The Malta Independent 24 January 2022, Monday

Established rights

Alfred Sant MEP Monday, 29 November 2021, 08:00 Last update: about 3 months ago

It should be unacceptable that when citizens’ rights in a democracy have been established -- meaning that they have been given full legal recognition -- they then get revoked by political decision. Such things happen in a dictatorship like the Talibans’ who after they came to power, revoked rights that women had acquired under the previous regime.

But similar developments happened recently in the US state of Texas and in Poland with regard to abortion, which previously was legal subject to certain conditions. Now, following changes in the law, in the two cases, abortion has been rendered almost impossible. It seems to me that whether one agrees or disagrees with abortion, such changes undermine the “unwritten” understanding that binds civil society and keeps it coherent.

When “new” or “different” ways of living and behaving have been legalised, to revoke them goes against the spirit of tolerance and fair play that gives stability and tranquillity to a society. Along this road, even other progressive transformations that are now considered as normal, like religious tolerance, could end up being considered as disposable.



Slowly, since the days of the so-called “industrial” revolution, humanity got used to thinking that everything in our surroundings could be brought under human control. We could get to the point of managing the circumstances defining our society and environment and thereby plan the present and the future. For as long as major global wars were avoided, this would continue to generate greater wellbeing and stability.

However lately there have been developments which are pulling us away from this belief. In the manner by which it has affected comtemporary society, terrorism has greatly splintered the sense of security that had become prevalent. “Irregular” immigration has been causing major disruptions in political and social collaboration and among populations.

On a wider front, climate warming --  triggered by human activity -- is still way out of control. And the arrival of Covid-19 has further dampened man’s confidence in the assumption that we are fully equipped with the tools necessary to ensure personal security and protection.

Do we still have control over what happens around us, or did such control ever exist?



The project for a renewal of Europe’s common agricultural policy, at least covering the next seven years, is moving forward. A week ago, it got the acceptance of the European Parliament. But it is still being roundly criticised by representatives of farmers and the larger and smaller companies which process agricultural foods; as well as by interests which lobby for green policies that really protect the environment and reduce climate warming.

It is being claimed that too many burdens are being placed on the production of meats and vegetables in Europe, so that they will be losing competitiveness on international markets. On the other hand, the claim is that in solving the problem of how different countries will conform to their obligations in order to satisfy climate warming commitments, too much leeway about decisions has been left to national authorities for the measures that will be adopted to have any real effect.

As it happens, this looks like an area where everybody is right and everybody is wrong.


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