The Malta Independent 22 February 2020, Saturday

It’s my party, and I’ll do what I want to

Mark A. Sammut Sunday, 27 January 2019, 10:45 Last update: about 2 years ago

I think it was unfair that the cake was served only to the Cabinet on the day our Prime Minister turned 45. That cake should have been served to the entire Labour parliamentary group to reflect the real situation: everybody is getting a slice of the cake. Everybody in the parliamentary group, that is, and this has raised questions on how to keep the government accountable to Parliament. At the same time, it is becoming abundantly clear that nation-wide there are sectors that never get their slice of the cake. This has to change. Wealth distribution has to be fairer.

Anyway, it was nice to see Cabinet members have their cake and eat it during cabinet time while we, the taxpayers, foot the bill for their salaries... and the cake.

Robert Cutajar, Claudio Grech, and the Hidden Agenda

In the meantime, some people are lobbying behind the scenes so that the law is changed and certain individuals will never get to have their birthday party, by denying these individuals birth.

I am very proud of MPs Robert Cutajar and Claudio Grech. They have recently stood up and spoken against what seems to be taking place by stealth: paving the way for the introduction of abortion in this country.

I am very proud of them because it is not easy, in these times of ultra-liberalism, to be conservative and to defend conservative values.

I am very proud of them, and of all the other MPs who air the same views, as it takes courage in this day and age to speak in favour of life, love, and duty. Nationalist leader Adrian Delia himself has repeatedly insisted that his party will defend life from conception.

The easily beguiled and the easily indoctrinated believe it is not true that this Administration is under great pressure to introduce abortion. I can assure them, and anybody else for that matter, that it has been the objective of a certain powerful lobby to introduce abortion in Malta since the beginning of this decade at least. I know this from foreign sources, as I was once asked to translate a document from English to another European language and I found this little piece of information. When I see how things have developed, and the agenda explained in that document has been carried out (save for abortion), I have to say it again: abortion is really on the government’s (hidden) agenda.

This week we saw the top of a New York skyscraper lit up in pink to celebrate a most hideous law: the availability of legal abortion up till the moment of birth.

The nonsense behind the agenda

They will use the usual arguments: rape, incest, foetal malformation. It is all nonsense. They use the extreme (and rare) cases to open the gates for abortion-on-demand. Look at the history of abortion in England, Scotland, and Wales, and you will see how a procedure that originally had to be rare ended up being hailed by the National Health Service as a success: “One in three women will have an abortion in their lifetime” proclaims (proudly?) the NHS website. Are there so many cases of rape, incest, and foetal malformations in the UK? (The law permitting abortion in Britain enumerates more criteria, which are routinely abused.)

One has to ask oneself: what is exactly the benefit of being able to kill one’s own children virtually at will?

The philosophy behind the legal availability of abortion is partly based on a Malthusian (mis)understanding of the world – namely, that there are not enough resources for an ever-increasing population and therefore the population has to be culled. Mothers are allowed to carry out this culling, (in Adam-Smith fashion) in the combined name of individual self-interest and the common good.

One finds a simplified form of this philosophy in a book called Sister Apple, Sister Pig by Mary Walling Blackburn. A father is explaining to his son that there once was his sister in his mommy’s belly, but then she became a ghost. The son replies, “I’m not sad that my sister is a ghost! If you kept my sister, you would be tired, and sad, and mad!” When his father questioned why, the son continued: “Because we would be wild and loud and sometimes we would fight. Mama might be scared that she could not buy enough food for us. Mama might not have enough time to read to me, to paint with me, to play with me, to talk with me….”

Needless to say, it is crazy that an Administration that wants to increase the country’s population by importing foreign workers, at the same time wants to introduce abortion... a de facto birth-control method.

Crazy until one thinks of another philosophical explanation behind the drive to introduce abortion. A country that invites a temporary workforce to fill temporary vacancies has to offer the means for those workers to be able to cut any ties if they happen to make them. Foreign workers who do not want to settle down permanently in Malta because their jobs are temporary, cannot be expected to live a life of celibacy. Unexpected or unwanted pregnancies will obviously result, and it is more convenient, in transnational circumstances, to “terminate the pregnancy” rather than spend a whole life of legal and emotional complications.

There is therefore a philosophical reason based on economic considerations: increasing the GDP by increasing (temporarily) the population requires means to keep the foreign element free to leave as painlessly as possible when demand for work subsides. The emphasis is on “temporarily” – once the economy starts to cool down, foreign workers will leave in droves... and unfettered by cumbersome, transnational family ties.

The final philosophical explanation is that there are some people who want women to have unprotected sex and face no consequences, “like men”. This is such a weird approach that one tends to view it more of a question of psychology than philosophy. Who said that men do not have feelings toward their children? It is obviously a rhetorical question, and those who know the ways of the world know the answer as well as the contours and meanders of the mentality that denies the role of fathers in their children’s lives.


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My personal library (38)

Today I will cheat a little bit. I apologise profusely.

I will cheat in the sense that in reality I want to talk about a movie, but this part is usually reserved for books. Therefore, I will perfunctorily mention a book related to the movie, adding that I have bought the book but it is still on the To-Read List and will probably remain there forever, as I have other reading priorities. The book is called Inside The Wicker Man: How Not To Make A Cult Classic by Allan Brown (2013). As I said, I have not read it and probably never will.

But the movie itself deserves a few hundred words. I am referring to The Wicker Man, the 1973 original, written by Anthony Shaffer and starring Sir Christopher Lee and others.

(Warning: spoiler ahead.) It is essentially a horror movie, about a police sergeant who, upon receiving an anonymous letter, travels to the remote Herodian island of Summerisle to investigate the disappearance of a young girl. The sergeant, a devout Christian, is shocked to discover that the islanders practise the pagan religion of their ancestors. Worse, it seems that all the islanders are trying to derail the investigation by insisting that the young girl never existed. The sergeant finally finds the girl’s name in the school register and asks the teacher to explain. The teacher takes him to the girl’s tomb and the sergeant asks the island’s leader, Lord Summerisle, for permission to exhume the body.

As the plot thickens, the sergeant understands that one of the island’s rituals is to offer a human sacrifice to the gods when the harvest is poor. A parade takes place, and the sergeant (wearing a disguise) frees the young girl who seems to be the intended victim of the human sacrifice. But the islanders capture him, and Lord Summerisle informs him that he was the real intended victim of the sacrifice. The community burn the sergeant alive in a giant wicker man statue.

It is a horror movie, and its beauty lies only partially in its rather simple plot. Its real beauty lies elsewhere.

But for our purposes today, the interesting thing is that everybody on Summerisle knows that the girl has not been murdered, and they are all complicit in capturing the sergeant to sacrifice him to the gods.

This particular detail – that everybody on the island knew – is what came to my mind while I was reflecting on the new twists in the Panama Papers affair. Everybody knows that Keith Schembri and Konrad Mizzi each had a swimming pool dug in their gardens because they wanted to fill them up with water. Everybody knows that when they were discovered, the two swimming pools were empty not because their owners did not want to fill them, but because they had not yet managed. Everybody knows that you don’t dig a swimming pool for the fun of having a big hole in the garden. And yet, some pretend to accept the asinine explanation that the swimming pools were not meant to contain water but were dug for some other, obscure reason. Similarly, some pretend unquestioningly to accept that the two big holes have since been filled in for some unexplained reason.

The other detail in the movie that struck me is that on Summerisle, everybody got something from the deception: they believed that the human sacrifice would persuade the gods to grant the entire population a bountiful harvest. On the Maltese Isles, those who pretend probably still get something from the deception. One need not be a rocket scientist to work out what and how.

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