The Malta Independent 15 April 2024, Monday
View E-Paper


Alfred Sant MEP Thursday, 16 March 2023, 08:00 Last update: about 2 years ago

As shown by the controversies (most of them interesting and provocative) that continue about colonialism, this subject is still considered as important by the former colonised and the former colonisers in order for them to understand better how it affected their identity and indeed their present sitaution. I doubt whether a consensus will ever be reached regarding the interpretation that should be given to this phenomenon.


Nevertheless I find two aspects of current debates quite curious. Firstly not so much attention is given to neo-colonialism – or how colonial ties stayed active and alive even after the independence of a colony was declared and the occupying power had withdrawn. There was a time when neo-colonialist issues had much greater salience than they have today.

And secondly, there is one feature of colonialism that defines its basic character: it is a “product” of Europe. The latter pretended it could aspire to rule over a major chunk of the world due to its technical, material and “cultural” superiority. 



In the efforts to control illegal immigration, I understand (though I disagree with them) why certain European counttries keep back from accepting to share burdens with those member states which find themselves at the outer frontier of the EU. I understand the arguments and commitment of activists who sail in small ships in the Mediterreanean to rescue from death by drowning immigrants who are crossing the sea in defective boats; even if I believe such efforts are misguided.

What I fail to understand is how little has been done up to now to counter human traffickers. I do not take at face value the claims that it is difficult to obtain detailed information about what is going on in this sector.

Some years ago, in the totally disturbed state of Libya then, “Western” intelligence found it possible to obtain detailed information about where Colonel Ghaddafi was hiding while moving from location to location. But today, problems are being encountered to identify and control traffickers who are causing terrible deaths at sea.



For thirty years and more you could have heard this claim  doing the rounds: Yes, it is necessary for contractors in the building industry to be licensed, otherwise they should not be allowed to operate.

Yes, everybody agrees about how necessary this measure is – architects, “bona fide” contractors, government authorities, NGOs involved in environmental issues, and the rest. Nothing has been done as of now. Except that there has been much rhetoric when some tragic case hits the headlines or when glaring instances get revealed of flagrant abuses in the implementation of building regulations. Polemics become the order of the day, statements that drip holiness are made by one and all, the polemic fades away and is forgotten and nothing gets done.

I hope that this time round it will be different, but I remain sceptical. The truth is that despite all that is proclaimed, for one reason or another, in order to launch the necessary reforms in this sector, almost nobody has the genuine commitment to deliver that must include a preparedness to make enemies.                  


  • don't miss