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An online poll on Malta Today shows that some 67% of respondents agree with Joseph Muscat’s proposed push-back policy. It’s just a poll, not a scientific study, however it’s indicative of public sentiment. For the sake of this article, let’s assume that 67% of the Maltese agree with such policy.

One might argue that if the majority is behind Muscat, implementing push back (on which he himself is now backing off indicating he was only using it to threaten the EU) would be democratic.

Thankfully it doesn’t work that way. A majority, even confirmed by elections does not in itself make a democracy. For instance both Putin in Russia and Erdogan in Turkey, were elected with a majority yet both cannot claim to be democratic. The rampant breaches of human rights, especially the persecution of political opponents and journalists make any of these leaders’ claims to be democratic nothing more than a joke, even though they got a majority in the polls.

I remember reading a quote (unfortunately I forgot its author’s name) that depicts all this in a single sentence:

“Would it still be a democracy if 51% of the population voted for the right to kill the other 49% with impunity?”

I think the answer is pretty obvious.

This may sound extreme and hopefully no country will ever arrive in such a dire situation. However it makes a point very clear: Having the support of the majority is still undemocratic if the basic rights of minorities are not respected.

This argument holds true for push-back. For a simple reason. What Muscat proposed was not the deportation of failed asylum seekers (which is completely legitimate) but a deportation that would have been carried out before they even had a right to file for asylum. And asking for asylum is a fundamental human right.

And while I do find the majority on the issue as worrying, I also find them irrelevant. They could have been 90% and still, implementing push back before one even had the chance to ask for asylum would be not only illegal but undemocratic.

It would, among other things, have turned the Maltese government into a very serious human rights abuser that wouldn’t mind breaking my own rights if it’s politically convenient.

Most Maltese know one fact on drug traffickers in prison. The fact that these are, in nearly all cases the small fish in the drug business. Mostly couriers who take huge risk and long prison sentences for little financial profit or drug addicts peddling some drugs to finance their own habit. Most of us know that a kingpin, those getting rich from drug trafficking, rarely ever get caught, let alone convicted.

What most Maltese don’t know is the other fact which is, to put it mildly, much scarier. What many don’t know is that there are people in our prisons who never made a single Euro out of drugs serving a sentence for drug trafficking.

How could this be possible?

Simple. In Malta (contrary to practically all other EU countries and, above all, common sense), sharing is dealing. When two or more people share say, a joint or a stash of heroin they’re not only committing the offence of drug use but also of trafficking – with each other.

This is why, for instance, Daniel Holmes who was never convicted of selling a single milligram of cannabis or that he had the intention to do so, has drug trafficking among his convictions. A charge on which the prosecution had originally asked for life imprisonment.

Daniel Holmes did not cultivate cannabis plants on his own but with a friend. The other guy, called Barry Lee, committed suicide in custody as soon as he came to know what a long term prison sentence he was facing. The plants belonged to both.

When both Daniel Holmes and Barry Lee admitted that they were using the same plants, little did they know that they were admitting to drug trafficking. Daniel Holmes was charged with trafficking with Barry Lee while Barry Lee was charged with trafficking with Daniel Holmes.

The case of Daniel Holmes is one I’m very familiar with. But I’m completely sure there are other people in Maltese prisons serving a sentence on drug trafficking without having ever even considered making money out of drug dealing.

Our laws are so absurd that the following scenario is possible:

A is a drug dealer while B is simply a consumer. A buys the drugs, sells them to B and asks the latter to roll a joint, which he does. They share that joint and get caught red handed smoking it.

A, being a drug dealer thus more street-wise denies everything except for smoking a joint. B, who is greener on these things and gets terrified by the police barking in his face says the truth and admits he actually did roll a joint and give it to A.

With a confession being the most powerful evidence against you and A being street-savvy hiring a good, expensive lawyer, there is the possibility that B goes to jail for drug trafficking while A gets a conditional discharge or a suspended sentence for simple possession.

Apart from the usual individual favours granted to individuals by the PNPL in order to gain their vote, both factions of the duopoly have now immersed in a competition for who’s going to give the largest amount of freebies to the electorate, together with reducing taxes.

