The Malta Independent 30 May 2020, Saturday

Obama speech

Alfred Sant MEP Thursday, 21 May 2020, 08:00 Last update: about 9 days ago

Ex-US President Barack Obama still possesses this huge skill by which in a few minutes, he can present the panorama for a political strategy that carries the thrust of a an adventurous, vibrant and courageous project.

His address of hardly more than seven minutes to new graduands at American universities which largely service “black” students, excelled on all levels – the emotional, as well as by way of a closely cut and clear analysis, combined with a political realism that pulsated with vision. All delivered calmly, yet with a tone that built on optimism.

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He congratulated the graduands while commiserating with them for having had to finish their studies in such exceptionally difficult circumstances. He reminded them that their generation is in the best position to reduce the inequalities with which the black community in the US is still burdened. He advised them as to how this could be done. He emphasized that blacks could not succeed in their aims for reform if they remained on their own. They need to participate in a wide alliance of all the oppressed.

In a sentence or two, he demonstrated how poor an opinion he has of the actual US administration. That too was well done.

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LONG NEGOTIATIONS

Clearly, the EU had, and still faces, big difficulties as it seeks to take major radical measures that as a Union, are needed for Europe to recover economically from the enormous downturn created by corona virus.

We still have to see whether it can succeed in this effort even after the agreement reached earlier this week between Merkel and Macron. European Commission President von der Leyen has promised that by end May she will present concrete proposals that should have a significant impact.

Of one thing we can be sure: von der Leyen will be to the last minute, in contact with the different governments to nail down a programme that ensures close to a consensus. As a German, she was best placed to convince the Merkel government to alter the stand it has taken, by which up to now, the far reaching intiaitives that the French and the Spanish (not to mention the Italians) wanted to trigger, had gotten stalled.

The question remains: will von der Leyen reach agreement with other governments... or will there be more weeks of waiting and waiting till Europeans agree about how to launch economic recovery for all?   

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NO SPORT?!

Thinking about this, I am surprised by the people I get on the phone or speak to otherwise, as they make contact to describe what has most afflicted them in the past weeks.

No, it is not the confinement to their home, preventing them from seeing family and friends. Nor is it that they cannot go for a meal outside their home. Or that they are putting on weight as they fail to do the exercise they were used to doing previously and eat more than they should, as they try to find ways by which to ease off.

What troubles them most is that they cannot see football on TV any more... or whatever else is their preferred sport. Among the latter, boxing and car racing get mentioned the most. However the supreme draw is football.

One can understand therefore how in Roman times, the adage went that to sustain civil peace and contentment in the community, the state needed to ensure that bread and circuses remained available.  

 

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