The Malta Independent 19 October 2019, Saturday

Racist murder: We need a moment of national reflection – Joseph Muscat

Sunday, 19 May 2019, 13:35 Last update: about 6 months ago

Prime Minister Joseph Muscat said on Sunday morning that the recent racially-motivated murder should serve as a one-time, historic opportunity for the country to plant a tree of hope.

Speaking in Qormi, Muscat referred to the murder of Lassana Cisse Souleymane, saying it was a condemnable incident that does not reflect the country or its people.

“Every single one of us should be part of this change,” the PM said. “Yes, there will still be problems with integration, but through integration we will not allow similar situations in the future.”

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He spoke of how other countries had allowed the segregation and ghettoisation of black communities, leading migrants to resent, instead of love, the countries that had accepted them.

“Those who come here ...  we have to understand their culture but they have to understand ours as well. We have to understand each other.”

This is a national tragedy and there needs to be a moment of national reflection on what happened, Muscat said. “We need to turn the page, for the sake of our children. We need to be the change. We first have to stop repeating what others say, and stop smiling at those who speak in a racist way.”

In a clear reference to Opposition Leader Adrian Delia, Muscat appealed against the “dangers” of of those who, in a finer way, have started a narrative of us and them.

He also said that Delia, when he spoke about the case on Saturday, had tried to politicise the issue.

The PM said this incident showed how the institutions, which are so many times attacked and shown a lack of respect by the Opposition, are serious and efficient, and the investigations had led to the arrest of the perpetrators. “In a time like this, people need courage, not division and pessimism.”

He also referred to the thousands of Maltese families that had adopted ‘black’ children. “We love all our children equally and want them to grow up to love this country, not with hatred in their hearts.”

Muscat said his vision for our children is for all of them to do well, also referring to the importance of creating jobs. He also spoke about the work the government has done in the fields of social housing, pensions and minimum wage.

Speaking about the cheques sent to all homes in recent weeks, Muscat said these were to make up for the injustices suffered by the workers.

On Tuesday, the cabinet will approve a new scheme to help workers who had suffered injustices, he said.


PN statement

Reacting, the PN said Joseph Muscat has still not contemned his Head of Communications, who had tried to politicize the murder of an innocent foreigner.

This, it said, showed that the PM was using politics of convenience. First he had called for push backs and saying that foreign workers were only suited to pick up rubbish but then failed to reprimand his colleague when he tried to politicized a case of national importance.

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