The Malta Independent 19 April 2024, Friday
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Monuments of the past

Alfred Sant MEP Monday, 1 April 2024, 08:00 Last update: about 18 days ago

One sympathises with the complaints of people who totally dislike the prominence given in our midst to monuments which reflect Malta’s colonial past. Similar reactions have been registered in various countries with respect to the monuments they have inherited which appear to commemorate ex-colonisers and their endeavours that flourished in conditions of slavery and racial discrimination.

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The problem, as some have remarked, is that the greatest part of Maltese history occurred under foreign rule. It is difficult to erase all the monuments and remains they left behind them without losing all track of how these islands developed over the centuries. With their “evil” and their “good”, whether we want to or not, the memory of these colonisers/rulers is part of our national identity.

On the other hand, it is also true that practically nothing has been done to promote a better knowledge and understanding of Maltese individuals who sought to create an awareness of the experience of the Maltese people caught in the grip of colonial or foreign rule. The personalities who are usually mentioned are dun Mikiel Xerri, Mikiel Anton Vassalli and from a different perpective, Manwel Dimech. But do others exist? Of course they do. 

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EUROPEAN FINANCES

How many objectives is the EU really setting out for itself?

It wants to follow up till the end the strategies it has launched these past years to promote the digitilisation of Europe and on the basis of the Green Deal, to combat climate warming. It wants to enhance aids to farmers who are being badly hit by various aspects of its policies. It wants to maintain and increase the support it is giving to the Ukraine in the latter’s war with Russia. It wants to continue to pay for an immigration policy about which there is still no consensus.

And while still running its other “regular” infrastructural and social programmes, it wants to launch a defence policy that includes huge new commitments for the purchase of armaments and munitions plus more equipment for larger armies.

But where is the money for all this going to come from?

Ideas for finding new sources of own funds for the European budget are not thick on the ground. In order for all the listed projects to be financed, quite likely the solution will be to cut on the commitments for existing projects in order to be able to finance all the extra ones with the savings.

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ARE WE?

During the past weeks, debates about the future of Maltese  neutrality have been on the rise. This was inevitable, given the EU’s plans to develop into a defence union.  As a member of the Union but also a neutral country as per its constitution, Malta is being placed before a dilemma.

What will  the island’s role be in the scenario being set up in Brussels? What should be our position when matters relating to defence are raised within the Union?

As far as I’m concerned and this applies to others who share the same view, there can be no doubt that we must at all costs defend Malta’s neutrality.  What would be the best way of doing so? – that’s the question to which we must give a clear response.

Another question that must be faced is the following: As of now, have we defended and are we defending the status of neutrality in the best possible way?

                       

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