The Malta Independent 22 February 2020, Saturday


Rachel Borg Saturday, 21 September 2019, 10:08 Last update: about 6 months ago

So, the 55th Independence anniversary has come along.  This time, the lady is rather conflicted about it.   Neither here nor there.  Neither 50 or 60.  She is within that mid-life crisis, with the empty-nest feeling or having to deal with change in a way that is so very unfamiliar.

Gone are the days of family gatherings and laughter, everyone around the table and full of cheer.  Nowadays there needs to be a football strike or something wrong with the internet for the family to be able to come together spontaneously.  Children have left the island all together and have made a new life abroad.

So what remains now of the once confident and busy life spent before things changed?  There are memories.  Granted.  The British Ex-pats and their parties and balls.  The fine hotels, like the Hilton which were the place to be to dance and socialize.  There were the water shortages of the 70s and the school strikes which were a water-shed for change.  We had new governments, some we prefer to forget and others that helped us rise up again after years of division and violence.  A new era started with Malta's entry into the European Union.

But what of the present and the Nationalist party that had ushered in the Independence from Britain?  Where is it now?  Rather than out there reminding people of what they gained and sacrificed to get where we are now, as makers of our own destiny, they are holding a corner meeting and hiding their voice under a roof, where they may be protected from their current reality.

The motions are the same, with the usual events that mark the occasion, but the essential component is missing.  Self-belief as an entity, a political group.  Gone, stolen or lost at the bottom of a glass. 

The driving factor, back in 1964, for Dr George Borg Olivier to have stuck with the choice he made to get Independence for Malta, against voices that attacked him and chided him for believing it was possible and in our interests, was the belief that this was good for Malta and the Maltese and that we could succeed and make a success of our freedom.  He fought and stood for his conviction.

Where is that belief now?  It is almost as though the party is so conflicted about looking back at the time when they had guts and courage and could take on mighty Britain, when they had the personalities to give vision and inspire the people because there is nothing there anymore, no one who can do what is needed now at 55 and find the way to hold on and be proud of its achievements, whilst embracing the new challenge that comes with change.

They, the party, have been made small by their own intentions.  By their own pocket vision, looking only at what could serve them instead of what they stand to do.  Panic and blame.  Embarrassed that they are no longer top of the class.  It is indeed hard to go from being Teacher's pet and first in class to second in class, or as they find themselves now, one might even say, expelled.   How could this happen? Who and what is to blame?

Unfortunately, those answers never came from where they should have.  Instead they came from fear.  All that there remained was loss.  That huge sense of loss of having fallen from power on a fine day. 

With their erstwhile leader gone, logically, the blame can start there and with whoever stood with him.  "But the grapevine replied, 'Should I stop giving my wine that cheers both God and man, to hold sway over the trees?"  "Finally all the trees said to the bramble, 'You come, reign over us!" 

And there we are.  At 55. 

None, though, of all the democratic process and all the progress could have been achieved without Independence.  And let us say, without the UK and the role they played.  That is something all parties should remember.  Elections are lost but it is when you lose your integrity, your truth and your self-belief that you have really lost.  Loyalty too, to country and principle, is something which should never be forgotten.  Without it, you are a mere politician plotting away, failing to become a man or a woman of substance.  You are a nothing more than an empty vessel. 

Time out.  Time for a Reality Check.  For owning also much of where the Nationalist party is now.  Away from the drama and the hype and the conflict.  Whomever of the factions in the party embraces Independence as the most significant definition of it, is the one who should rule.  Like it or not, the time of the bramble is over and the cedar must return. Any efforts of the cedar to turn the bramble into a majestic tree, is a complete waste of time.

It is easy to say that Malta is enjoying a good time now because of the economic policies of the Labour government.  It is also easy to forget that the foundations for any type of economic activity were laid right after Independence and once again with Malta's entry into the EU.  The path to economic progress could have and should have avoided plunder.  It was never intended to go this way.  Plundering fields, sea, air.  Discounting of morals and integrity.  Such a lack of confidence that it was necessary to take over all institutions, the police and justice and spoil it all in a way that people had to die in trying to save it. 

Bombs, hidden offshore accounts, deceit, dishonesty, plunder and only one ideal - that of collaborating with the enemy as the means to achieve, is what we are enjoying right now.  Such achievement comes not from justice and honour but from populist support.  It is the antithesis of independence.  Long may it rule some might say.  These are the best times, say others.  The fact is that due to Independence you are free to decide on whether or not you agree with any of those opinions and how it can affect you. 

Our independence was conceived, not without trials but ultimately without terror and it brought about the new identity for Malta that promised a new future.  It was forged out of the rule of law.  There is precious little left of that. 

Sad go see that now we struggle to come together and say Viva Malta Independenti.

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