a purely geographic one with very rare exceptions.

Vladimir Cini, Marsaxlokk 

 

A lawyer was quoted last summer in a local newspaper, as saying that “religions deserve more respect”.

This is a self-serving notion of religious people themselves. They’ve accorded themselves this special privilege which is not recognized by those who don’t share their beliefs.

Far from deserving “more respect”, religion is a divisive blight that poisons everything. The forces of Catholic reaction are working hard to undermine freedom of speech. The Archbishop equates criticism of Catholic beliefs with “insults”. Catholic correspondents are now freely using the word “vilification” whenever anyone dares to criticize their beliefs.

In a long-winded opinion piece, former minister Tonio Borg used the word “vilification” no less than 14 times! In a series of legal disquisitions in the same newspaper, Kevin Aquilina, University of Malta dean at the Faculty of Laws emerged as the reactionary defender of the “vilification” law that could send you to jail, just as in the dark days of the Inquisition.

In its editorial of 2 September, the Times of Malta joined in the attack on freedom by speech by branding criticism of religion as a “an invitation to provocation”.

This smacks of the Church’s obscurantism that would prefer to stifle debate, in order “to prevent the examination of dogmas whose absurdity is too palpable to be concealed” (Helvetius).

John Guillaumier, St Julian’s

Progressive Labour unpalatable to reactionaries

Half-way through their term, the Labour Party turned the right-wing masters of the PN into political nomads wandering in the wilderness, looking in vain for issues to hang onto.

With every positive measure by the Labour government, the opportunity for plundering the national wealth slips that much further from the right-wing paymasters of the PN.

Thorny issues concerning health, energy and social services are being handled successfully. The hands-on approach of Chris Fearne turned the inadequate Mater Dei into a success-story. Waiting lists spanning over year are a distant memory.

Michael Farrugia adequately replaced his illustrious predecessor. He is an experienced, progressive individual in whose able hands the social welfare can only improve.

Mega-projects like the University at Zonqor Point are likely to generate hundreds of jobs, giving further impetus to an already stable and flourishing economy and reduce the already ever lowest unemployment further. Measures adopted for civil unions, gender equality, and reduction of exorbitant water and energy rates has already established the Labour Party as an enlightened progressive party committed to creation of an egalitarian society based upon social justice.

A progressive and prosperous Malta is unpalatable for the right-wing reactionaries and bigots. Hence a campaign of lies, vilification by the puppets of the right-wing reactionaries to malign the Labour Party.

In their desperation the are clutching at straws and making mountains out of mole-hills. These born-again saints who had patronized corruption in the past legislatures are only deluding themselves. After all the, masses are not that ‘simple, Simon’.

Dr Ali Sarfraz, Mtarfa

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