The Malta Independent 19 April 2019, Friday

Real people in real Malta

Michael Briguglio Wednesday, 20 March 2019, 12:22 Last update: about 30 days ago

Real people in real Malta: Persons with specific life stories, experiences, needs and opportunities. Persons living unique everyday lives and who share commonalities and differences with others.

Some are not experiencing the best of times.

For example, the sickly man who is almost fifty years old and who lives with a sickly mother in her mid-seventies. She had to sell everything to bury her husband and they are now facing eviction whilst waiting for social housing together with many others in the waiting list.

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The single mother who takes care of her children and her wheelchair-bound mother. They live in sub-standard property which is unaffordable and which they will soon have to move out from.

The single working woman who lives in social housing built a few years ago. Only that its walls are full of mould due to water that seeps in.

The elderly couple who dread the arrival of utility bills. The husband’s only hobby is to meet his elderly friends in his workshop. Will he have to relinquish this to afford utility bills? 

The man who lives close to illegal development which has been facing enforcement notices since 1997. In the meantime, cement is being manufactured in an agricultural area. Dust and noise galore. In the same village, other illegalities persist as the Authorities rely on bureaucratic excuses to do nothing.

The architect who refused to certify bad workmanship, got transferred and had to quit the public sector as work conditions became unbearable.

The young man who lives with his parents as he cannot afford to rent or purchase property, despite being a middle-income earner reading for a Doctorate. 

The elderly women with three-slip discs who urgently requires a carer. And the myriad of elderly persons who are lonely amid the urban townscape.

The activists and scholars whose proposals were ignored or used as photo opportunities.

The Labour-leaning worker at Wasteserv who is shocked at the mismanagement and poor practices at Magħtab.

The separated mother of three in her fifties who manages to earn 1,200 Euro a month but whose rent bill reads €850 a month.

The woman with disability who is given a weekly allowance of just 20 Euro and 38 cents. 38 cents more than what she was given a year before.

The civil servant who cannot speak up due to fear of repercussions.

This is a small sample of the people I recently encountered. Politics, sociology and activism enabled me to encounter many people in the past twenty-five years. Sometimes you can follow up and assist, at other times you feel powerless and can only empathise.

Such people deserve dignity. They deserve to be listened. The forgotten woman and man deserve empathy and action, and not preaching from the high chair.

On-the-ground politics actively encounters people to actively seek the myriad realities today.

For without real knowledge of one’s society, it is difficult to devise politics with a social dimension.

 

Dr Michael Briguglio is a sociologist and PN candidate for the European Parliamentary Elections.

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