April 2010


Something snaps in his mind. He walks to the nearest school, smiles at the gardener and walks towards a classroom. No one suspects anything that unusual until he pulls out the gun and starts shooting innocent kids and their teachers. Then, he turns to himself.

We do hear about such freaks doing these despicable acts from time to time. There is no way to justify such deeds. Trying to do so would definitely do no justice with the victims. However up to a certain extent it is understandable, it is not completely baffling to find the causes of such behavior. Many times these people feel excluded from society to the extent that they hate it. They live in a world of their own. Their mind is plagued by obsessive thoughts. Or maybe they hear voices telling them to do such atrocities.

Then there is another category of people doing despicable acts. A category of people that no matter how much I try, I could never understand what is going through their minds. Many of these have families and kids, go to church an donate money to charity.

The people I’m talking about are filthy rich, and extremely powerful. I’m not referring to the better off, the next door neighbour who owns expensive cars and a couple of villas. I’m referring to a category of people that are so rich that can take decisions that determine the fate of whole countries, or even the whole world. They may be CEO’s or shareholders who are willing to murder thousands of people for a little more profit.

A few can be found in the armaments industry. While I disagree with the production of most weapons, in conventional business it is just demand and supply. A government or a militia needs your goods and you produce them. It is understandable. The ones I could not understand are those that lobby government (with extremely huge amounts of money) to create wars so that they can sell more weapons. They go out of the perimeters of basic demand and supply. They want governments to take irrational decisions that will end taking up thousands of innocent lives just to sell a product.

Then there are those that invest in poverty – literally. Nestle is one example. How could a rational person come out with such an evil idea: Convince poor mothers with no access to education that their own natural resource (milk) is harmful for their babies. They convince these people who barely have anything to eat that breastfeeding is wrong and give them their own milk for free until their breasts run dry. Then they sell them the milk. If they can’t afford it they will pay with cheap or even slave labour.

Another group invests in poison. Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO’s) are severely harmful. The little scientific research that came out in public confirms that. However there is very little research, or if their actually was, most of the results have been hidden from consumers. One reason these products (vegetables in this case) are genetically modified is for the producers to pay less on pesticides. Why spray all that amount to kill the pest when you can grow tomatoes with the poison already installed in each cell? The pest will bite it and die immediately. For the consumer, death takes much longer. Believe it or not, 70% of vegetables available in the U.S markets are genetically modified. Things have gone to such an alarming extremity that even those customers who are aware of their health still buy them because they have no way of knowing which products have GMO’s in them or not. Legislation is designed to outlaw mandatory information to the customer rather than to defend him. To add insult to injury, well-meaning farmers, scientists or political activists who dared criticise GMO’s have been faced with huge lawsuits they can never win. Not because they are wrong, but because they will never be able to afford it. How can Jimmy the framer compete with Monsanto

There are many examples like these, the fruit of the capitalist system. A system that not only angers me, but also leaves me perplexed. What is going on in these people’s brains? Do they sleep at night? Do they switch off their TV sets whenever there’s footage of the pain and horror they had created themselves?

A few weeks ago I wrote about the arson attacks on people and organisations that publicly criticized racism four years ago. The bad news about that episode is that up to now, no one has been arraigned in our Courts. The good news is that the attacks have stopped.

Yet, once again violence intended to intimidate people’s liberties is with us again. This time the victims are anti-hunting lobbyists, who dared filming illegalities. While one can understand a person wouldn’t like others filming him, especially while he/she is breaking the law, this is hardly an excuse.

However, incredibly enough some pro-hunting lobbyists including the notorious FKNK seem to justify these actions. The hunters were provoced they say. Had this been true, the violence is still unacceptable. I have yet to see a wife beater defending himself in court stating ‘Your honor I had to stab here. I had no choice. She called me a son of a bitch’ The wife beater might actually believe he was right, but to have individuals and organisations agreeing with him in public would be really obnoxious.

Then, the hunting lobbysts came up with another excuse. A certain Mr Axisa (CEO of the Ta’ Qali Producers Group) sprouted out of nowhere claiming that he was recieving complaints from farmers victims of the trespassing birdwatchers. Yet, none of these ‘farmers’ had the guts to reveal his identity. The only farmer who did that, Mr John Portelli, claimed that it was hunters that did most of the trespassing on his land. This is a question of guts because unlike the anonymous farmers who reported their misgivings to Mr Axisa, John Portelli is contradicting people who actually carry guns in those fields, at a time when some of them seem more than willing to use them.

For the sake of keeping our hard earned liberties, will the rest of the population, including hunters who respect the rule of law condemn publicly and isolate these thugs? To show them, and others who may have similar ideas (possibly on a different issue) that absolutely no one could be above the law, worse still when violence is involved.

Footage of the violence: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YJtq1hg_qWM

I’m no art critic neither will I pretend to be one. I actually like the monument in Luqa that has become popular as well as notorious for the simple reason that it can resemble a dick. I don’t like it for that particular reason. My untrained eye sees a blend of my favourite colours as well as the curves. It’s the same reason why I like the design of most Mosques.

