The Malta Independent 18 June 2024, Tuesday
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The Maltese anthem

Alfred Sant MEP Thursday, 14 September 2023, 08:00 Last update: about 10 months ago

I disagree with proposals that have been made to somehow change the Maltese national anthem. The music is of high quality as a modest and dignified hymn, appropriate for a very small country.

The text by the Rev. Karm Psaila expresses a concentrated vision, in a way that is admirable by any measure. True, the basis for what is written reflects a Catholic religiosity. But this should not disturb one, including people like myself who is not at all religious. After all, the Catholic faith forms part of our history.

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Nor is the criticism that is advanced about the employment of the verb rule in the hymn at all a valid one. Use of the word does not mean an endorsement of foreign or elitist rule. It refers to a prudent governance of the country, a goal about which it is hard to quarrel.

If something is not broken, we do not need to go and fix it.

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THE IMPACT OF MEMBERSHIP

It is in the nature of things that with the passage of time, once a cause or a policy has been carried forward and implemented, the belief that it has delivered and is delivering the right results becomes part of the dominant ideology. The situation is analogous to what happens when a war is won: the ways of thought and the interests of the victor become a  “natural” feature  of the economic and social scenario in both the victorious and defeated countries.

The same has been happening in Malta since it joined the EU. The way by which statements about the advantages of membership are made by politicians, academics, economists, businessmen, journalists and others displays no critical sense regarding what could have happened  had matters taken another direction. The belief is that the present status quo is automatically the best one there could have been.

Many moons ago, after the British had pushed the French away from Malta, a similar view must have also prevailed.

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CORRECTING WHAT’S WRONG

In the practice of politics, no matter whether you stand on the left or right or at the centre, there is one scenario which creates most difficulties: that of having to admit that you or your colleages have made some mistake – or worse, of having been guilty of some transgression. Such an admission would create internal party trouble and provoke attacks from the outside. Especially if the scenario includes a twist about activity that could be considered corrupt or criminal.

The popular belief is that politicians are so hardbitten that when such occasions arise they will try to see how best to deny wellknown facts or they will just ingore them, and even defend the indefensible.

I disagree that this is what always happens. People in politics... at least the greater part of their number... are not only conscientuous, but they strive to follow correct moral principles when faced with situations of the sort at reference. Still, to damp down any scandal that might arise, they try not to do so publicly but indeed almost by stealth.

The problem is that when the issue becomes breaking news, the less than public approach that is adopted gets to be considered (not without reason) as an aggravating factor.

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