The Malta Independent 21 April 2024, Sunday
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TMID Editorial: Saleh, Kusi and politicians

Friday, 1 March 2024, 11:22 Last update: about 3 months ago

It could not have been a more contrasting scenario.

And the fact that it all happened in the same week made it all the more surreal.

On the one hand, we had politicians elbowing each other to be pictured with a three-year-old girl who was brought over to Malta for treatment after injuries sustained in Gaza where, as we all know, a raging war is taking place.

On the other hand, we had a man who lived in Malta for 13 years being forced to go back to his native Ghana after it was discovered that he did not have the permission to stay here. This happened after he paid for studying in Malta, opened a salon in Hamrun and was set to expand his business until he was arrested in January this year – on the strength of a removal order which dates back to January 2011. Yes, 13 years ago.

No politician was seen pictured with Kusi Dismark as he boarded an aeroplane after he voluntarily agreed to leave the country.

But politicians made it abundantly clear that they wanted to be seen embracing Selah Hajras, aged three, who was brought over to Malta to be medically treated.

Prime Minister Robert Abela went as far as to go to the airport to greet the young girl, taking his wife with him. Opposition Leader Bernard Grech also made it a point to have his picture taken with the girl. The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Anglu Farrugia, was photographed with her too.

Needless to say, these photos ended up pasted on the social media and sent to media houses – there’s no better photo opportunity for a politician to be seen smiling at a child.

How pathetic.

It was not the same for Kusi Dismark. Abela did not find the time to go to the airport to see him off, possibly to give him a word of encouragement as Dismark uprooted all he had created in Malta for 13 years to start a new chapter in his life. Grech and Farrugia did not have any pictures taken with him either.

We are all for showing solidarity and offering assistance, medical or otherwise, to people (not only children) who are injured in a war, irrespective of their provenance or nationality. It was good to see Malta opening its arms to receive an injured girl and help her overcome the ordeal she has been through at such a young age.

What makes us cringe is how such instances are treated by politicians, who see them only as a way to promote themselves.

What makes us also angry is how and why the authorities could not find a way for Kusi to remain in Malta. His story is the perfect example of the kind of integration politicians speak about when they address migration issues. Yet, Kusi’s story tells us that there is a huge difference between what politicians say and what they do.

It has been said that Kusi will not face a ban from entering Malta should he decide to come back.

If he does, we expect Abela to be at the airport to greet him.

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