'A culture with no sense of aestheticism' | NGO Repubblika reacts to President's speech

On Republic Day, NGO Repubblika lambasted various aspects of Maltese culture that allow for what they say is a corrupt, sedentary nation that lacks a 'sense of aesheticism'

NGO Repubblika founder, Manuel Delia
NGO Repubblika founder, Manuel Delia

NGO Repubblika fired shots at inertia over the political climate in Malta just after President Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca delivered her Republic Day speech.

Founded as recently as mid-November by Nationalist Party stalwarts, Repubblika released a press statement after the President's speech, expressing its concern over corruption, a 'culture of fear' and an 'extreme political polarisation'.

READ MORE: 'Unaffiliated' NGO Repubblika established to fight corruption

"Repubblika does not agree with the fact that a large majority turning up to vote is a proof of a participative democracy," Manuel Delia, founding member of Repubblika, said. The crux of the statement was a reference to a responsible-citizen vacuum, which Repubblika says it wants to fill.

The NGO retorted to points raised in Coleiro Preca's speech, highlighting the lack of indignation at Malta's 'defective practices' in the political sphere. 

"The lack of anger when it comes to the destruction of our countryside is not just because of greed but because of a lack of sense of aestheticism, a lack of appreciation for what is beautiful," it said.

The same point was made with regards to a lack of collective reaction to claims of corruption. "The lack of anger in this sphere stems from a lack of appreciation of how banks function, how money is transferred and what counts in the commercial world."

For this reason, Repubblika called for better educational practices. While Coleiro Preca stood up for the pedagogical field and thanked the teachers for facing 'a complex environment' on a day-to-day basis, the NGO called for a new vision for an education that 'encourages responsible citizens.'

"In the same way, it's not just that Malta has lost its values that we are not expressing our anger towards politicians who are caught lying. It's also because of a lack of appreciation of what truth is, and independently of what we want that to be, facts are facts," Delia said.

Delia was calling attention to the corruption claims that have surfaced under a labour government, even though such claims were still being scrutinised by a court of law, namely the Opposition Leader being investigated over money-laundering and allegations of the Yorgen-Fenech-owned Dubai-company 17 Black being entangled in the Electrogas tendering process.

Delia's tone bordered on patronising as he expressed his wish to see a Republic made up of people who understand the economy, steeped in science to able to determine what is true and what is false, people who understand humanism enough to be able to differentiate between what is right and what is wrong and people who are able to appreciate beauty.

"On Republic Day, we declare our hope in a new Republic of citizens that do not depend on their political parties to be well-informed and to be able to pass judgement, and where information is freely disseminated," Delia said.

The founding members of Repubblika are Robert Aquilina – the brother of Nationalist MP Karol Aquilina; former Democratic Party official Karl Camilleri; Occupy Justice activists Simon Sansone, Sammi Davis and Pia Zammit; the former PN candidate and ministerial aide Manuel Delia; NGO worker Alexander Hili; veteran PN stalwarts Marion Pace Asciak, and Joe Pace Asciak.

Marion Pace Asciak, former PN administrative council member and former president of the PN’s women’s section, is the interim chairperson of Repubblika.