The Malta Independent 17 October 2019, Thursday

Overcoming hatred

Timothy Alden Sunday, 15 September 2019, 11:00 Last update: about 2 months ago

Despite being one of the smallest countries in the world, Malta is tragically a deeply divided country. I have often written of political tribalism, but that division into two main blocs is perhaps the most superficial distinction of all. After all, we are a country rich in diversity.

Each town and each village holds rich differences which an outside observer would never imagine. Let us think of the differences between Malta and Gozo? What springs to mind? Or the differences between Mġarr and Birżebbuġa at opposite ends of Malta itself? What are the differences in accents, habits, saints and perceptions of the world and one another?

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These are all positive differences to be proud of and to celebrate. Unfortunately, at some point, we started to associate negativity with these distinctions. Instead of celebrating what makes each part of Malta unique, we discovered ways to look down on each other and undermine one another.

I dream of bringing people together, and that is why I find good governance so attractive. Justice is blind. Animosity cannot arise when people cannot discriminate against one another. However, our family-oriented culture, which gives rise to preferential treatment, has often helped us survive difficult times throughout our history. What then, is the solution?

We cannot force or beat people down into accepting principles which are not their own. I hope to continue educating people on why good governance is a solution to many of our problems, but, at the same time, I think it is crucial we practice empathy. If we can stop the hatred from growing between us, and perhaps even reverse course and work towards healing our divisions, then we will automatically exclude one another less from positions of power and influence.

In that way, meritocracy triumphs without an iron fist. If we care for one another, things will arrange themselves automatically towards better outcomes. So, I am listening, learning and trying to understand what makes us different. I will try to do my best for Malta without any form of violence. We are either in this together, or not at all. There is no need for war. 


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