The Malta Independent 22 January 2020, Wednesday


Alfred Sant MEP Monday, 21 October 2019, 08:00 Last update: about 3 months ago

I took part in a seminar organized by the European Parliament about harassment at the workplace. The same Parliament had by resolution decided that all MEPs should attend the seminar to ensure they would know how to constrain harassment, even at the Parliament, where in recent years, scandals have lit up.

Still the attendance at the session to which I went stood at 4!


I must admit I thought I would be bored. Instead, I found the session was very interesting and regretted having to leave a bit early. The discussion focussed primarily on the psychological harassment that frequently takes place in offices, factories, schools, you name it...

...There’s someone at work who for one reason or another, just does not like somebody else. Deploying micro gestures that quickly get tougher unless they are strongly rebutted, such gestures seek to embarrass, humiliate, confuse...

It’s not just that the activity of whoever is victimised in this way gets disrupted. More, a crisis of self-confidence ensues. Many times it triggers the victim’s decision to exit the job.

Most instructive was the reply that the expert conducting the session gave to the question: What motivates the conduct of the person responsible for the harassment?

Straight off she replied: There’s always only one motive. Jealousy.



In international relations, developments in Syria will be for long years throwing shadows over future political and diplomatic affairs. They raise profound issues which have always been central to the discourse between nations.

Consistent diplomatic practice and actions in the framework of agreements in force during the recent past, had converged towards acceptable answers.

Still, in such a context, to what extent can you trust your own allies? What can be done to ensure that the support they say they’re ready to extend, will actually be implemented during future emergencies? If they decide to withdraw such support, will they give prior warning?

President Trump’s way of doing things, disruptive as it is in all senses of the word, has again triggered these questions and others. As with a knife, they have cut through to the heart of how, up to now, modern alliances were structured on a long term basis.



We seem to lack a single voice able to lay down how Maltese as a language should be safeguarded.

But from what?

From being overwhelmend by speeches and scripts that are full of errors. From being spliced into other languages, mostly English, by which it would become pidgin or worse. From falling into oblivion.

Actually, who is best placed to defend the Maltese language? Intellectuals? Cultural activists? Teachers? Families which still use Maltese in their everyday activities? Journalists and communications outlets?

Among all these, few seem to have a clear vision as to how the usage of the national language can be effectively reinforced.

To complicate matters then, the practice of the Maltese language is being greatly affected by how people express themselves in “Maltese” on social media. There, the condensed expression that is shorn of grammatical constraints is itself creating new versions of the language. Surely we’ll soon get the first novel written right through in facebook Maltese.

Before we go all out to defend Maltese as a language, better make sure which language we are doing this for.  


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