The Malta Independent 14 April 2021, Wednesday

Unprepared

Alfred Sant MEP Monday, 5 April 2021, 08:00 Last update: about 9 days ago

The truth is that the corona virus pandemic found the whole world unprepared for it.

In the EU, for long the expectation was that challenges (if one may call them that) similar to those of the 2008-2012 crisis would shortly emerge. But surely no one anticipated this kind of crisis.

The fact remains that the way by which it has been countered... and this does not apply to Malta but to the world as a whole... has been confused. Perhaps it still is. It is difficult to come to some conclusion about the latter point, since in the statements being made by all kinds of spokespersons, experts or leaders, contradictions proliferate.

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A fundamental problem might be that humanity is under an illusion that it has mastered all aspects of the environment in which it has developed. Even where matters are deteriorating – like with climate change – “man” knows about the problem and is fully intending to repair the damage. The mindset excludes the possibility that we might not know everything about what is happening around us (or that aspects of it might be unknowable), so that we are not in a position where we can forecast – or even less correct – what suddenly emerges as the greatest threat.

We were like so a year and a half ago, before Covid-19 burst on the scene – we are in this position now – and likely to stay that way for many years to come. It is just not true that we are the human gods of this planet. 

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SCIENCE VERSUS POLITICS

Up to some weeks ago, we were being told that science has got to be given the right of way over politics and economics, when decisions are to be taken about the Covid-19 pandemic. Just consider the confusion that arises when politicians intervene to let economics override science – that’s what we were told. Science is supreme: decisions have got to be taken based on its guidance.

It was an argument that made sense and I agreed with it. But these past weeks, as I now see it, even this stand has come to appear shaky. For day in day out, week in week out, we have listened to arguments regarding whether this or that vaccine was suitable for people younger or older than this or that age. Bans were issued as to how and when given vaccines had to be administered, as well as to whom. They were “scientific” bans, I suppose... that shortly after being issued would be reversed.

So, was not science the protagonist in these cases?

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OLDEN TIMES

A comment I garnered about the book of memoirs “Confessions of a European Maltese” published recently was the following: You deal with times that seem to have nothing to do with today, almost as if Malta was another country. The book covers the years 1975 to 1992.

I rather disagree with this view. It is true that economic and social circumstances have changed vastly. The financial dimension of today’s initiatives for instance, greatly dwarfs what used to be then current.

However, when one reflects upon how today’s Maltese and Gozitans make their personal and political calculations (not to mention other factors), one will find that mentalities have hardly changed. I do not need to say which mentalities are at reference.

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