September 2008


On the whole I’m a person that condemns violence, yet I don’t consider myself as a pacifist. The real pacifists are for example Buddhist monks in Burma or Tibet who are not willing to use violence at any cost, even self defence. I believe, especially in the case of military rule in Burma (remember the protests?) that if you are physically aggressed you have a right to defend yourself and your people/community. The monks chose otherwise and I respect their decision.

I don’t condemn (though neither condone) violence during the Cuban revolution since there was no other way. What resulted was a dictatorship replacing another. However, being purely pragmatic Castro’s dictatorship was much more humane than that of his predecessor Batista. A case of lesser evil which as I said I do not condone but do somewhat justify.

The FARC rebels in Columbia, are acting like the Cubans have a century ago, but the scenario is different. Yes I believe they care about the rights of the indigenous and the working class. However today they have other means which are not bloody and more effective. I condemn the violence completely. Yet I may have some sympathy with the workers, the poor, the underdogs who see no other hope than the FARC.

What is common in these three scenarios is that the violence is committed (or not) from the underdogs against the oppressor in power. The case of what is happenning in Bolivia right now is different.

Since Evo Morales was democratically elected the life of the indigenous, the underdogs improved, unlike that of the rich. They are still rich, their freedom to oppress the poor is now restrained. So they turned violent. The rich against the poor for fear of becoming less wealthy than before. Do I condemn this – definitely, with absolutely no exception.

I think there is a lot of hope for Morales in Bolivia. He has the support of many Latin American leftist governments who are democratically elected (with the exception of Castro), especially Venezuelan President Hugo Chaves.

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Once again my passion music has met my passion for pro-environmental, anti-racist left wing politics, this time from a Maltese Anarcho/Punk band.

Subculture started out in Sept 2001 and is still alive and kicking, soon releasing their 4th CD ‘Revolt’. The main brain behind the band is Ray ‘il-Bahri’ Schembri, a friend of mine who literally lives for the music and his ideals.

Their first CD released was ‘From the Garage to the Streets’ where each song dealt with a political issue from racism, to globalisation, to animal rights. The music is Punk, fast and urgent, yet very melodic.

Though the band focused on different political issues, the theme they deal with most is animal rights, teaming up with Kenneth Cassar one of the most outspoken animal rights activists in Malta. Their third CD ‘Resist the Abuse’ dealt only with this issue and from the funds raised, in their typical original ways they produced a short ‘cartoon’ creating awareness, aiming for a 6-7 year old audience. The characters are simple and the basic idea is that animals have feelings like humans.

Subculture also performed in various pro-environmental, left wing, 1st May and anti-racist rallies, and also for a charity raising funds for children in institutes.

Learn more about the band and listen to their music on

www.myspace.com/subculturemt

Hope to see you on Saturday 20th September for the launching of ‘Revolt’

I am one of the pro-divorce lobbyists but unlike some who try to portray us as enemies of the family I can assure you that I believe divorce should be legal, but avoided, especially through prevention.

Some might say that this is already taking place particularly due to ‘Ta Kana’ courses. I’m sure these people are doing a good job, especially by helping couples question whether they really want to be together with all difficulties involved, before they take the decision to marry. Unfortunately however there are phenomena that are beyond any good willing NGO’s capability to prevent. I think the major one is the cost of living especially the rising price of housing, food and fuel, all of which are necessities.

The ‘story’ I’ll describe here might look like a worst case scenario. However these scenarios are on the increase and it is not far from the brutal reality.

Tom and Kate are deeply in love. They have been together for more than three years now and invested their energy on building a healthy relationship with the appropriate dialogue, mutual respect not only between them but with each other’s parents, the other niceties, as well as the occasional argument. Thus they decide to marry; dreaming of a happy life together, hopefully with kids, in sickness and in health till death sets them apart.

They choose the house of their dreams, modest, but sweet and comfortable. Just what they needed. The loan they will have to pay is not so exciting though. Till the age of 65 they need to continue paying this debt, based on their income. But love conquers all and they buy the place.

The young couple set a date for the wedding. Been quite a hassle but in the end worthwhile. Kate was over the world on that day, while Tom, realised she is actually even prettier that he had ever thought. Nothing could break them apart. Two weeks around Europe await them. Two free birds, deeply in love discovering new places, knowing that when they come back they will live together as they always dreamt they would.

Back to their new home, and obviously their old jobs. Both meet attractive people but they barely notice this. No one of them is better than her husband or his wife.

Unaccustomed to married life, they now have to do the cooking, cleaning and other house chores. They get tired, but once again love conquers all. They still find time for dialogue, making love or just having simple plain fun.

The first shock comes on the receipt after their first visit to the supermarket in their married life. Next time we’ll buy only the real necessities they say as Kate kisses her husband before driving to their home, their paradise.

The devil sends his gift with an unaware postman. The bill shows that a third of Tom’s wage is to go for electricity and water, another third already going for the house loan. There must be some mistake, this is too much. Unfortunately there isn’t. They feel stressed, but still deeply in love they decide to waste less. Which they do. However the President of the USA says some nasty words towards the Iranian government, and the next bill is even higher.

They are stressed and not knowing how to cope but they are still sure – love conquers all.

They talk seriously about having kids. Decision taken, if they can, they will. How could financial strain keep back two graduates from having kid. Their wish was granted. With tears in his eyes Tom wondered which was his happiest moment in life – holding his daughter for the first time, or getting married.

8 month old Angela is crawling around the house, just watching her is the ultimate pleasure her parents can get, even though they are physically burnt out. Kate was on reduced hours, Tom had to find part time work, they had to take care of the baby while Children’s Allowance is meagre. But they are happy. Love conquers all.

Barely 2 years have passed. Kate had to start working full time again, and apart from the part-time, Tom is also doing a lot of overtime. The house chores are only up to Kate since most of the time Tom comes home he just showers and sleeps. Actually they always shower together, but this time not for the sheer pleasure of it. It’s because otherwise they have nearly no time together.

The dialogue has turned much into shouting at each other, though deep down they know how much in love they still are. The cause is only sleep deprivation and worrying about coping financially.

An advert on TV spoils one of those few days they both took leave. It was about life insurance. Their parents had tried to help them financially recently but they were all pensioners, could hardly cope themselves. And now they have to face another reality, when old there will probably no pension. More worry. A life insurance each. Less money, less time more stress, less dialogue, less sex, more shouting.

Both are worried why their partner had changed so much, ignoring the fact that it was neither one’s fault. Family therapy? Helped a lot, but even finding time to meet the therapist was a hardship taken from the much needed sleep.

Anyone familiar with this scenario?

Before you point your fingers at us, AD activists who believe that after trying everything, literally everything not only family therapy divorce might be necessary could you hear our pleas?

Could you start seriously investing in alternative energy so that no President, Iran, Iraq or Saudi could keep on destroying our families? Could the culprits of keeping the 53,000 apartments empty be heavily taxed so that housing prices stop skyrocketing at the expense of our well meaning couples? Could you stop spoiling our environment, for which most tourists come to our country? Could you stop being selfish in trying to attract only the rich tourists who like golf, and leave their profits only for the filthy rich? Need I go on?

Divorce or not, may I plead you give our families a chance to enjoy their marriages and bring up their children healthily. There are too many Toms, Kates and Angelas amongst us.