The Malta Independent 26 September 2017, Tuesday

Terrorism in Europe

Alfred Sant Monday, 28 August 2017, 07:40 Last update: about 29 days ago

As it changes its operating patterns, terrorism in Europe is succeeding to massacre innocent people. But in no way does it seem like it is reaching any kind of target that a jihad supposedly tries to achieve. No European democracy up to now has been hugely undermined because of terrorist acts.

Similarly no European policy towards the Middle East and beyond has been affected. If in this sector, the strategy being followed by European countries frequently appears to be in a muddle, this is not due to terrorism, but follows from factors that predate it. For it has always been difficult for European powers to maintain coherent and consistent relations with the regions concerned.

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The prospect therefore remains of repeated sporadic attacks. Many people will die. Their relatives will for the rest of their lives feel a bitter sadness as they recall the massacres. That is what happened when the extreme left launched terrorist attacks in Western Europe during the seventies and eighties of the previous century.

Till they died out, those attacks sowed a lot of bitterness without having changed anything in the economic and social reality of Europe then.

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Summer economics

Might we be needing a separate gauge by which to measure economic activity during the summer? In theory, vacation is a time for citizens to relax and enjoy life, so that later they would be in a better position to face work challenges and the tensions these give rise to.

As they relax and enjoy themselves, not all they do registers as an economic activity. But the very fact they are taking it easy is going to help enhance the output they will be generating later. Without such relaxation they would not be as productive.

So, in the economics of summer some calculation has to be made of the value added that is derived from just taking it easy. As far as I know, up to now no financial estimate is allocated to this input. But it cannot be otherwise: there is quite some value added through relaxation.

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Literary festival

This year, I was invited to take part in the literary festival organised every year by Inizjamed in August. In other years, I had followed festival projects from a distance. This year, having seen them from close up, I was impressed. The organization was impeccable as eveything fell into place on time and as planned. With the participation of foreign writers, a varied and interesting selection of talent from Europe and elsewhere was on offer.

I was impressed too by the attendance. My memories of similar assemblies in the past featured audiences that would exceed twenty only after lots of huffing and puffing. Present for the literary evenings, there were many many more than that number. Actually, the choice of venue – the St Elmo fortress – was ideal for the occasion.

Meanwhile, the pace with which the different presentations were unrolled was fast but not too fast – which is just how it should be. A video documentary featuring Victor Fenech and his poetry stood out, not least because it highlighted very well the linkage between Fenech’s poetic commitment and the defence and appreciation of our country’s natural heritage.

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