The Malta Independent 19 June 2021, Saturday

Verbal violence

Alfred Sant MEP Thursday, 10 June 2021, 08:00 Last update: about 9 days ago

In the national conference organised last week by President George Vella the impact of social media on the everyday life of our people often came under discussion. As one would expect, a focus was on the verbal violence generated by these media. Still, its relationship to politics could have been overstated. For “discussions” and controversies in other sectors of social life frequently generate the same anger and name calling as when politics are at issue.


Many times, the hard talk brimming with contempt does not concentrate on the arguments that have been presented. Soon these get deviated into insults and personal attacks that have little to do with the issues that gave rise to ongoing disputes.

This does not happen only in Malta. It is a phenomenon that has spread across other countries, from Italy to the US.

The reason could be that while social media are a social communications tool of incredible power, they also serve to power people’s internal frustrations, freeing the latter from all prudent controls. At least the distance which in many instances separates those at the originating and receiving ends of a slanging match in insults, rules out recourse to physical violence.



The abortion debate has been rolling since just before the last elections to the European Parliament. Up to not so long ago, just one voice prevailed – that of the antis: so that all speakers sounded like an echo of the preceding one. In short time though, the pros have organised themselves quite well. Their message has acquired a powerful delivery.

The two sides strive to picture each other from the worst possible perspective. It is difficult to envisage they will ever grant each other the benefit of the doubt. For both sides, the choice is between light and darkness.

I think that a majority of the population still remains against abortion but the minority which is in favour is rising steadily. Yet, there are also quite a number of people who do not view the issue purely in terms of white and black. They will eventually decide whether in future, the balance of opinion will stay the way it is now. 



The sorrow felt by tourism operators as Malta’s green status failed to get the UK government’s recognition is understandable. There are indications that decisions being taken by the British government in this area do not necessarily reflect public health as much as political considerations (not just towards Malta but towards the rest of Europe).

Local tourism firms have seen seeing the horizon at which their receipts could start to rise from the current hopelessly low levels drift further into the distance. One can only sympathise with them.

Meanwhile, one suspects though that the British decision could be a blessing in disguise. For all things considered, the public health situation in the UK is much less than stable or secure. Having to wait for some more weeks till tourists can begin to arrive from there might rule out the arrival of a new wave of viral infections made out of noxious variants.  


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