The Malta Independent 22 October 2020, Thursday

10 reflections in semi-isolation

Victor Calleja Sunday, 20 September 2020, 09:20 Last update: about 2 months ago

What a mess of a world. We had it all and we turned it into a pigsty. We did everything to push it to destruction. Glaciers falling, temperatures zooming up, winds and seas gone haywire. All we needed was a virus to totally ruin us. But who cares when we can go on a yacht or on a spending spree?

With Donald Trump still leading the free world into a situation where freedom will become a relic of the past, the whole world seems to have gone totally barmy. Some random observations might make us realise that the future is not just bleak. There practically is no future.

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1.     BC. Before Covid, life was normal. Now, while the virus is still prevalent and no antidote has been found, we live in abnormal times. And we yearn intensely for the good old days when normality reigned. Political skulduggery, corruption, environmental depredation, traffic mayhem, human exploitation, wholesale bigotry were the order of the day. Is that what we want to go back to?

2.     Pre-Moneyval. Had we in Malta still lived in the absolute belief that we were untouchable and no foreign interference was going to force us to put our house in order, Robert Abela and his coterie of crooks would not have bothered to solve even a few problems. Moneyval, and the scary scenario of being grey-listed, made them act. Just slightly, to get those pesky inspectors off our back. Or so, at least, the prime minister hopes. Does he, and the rest of his team, want real change?

3.     The less compromised. The Labour Party, from Robert Abela to the lowliest functionary, is marked by guilt. Guilt of commission or omission. They are the perverters of truth, the ones who did not stand up to be counted when it was necessary. And they are still there, most of them doing absolutely nothing to cure the rot that festered in these last seven years of Labour misrule. The Chris Fearnes and Varist Bartolos of the world could have done something but instead they let the rot rule. If they wake up now there is still a slight chance the whole concept of democracy and rule of law in this country could be salvaged. If more time passes it will be savaged.

4.     Building sprees. The country is facing its worst economic, environmental and health crisis. Yet there has been no proper readjustment of our dependency on over-development. This leads to congestion and health issues deriving directly from the lack of open green spaces and urban planning. Instead of making us rethink strategies for a sustainable future, the virus crisis seems to have turned us into idiots digging our own future’s grave.

5.     Tourism. This has always been a sad numbers game. Still is. Just as with our building sprees, we have not seen any new ideas discussed for the tourism industry, when it ever comes back, to be taken to a level of sustainability. All we seem to want is to get the numbers back to their old levels. At whatever cost to our sanity, infrastructure and environment.

6.     The PN, the once powerful party. Today this party is like a gravediggers’ institution. Is it going to remain Perenially Noxious or maybe, hopefully, it will soon rise again? Tax dodging and dubious due diligence exercises aside, the party might now be in a position to reclaim some credibility. Huge task ahead for Bernard Grech if he wins the duel with Adrian Delia but a glimmer of hope there definitely is.

7.     Public transport. Covid should have given us the undeniable impetus to work on a proper transport scheme to be implemented once the pandemic is history. Instead, with the amount of roads laid out and the never-ending number of cars still left to roam on our little rock spewing fumes, the chances are that, even if we are still here post-Covid, the roads will turn us all into history.

8.     The art of protest. In any other land which saw one hundredth of what we have seen, we’d all be out on the streets saying to hell with contagion, let’s march to Castille. And to wherever there is any Labour Party functionaries and defenestrate them or cover them in paint saying they are no longer needed. Instead we huddle placidly at home. Our only worry is whether we will manage to watch Malta’s Got Talent or if the judges will be cool enough for our delicate character. Why should we worry about politics, the heinous murder of a journalist, lack of justice, mysterious deaths of inmates in jail and the total disintegration of our institutions? Protesting causes friction. Life is easy when we just accept everything as it is and let others do all the fighting.

9.     Arrests and more arrests. With Moneyval looming over us and our future in such a precarious state, and with our reputation down to the dogs and hyenas, you’d imagine the Labour Party would do a thorough cleansing and the authorities would be arresting a few of their own. But that’s like wishing to live in never-never land.

10.                        AD: After Doomsday. We are living through doomsday precipitated by considering ourselves a special people looked after by some lunatic god who spreads a special anti-virus blanket over us. Now we are paying the price but our dear, enlightened prime minister still talks – when he is not yachting away or in hiding – as if we did win the Covid War.

Will we ever see any light? Will there still be a tomorrow to worry about?

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