The Malta Independent 30 September 2022, Friday
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As in football

Alfred Sant MEP Monday, 19 September 2022, 08:00 Last update: about 11 days ago

The worst that could happen would be for the war in the Ukraine to come to be  considered like some football game, during which one side or the other feels happy or down according to whether an army has moved closer to or away from some frontier or other.

That is how the Vietnam war “developed”, with fighting and attacks that swung from one end of the country to the other. This went on for long years. Which is what happens with any distant war that is seen as never ending. The Ukraine is not so faraway as Vietenam and people were shocked when the Russians invaded it as war had been brought back to Europe.

But with time, except for the consequences that have affected the energy sector (and except for inflation)  the war was soon perceived as having drifted farther away. Even some reports about it began to give the feel almost of a sports related competition. Nothing makes the tragic activity that is a war more inhuman and absurd than when people “from outside” consider it as a process that goes through stages which we applaud according to who happens to be inflicting the most damage on the other side.



Reading as an activity has become an anachronism, at least reading books and newspapers. Most reading that takes place is done off electronic messages and texts that get posted on the internet, even by way of news. This has transformed reading habits into sessions of short bits and pieces.

I could understand this better from the way by which a journalist recently explained the difference between writing for the internet and writing for a newspaper, or even for radio and TV. Texts for the latter can be spread over a longer span, compared to what is required for an internet piece.

So people have become accustomed to read only what takes a maximum of one to two minutes to go through. Length makes for boredom and confusion. The problem is that with all the goodwill in the world, not all topics can be packaged, explained or understood in one byte.



 It is a good thing (I believe) that a correct political equilibrium has been finally discovered regarding how Malta’s Independence should be regarded by all political quarters.

We have come to consider it as obvious that it was a major political and constitutional event and changed fundamentally the character of the Maltese state. Indeed, it established the Maltese state in the modern sense of the word, for previously it had been a dependent or feudal territory. Whether this transformation could have been achieved in a better way or whether it was implemented in a sub-optimal manner remains subject to legitimate discussion without erasing its real meaning.

In the future, new generations will have to discuss how best to commemorate the event -- surely not with the strong triumphalism of one side, and surely as well not with the disdain of the other. Unless that  is, the roll towards European federalism that some still aspire to, does not end up leaving the Maltese islands practically voiceless, as part of a European pasta pie...



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