The Malta Independent 22 September 2020, Tuesday

Links in a chain

Justyne Caruana Sunday, 9 August 2020, 09:22 Last update: about 3 months ago

"A chain is as strong as its weakest link" - Thomas Reid, Scottish philosopher.

In the context of the current Covid-19 pandemic, this wise proverb crystallises the logical sequence of events that have to occur if we are to beat the devastating socio-economic effects of this virus. Adapting to a new way of living that will see us through as unscathed as can be is the only way forward. The literal meaning of this saying is that the strength of a chain is limited to that of the weakest link. No matter how strong other links are, it is the weakest link that determines how resilient and unbreakable the whole chain is.

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Applied to our current situation, unless we as individuals adhere to the rules set in place to avoid the spread of the virus, we cannot move forward and carry on with our lives. As a government we are doing our utmost to mitigate the effects of this pandemic. However, our success does not depend merely on the schemes, incentives, logistical and infrastructural measures this adminstration has provided for the smooth running of the country in these trying times. Nor can the fact that  we have a robust economy,  excellent health services and state-of-the-art medical equipment and capable resources available to us in times of need be enough to fight this unseen enemy .

Team work

What it all boils down to is our willingness to work as a team both collectively and individually. The performance of each team member is important in a team that is empowered by the fulfilment of everyone's duties. Having star performers is not enough - and we are lucky to have quite a few of those!  Unless we all perform equally on our respective role with one common goal, moving forward socially and economically, will fall short. Our past successes in controlling the disease would be futile.

Each one of us knows of instances where team spirit was their winning card. I have experienced the spirit of teamwork and collaboration to the full and it gave excellent results. In many ways in fact, Gozo is a living example of how this synergy leads to unprecedented successes. Chairing the Permanent Parliamentary Committee for Gozo Affairs I have ensured that proceedings and solid proposals reflect the joint effort between Gozitan Parliamentarians and all the stakeholders who have a responsible role within Gozo’s community.

Despite the gradual softening of initial restrictions, social distancing and adherence to the recommendations given by our scientific experts will always be among the many aspects that need to be taken into consideration. Because, you see - we might be following the rules - but at the same time, some known individuals might be spreading baseless rumours, creating alarm, covertly attacking our institutions, inventing dark scenarios and seeding doubt where doubt should not be.  It is in fact a conspirational tactic that deals a subtle but humiliating blow to our hard-working front-liners.

Local and global

As the saying goes, no man is an island, entire to itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main. This adage was written many years ago, however, in today's globalised world it makes even more sense than it did back then! We are living in a world that has inextricably linked us together as human beings, across geographical borders in such a way that actions within our territory have a ripple effect that go beyond our shores.

With a push of a button or a swipe of a finger, we can communicate with practically anyone on the planet.  Science and technology have created such an inter-dependence that social and economic wellbeing anywhere can be unexpectedly reshaped in no time at all.  The pandemic itself had taught us a great lesson that mutual responsibility and respect should be prime factors in all levels of human behaviour - and definitely where health issues matter most.

Action and reaction

Our actions can be observed and judged favourably or not so favourably, in the blink of an eye. We have made headlines across the globe time and again in the past months. Our tiny islands, nothwithstanding their size and limited resources, managed to curb the spread of Covid-19. Our experts were consulted by bigger nations than ours on how to go about managing the disease. The way our Labour government is tackling the socio-economic effects of the pandemic have been noted and admired.

Let us not mar these positive results for partisan and individual gains. Selfishness and irresponsible pleasure seeking have no place in the current transitionary phase. Worse still, projecting falsehoods beyond our shores for the sole purpose of gaining political points will only be an additional malicious attempt to destroy our international reputation and - most importantly - our livelihoods. 

The Maltese connection

We are one link in a huge global chain. As a link we must strenghten our efforts to hold on to the rest of the chain for one sole reason – the common good of all. To do this, as a country we must be cohesive, resilient, responsible and innovative. We must set aside our personal and partisan interests and project ourselves to the world as a strong and brilliant link that is supportive and part of the whole.

As a link, however small, we must keep in mind one of our nation’s fundamental beliefs, ‘Malta l-Ewwel u Qabel Kollox’ - Malta first and foremost. It is the only way we can be the healthy link that binds us all together as one nation for our own wellbeing, and as one people with the rest of the links across our planet!

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