The Malta Independent 16 July 2018, Monday

Paradise is still lost

Alfred Sant Thursday, 5 July 2018, 07:52 Last update: about 11 days ago

More than a year has elapsed since the last elections, but the main cry that the Opposition still seems to proclaimremains focussed on the loss of paradise. It is disappointing that the Opposition and its followers lack coherent themes about which to criticise the activity of the current government while they stay divided between two, possibly three factions, which insist on pushing their separate agenda.

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This is disappointing because any parliamentary democracy needs for better or for worse, a cohesive and dynamic Opposition to ensure that from a longterm perspective, the country is being run in a clear and effective manner.

Just by reading the opinion pieces and editorials of the so called independent media one can understand how even those who try to project critical messages start from a premise set in concrete: paradise was yesterday. The people who are stirred by such a message are clearly in the minority, not least because a very good number of those who ordinarily would have been taking part in this lament, have left to “enjoy” paradise today... among the ranks of the other side. Nor do they seem at all tempted to move away from the position to which they have shifted.

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Trees

That a consciouness is growing among us against the uprooting of trees is a most welcome development. In a dry island like ours, with its shallow soils, we need lots of them. Indeed some versions of Malta’s ancient history are fascinating because they refer to times when apparently the land was overrun by olive and other trees, till the inhabitants who happened to be around then, cut them all down to build dwellings, to create fields and to use their wood as fuel for coooking.

Just as welcome a development is for the defence of trees to be mounted by means of public protests, when and as necessary. However, one cannot be totally convinced that today’s protests are really genuine. They do look like a tactic employed by some political faction within the PN in order to acquire a second wind.

What gives rise to such an impression? Well, it’s the fact that some of those who are now “protesting” were completely silent when the first decision was taken to remove trees from where they had long been standing to adorn a particular place: the Auberge de Castille.

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The owl

I liked a lot a film issued in 1968 about which I had heard much over the years but still had not seen. Directed by Damiano Damiani, based on a novel by Leonardo Sciascia, “Il Giorno della Civetta” included Claudia Cardinale, Franco Nero and Lee J Cobb among its cast.

It features the murder of a small contractor in Sicily and the disappearance on the same day of another man who lived close to where the murder took place. The latter’s wife tries to find what has happened to her husband while the local police inspector, attached to the post from outside Sicily, deploys a number of tricks to try and pierce the fences of “omertà” which screen out whatever has truly been going on.

The film contains some very fine acting though the ending is a bit predictable. It is difficult to decide whether this is the case because we have now gotten accustomed to storylines where Mafia activity comes packaged in plots that rely on incidents characterised by acts of ambiguous violence.

 

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