Past and future tense

Bringing democracy to a country void of institutions is an exercise in madness

The referendum is past tense for most. Well not for me. For sure I will not be stepping into any of Hugo’s outlets from now on. Not that I was a regular. The man who suggests his apparent riches came from sushi and tapas, sponsored the hunters… and so to hell with him. I am sure he will not starve to death if I do not spend my money there.

Neither will I take my two-day breaks in Gozo for the time being. I have yet to meet islanders who were not willing to sell their soul to the devil. 

They have every right to be happy with themselves, but I will be holidaying elsewhere from this year. And they can snuggle up to any politician who promises them the earth.

We all make choices. 

Well I have made them, and if Joseph Muscat thinks that he can ignore the referendum result by simply making one conciliatory statement he is wrong.

The referendum on hunting, as we all know, was won by a whisker thanks to the Gozitan vote and to Joseph Muscat taking a stand.

But there were other considerations. The SHout movement, loosely knit, couldn’t have known that for example residents at the old people’s homes who were asked to vote in the referendum were open to pressure to vote ‘yes’. In all 2,704 voted in old people’s homes, the vast majority voted ‘yes’. And there was no one to address the issue of what Yes or No meant in the referendum.

The referendum was also peppered with hunters’ pickets alongside polling booths, and Joe Church, the electoral commissioner, did nothing about it.

Elderly people were confronted by hunters – the ones who had never appeared in the campaign – with ballot sheets and an X on the Yes box. Well, most insist that we will return with another referendum in two years. 

I think that there will be other environmental battles before that.

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There are very few people who believe the European Union has the resolve, capacity or the common sense to do anything about the death of so many Arab and African migrants. They just throw money at a problem… 

It also does not have the high moral ground.

If the traffickers: young, abrasive, cruel, corrupt and entrepreneurial Arabs, are guilty of the migrants’ deaths, then what should we say for the European arms factories that sell arms and ammunition to despots, dictators and demagogues.

Truth be said, there is little belief that the political leaders of Europe really care. They do when elections are round the corner, as is the case with Renzi.

When they do care they are mostly worried about their electoral base and it stops there.

I am no great fan of my government’s position. And I say my government, because I pay taxes, if I did not I would not even dare consider it to be my government.

But I think that at least we are trying.

The puerile suggestion included in an EU resolution that the traffickers will be targeted and demolished ignores the core issue. It also means engaging in military missions which even the US has opted to stay out of. Having said that, I really do not know what is the solution.

The comparison by the EU and the Maltese Prime Minister to the Somali pirate crisis is incorrect.

In Somalia, former fishermen turned to piracy, but in North Africa the issue is about millions wanting to leave Africa and the Middle East in search of some normality. If traffickers did not exist they would have to be created.

What do they do when we destroy the boats?

The EU ignores the fact that millions of refugees fleeing war, economic strife, genocide and political discrimination want a better life and are stuck in ugly detention centres.

When Gaddafi and Saddam Hussein were brought down by the West, not as some would like to believe, by popular revolt, the pundits praised the revolution.

I was unashamedly shocked, reminding everyone that the next step would be chaos.

Bringing democracy to a country void of institutions is an exercise in madness.

One does not force feed people democracy, they have to believe in it.

And yet, we had all these shows of bravado by Cameron, Sarkozy and of course Gonzi when Gaddafi fell. It was of course very premature.

When Morsi from the Moslem Brotherhood was elected President in Egypt in a free and democratic election, he was brought down by the army, which of course acts in the interest of the west!

He also faced a death sentence by a dictatorial regime which by the way is supported by the US and the EU. 

Which of course brings me back to the migrants. 

Karl Schembri, a former journalist for MaltaToday, was in Malta this week. He works in Jordan and told me how the thousands of Syrians who have sought refuge in that country are helpless and desperate.

They are not only homeless and destitute but also cannot work in Jordan. Jordanian brothers in arms will of course not allow Syrians to work.

Syrians, like so many other Arab nationals, are treated like aliens by their Arab brothers and the end result is that they have nothing to lose if they attempt to leave and travel perilously for want of a better life.

I do not share the same Islamophobia as many Maltese do, but it is true that the Arabs’ worst enemy are the Arabs themselves.

Of course it would be futile to remind everyone that the crisis in Iraq, and of course the formation of ISIS and the anti-Assad revolt are all a result of the fracas in Iraq, thanks of course to the US.

The same applies to the breakdown of order in sub-Saharan Africa. The economic malaise of these countries, exacerbated by civil war and corruption, continues and the West looks on.

Having said this, we are now patient spectators to the most ludicrous proposal of all.

A short-term solution concocted by our European Union leaders, to hit them on the beaches.

And once we have done this, what happens after we dump the problem of thousands of migrants and leave it to the mercy and hospitality of the Libyans. 

Yes, the same Libyans who kick started a revolution that turned their country into an episode from Dante Alighieri’s Inferno.

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