October 2010


Many of us believe that the real reason for the Iraq invasion of 2003 was that “The Americans did it for oil”. Though this is closer to the truth than “Saddam was going to invade the U.S with weapons of mass destruction”, it isn’t completely accurate. It is not ‘the Americans, and it is not for ‘oil’. I would refrain the sentence into “American corporations did it for control of the region

The common citizens of America have gained nothing from this war, or the whole war on terror. Actually they are worse off. Financially they are poorer, and worst of all they saw most of their civil liberties thrown out of the window after the September 11 panic. The word panic is crucial here – the common citizen in America would have never accepted oppressive measures like the Patriot Act if he wasn’t living in sheer fear. Two years later, these same people accepted the Iraq invasion. Once again the reason was fear. The big bad wolf has Weapons of Mass Destruction and he’s going to use them on you. So give us your money to fight him so that you will be safe. The truth is that Saddam did not have WMD’s, wasn’t going to harm Americans, and above all Americans are much less safe than before the war.

Ironically, oil wasn’t the main reason. Surely, some corporations made huge benefits from the vast amount of oil found in Iraq. However, while these corporations (with the assistance of the U.S Government) managed to privatize literally everything in Iraq, they restrained themselves on being too greedy when it comes to oil. That would be too obvious.

That was the basic idea behind the invasion – privatize everything. All the wealth of Iraq, both that was being consumed by the Saddam regime, but also that was common heritage of Iraqi’s is now in the hands of private corporations. So is the new Iraqi government they are attempting to create. It will have the power over the people, but in the end it is always under control of these corporations.

In fact, what happened in Iraq was a free market revolution. Apart from the millions of deaths, the Iraqis also lost not only their wealth but their culture and history. They became Americanized, not in the sense of free speech or democracy, but a free market. Museums and libraries were looted by Iraqi criminals. The U.S military did not lift a finger to stop this. Why should they? Let them erase there history, they reasoned.

Many people see the Iraq invasion as a failure. In reality it was a success. The goal was never stability in the region but more wealth and control of resources for an extremely small number of elite. And that goal was reached, with the tax money of decent, law abiding American citizens.

And the Iraqis? They were happy Saddam was gone, but it was not their choice that all their wealth and culture was stolen from them. They are definitely not happy about that. And, like detainees in Guantanamo who were found to be innocent, they are by no means satisfied by McDonald’s, Pringles and Nike.

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A common argument against introducing divorce in Malta is that it is not compatible with our culture, or as many claim our predominant religion – Catholicism. I disagree. True, Catholicism plays a strong part in this mentality. However other countries which are strongly Catholics like Northern Ireland and Poland do have divorce. I do think what makes us different from these countries is our culture, but it hasn’t got anything to do with religion.

Many Maltese have a belief that they have a fundamental right (or even a duty) to interfere in the lives of others. Be it for religious, social, cultural or whatever purpose, we want to have control on anyone who dares to be different. Or in the case of divorce, needs to be different.

We take the notion of ‘when in Rome do what the Roman’s do’ to the extreme that one has to conform to the standard Maltese stereotype if he walks on this island. Religion is a case in point. For example during the crucifix issue that originated in Italy but caused a frenzy in Malta I frequently read comments such as ‘if you don’t like it, go back to where you came from’. What? With what arrogance are these people assuming that there are no Maltese people who have a different religion, or no religion at all? Will a person lose his ‘Malteseness’ if he is atheist, agnostic, Muslim or Buddhist?

I do not think introducing divorce in Malta goes against the Catholic faith. Whether divorce is condemned in the Bible or not is not the point. The main issue is the fact that the Bible does not put any obligation on anyone not to allow other persons not to sin (assuming the divorce is a sin). In other words, the most Catholic of our politicians are free to vote for the introduction of divorce without risking losing their souls.

Because something that according to a politician’s belief is a sin, it doesn’t mean he is morally responsible if he doesn’t use his authority to restrict it for others. If that was the case, why not criminalize condoms while were at it?