However, none of this is actually relevant. The reason why I don’t want that monument removed has nothing to do with its beauty or ugliness. At the risk of sounding arrogant and proud, the reason why I want that monument to stay there is dignity, my own dignity.

I’m agnostic and do not recognise the Pope as my leader by any means. He is just another human being who decided to visit our islands. Of course he is the leader of the Catholic church, and the majority of the Maltese are Catholic. But that makes absolutely no difference. I may be in a minority but that doesn’t make me a lesser human. The pope, my next door neighbor and myself are equal. No one deserves any preferential treatment.

Why should we remove something because it resembles a dick since it might offend the pope (though I seriously doubt whether he looks in a different direction when he pees, worse still if he gets an erection at the same time). If some people and the major of Luqa didn’t like the monument, they had ample time to remove it. Why now? All of this at the expense of making us look ridiculous in the eyes of the whole world.

A few months ago, an atheist woman in Italy won a case against the government because she stated crucifixes offend her and scare her son. This had repercussions in Malta even sending a couple of fanatics in hysteria. The woman who filed the case did have a point, however I still disagree with the decision of granting her money in compensation for having her son exposed to crucifixes in school. We can’t remove everything that might offend someone. What offended me about the whole story was the reaction by some Catholics, both in Italy and Malta. With what arrogance do they tell me and other people of a different belief or no belief to leave our country if we don’t like crucifixes?

In practice whether to remove the offending monument or crucifixes or not makes absolutely no difference to me. They can even replace the monument with a large crucifix. However, symbolically this has a meaning. Yes, to have people who believes this country belongs to them bullying myself and others around as if we got the plague is unacceptable. Removing a piece of art because a mortal like me decided to visit my country is unacceptable too.

“When you spit in the face of a weakling, he pretends it is raining. Does this apply to the president of the most powerful country in the world?”

These are the words of Uri Avreny an Israeli who is a fierce critic of his government when it comes to the Palestinian issue (considered as a ‘traitor’ by Zionists). He is referring to the continuing building of settlements in Palestinian territories, shunned down by the US. He calls it a spit in the face of the United States because no matter what Israel does, the US keeps up its support for it. What many people, including most Americans don’t know is that in reality the President of the United States is a weakling.

The way politics is done in most European countries is not that enviable. One of the reasons is that money is an important factor to who gets in power. However, in the US the situation is much worse. Money is the only factor that gets senators, congress members and Presidents elected. Here in Europe we can state what we believe in, and up to a certain extent this has some effect on the outcome of elections. In the US it is only a couple of extremely powerful lobbyists that make or break elections. They lobby by financing politicians. If a politician refuses to please them, he’s finished. One of the major lobbyists is the Zionist one. A group that also has a powerful stronghold on the media.

Unlike in Western Europe most Americans have not dwindled in their support for Israel’s state terrorism. How can one blame them when the media deliberately keeps them misinformed? And what can those who seek and manage to find the truth manage to do anyway? However we, Western Europeans can. Not only raise our voices, but also influence our governments’ decisions.

I welcomed the Stand for Palestine Malta Movement above all because it is soothing to watch people, whom I proudly say are friends of mine, getting involved in justice for others. I also welcomed it because I wanted Palestinians living in Malta, most of whom have relatives still being butchered in the Middle East, to know we can understand their pain.

However, the more I read about the issue, the more I realise is that our voice is not just one of support. It can send a political message to our government that we care about our Mediterranean brothers and sisters being humiliated, robbed and murdered in Palestine. I can also proudly say that at times our government has raised its voice on the ordeal of Palestinians.

I invite anyone who believes in social justice to join Stand for Palestine’s Facebook group and learn more about the issue:

http://www.facebook.com/#!/group.php?v=info&ref=mf&gid=84041703845

If not us, living in a Mediterranean, democratic European country, who is in a better position to raise his voice against the atrocities committed on the Palestinian people?

Already four years have passed since six arson attacks on people or organisations that opposed racism took place in a period of a couple of months. Doors and cars were torched, molotovs were thrown into people’s houses in a clear pattern. The victims had all spoke about, or published, material condemning racism in Malta.

No one has been brought too justice yet. This is scary in itself. It can indicate that the police have not done their job well enough. Or worse still, that the perpetrators are professionals. It isn’t that easy to repeat a crime six times in a few months and escape from justice.

These crimes were extremly serious. Unlike arson attacks which are a result of simple vandalism (which are already serious in themselves), these were done to cause fear on the victims. Probably the goal was that everyone opposing the perpetrators’ racist ideas shuts his mouth up. Luckily that goal wasn’t reached.

My fear is that people, the common law abiding citizens, do not realise how serious this crime because of their fears of migrants from Africa. Some may think the arsonists ‘have a point’ even if they disapprove on the methods they used.

I do not blame anyone who is worried about irregular migration. However I do want to send a message to these people. The mixing of cultures can cause problems, especially in a small island where its people are not used to it. However, no matter what these problems are, these are insignificant compared to, not only this explicit racism, but also the undemocratic harassment of people.

The simple idea of having people not expressing their views because they fear for their health and that of their families should be immediately discarded if we want to enjoy the liberties we already have.