The Malta Independent 25 February 2020, Tuesday

When things seem most desperate there is still hope

Victor Calleja Sunday, 19 January 2020, 09:12 Last update: about 2 months ago

Right now, the whole situation in Malta seems awful. Everything is topsy-turvy, surreal, hopeless and scary. The undesirables, even if some have resigned, are still around and few are facing justice. The new Prime Minister is taking a few good decisions.

Yet the endless litany of horrors – especially of what happened and what is being uncovered – goes on and on. Even if some good news surfaces, so many wrongs are being unearthed that the desperation grows alarmingly.

The economy teeters along with talk of a slump in the real estate sector; foreign interest in the finance industry is dwindling. Our reputation is in tatters and Robert Abela sounds as if the problems that need solving are just cosmetic. Some of his cabinet appointments were diabolical, but while a few days ago I thought he was as clueless as I would be in a bodybuilding convention, he now seems to be moving in the right direction.

Beyond a few decisions by the new Premier there is enough in Malta to make you lose all hope. The fact that Simon Busuttil, arch defender of all things good, is now taking up a top position abroad, is another hit on our immediate hope coefficient.

Should we give up? Should we admit that the forces of evil, even when they seemed to be defeated, are still holding sway over us all? Should we accept that there is no way out of this morass of state-sponsored and assisted criminality, or should we, in these circumstances, still hope?

What is hope? It is not living an only-think-positive life where you feel fine all the time. It is not pinning all your energy on a new Prime Minister, thinking that he has a magic wand or that he is going to make much of a difference.

We are in a desperate situation: no doubt about that. That the road to recovery is long and arduous and seemingly impossible is undeniable. But hope in a better Malta, hope of an end to impunity, does not mean that we expect these changes to happen overnight – or that there won’t be enormous obstacles.

We require a change in all our mindsets: not to think that everything that Robert Abela does is good and saintly but at the same time not to damn him all the way and all the time for all he does.

What we surely need to do is to fight the apathy towards proper governance and upholding of the rule of law by the political class. These goals are hardly easy to achieve.

We will, most probably, experience cataclysmic times when we will be even more disheartened.

In life, no big change ever happens without obstacles and downturns. A few weeks ago we all thought that the castle of corruption in Castille was impenetrable.

Joseph Muscat, who is today a disgraced former Prime Minister, seemed invincible and in total control. A few weeks, a few unexpected implosions, and the man is gone, together with a number of his partners in crime.

This has been a momentous page in our history. It was horrendous because we found out just how deep-rooted the criminality was. At the same time we saw that eventually truth, even if forced out and against all odds, does surface and does wreak havoc on people who seem invictus.

Is this enough to make us hope? Will all the criminals and all those who abetted or covered up the most heinous crime be sent to jail and barred from ever being in public office? Will we ever see a return to normality in this land where near-total meltdown has hit us?

Can we hope that we will now also get rid of another scoundrel on the political scene, Adrian Delia?

If this does not happen – and happen soon – we are going to have bigger trouble brewing. We need a strong Opposition and hopefully the powers within the PN have realised that time is running out fast. But again there is hope and there is a resurgence of faith, not in Adrian Delia, but in the fact that there are others who are trying to convince him that he must go. Now – not later.

The road is long and full of many mighty falls. We need to have hope in what we should all believe is right, in a return as soon as possible to a country we can call truly democratic and free. We all need to believe in this and do our own bit, be ready to show our faces, voice our anger and unwillingness to accept impunity, injustice and state-sponsored, state-abetted assassinations.


Stronger civil society

We need to join civil society organisations, even if we do not agree with everything they do or say. Nobody ever agrees with everything any group does: even in marriage and in family we have disagreements, fights and squabbles.

The ultimate aim of keeping the authorities in check and under surveillance is something for which we all have to work hard. That is why civil society and all its components need to be strong, organised and ready to take all sorts of action.

One voice might not move institutions to action. But one voice joined to others grows and becomes a wave that no government, no authority, can disregard. And if disregarded the voice will grow stronger and make change possible.

This is, after all, what we have seen in these past few weeks. Change was possible only because the few remained vigilant and vociferous; and when the few became an ocean the ones who had ignored the demand for change were vanquished.

Only by creating a new shield for good governance will this country return to normality. If any one of us, in whatever category and aspect of society, whether blue, red, orange or a rainbow of colours, sees anything wrong or unjust, we must not keep quiet. We must kill all the ideas of omertà, the philosophy our two-party state adores and encourages.

Let us all, young and old, shout out that wrong must not – and will not –  happen. Not just when it happens to us personally but whenever we see wrong, let us condemn it. Our united voice will be joined by others.

Let us all speak out, write, stand up and be counted. All of us deserve a better country and, together, I am sure we can find not just hope but enough strength to make change happen.



  • don't miss