 

Well, who wouldn’t love a free tablet for his kids, a thousand Euros in his bank account, more sick leave, while having his electricity bill and his taxes reduced?

 

Some people are easily duped by this Father Christmas politics but others choose to use their mind and think. Needless to say I’m appealing to the latter who will definitely be asking the million dollar question: Where is the money coming from?

 

Those who love to think and analyse will immediately realise that the magic solutions such as “25,000 new jobs”, “the tablets will generate a lot of employability through education” and “your electricity bill will go down in a short time” are just pies in the sky.

 

There are, of course ways where we can significantly increase the country’s finances by cracking down tax evasion and benefit abuse (both measures which Alternattiva Demokratika supports wholeheartedly) as well as taxing land speculation which the PNPL choose to ignore.

 

But the truth is that quick-fix measures that will make our economy flourish in as short time, especially amid economic crisis, don’t exist.

 

In other words in the short and not-so-short run, this bazaar way of doing politics will only result in one or more of the following:

 

 

  1. The promises are not delivered and people will be disappointed

 

  1. New taxes which aren’t included in the PNPL’s electoral programmes

 

  1. Bankrupting the country

 

 

I feel sure that no rational voter finds these option desirable.

One of the issues Alternattiva Demokratika has been harping on for a long time is the complete lack of regulation and transparency on party financing. Needless to say, we were completely ignored by both sides of the PNPL. It doesn’t suit any side to disclose who the contractors financing their party (thus pulling the strings) are and how much they are paying them. Or to have any law that regulated these payments.

 

There have been contractors who have even admitted in the open that they finance both parties – equally!

 

Which is why I had to put my glasses on and take a second look when I read this on the times:

 

“Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi this morning again asked where Labour is getting its electoral campaign funds from, saying it must have already spent €1m in the campaign”

 

He’s right, mind you. But you really need to have a cheek to ask this question when you lead a party that has consistently avoided any kind of law on transparency and regulation!

Muslim extremists in Europe are a problem. They should be treated as such and I, for one, completely disagree with apologizing for their excesses in the name of cultural relativism.

They can’t be integrated into mainstream society because they don’t want to, they hate democracy and worst of all, some of them believe in violence and carnage as the way forward.

They are also an extremely tiny minority of Muslims in Europe. (In fact, though I know many Muslims, I’ve never met an extremist myself)

As a reaction to this problem another, larger problem is being created in most European countries: The anti-Islam far right. Though many times this group uses the excuse they’re only against Muslim extremists and not Abdul next door, their actions frequently show otherwise.

Some, like the English Defence League (EDL) take the streets. Their “peaceful protests” usually end up with people getting hurt nearly every time. And the ones who get hurt are never Muslim extremists but anti-racists exercising their legitimate right to have a counter protest, the guy selling kebabs who happens to be in the wrong time and at the wrong place or the police who try to stop them.

Others, like Geert Wilders in the Netherlands take the polls and get elected in Parliament. They do not commit violence personally but come out with obnoxious ideas like banning the Koran. Then there are others like Golden Dawn in Greece who do both: beat people up and contest elections. Once again the victims are rarely Muslim extremists. The one who gets hurt is Abdul next door, minding his own business.

What the assorted anti-Muslim rednecks don’t realize (or won’t admit) is that there is a category of people benefiting from their actions. And that category is: Muslim extremists.

Why?

Abdul next door, by which I mean the absolute majority of Muslims in Europe, has absolutely no interest in imposing his religion on others. He prays five times a day, fasts in the Ramadan and wants to carry on with his life. For him, religion is not a political issue.

For Muslim extremists it’s completely different. Religion is a political issue and people like Geert Wilders, Marine le Pen or the EDL are pretty busy doing this job for them. They may pretend they are angry and chant “burn in hell” but in reality they are enjoying themselves.

Because they know pretty well that if the Turkish kebab guy gets beaten by the EDL, it would be easier for them to recruit him. Because they know that when Geert Wilders suggests the banning of the Koran, they can play the victims: “Our religion is under threat, come join us”. Thanks Geert!

Not only that. Playing the victims also helps to attract the sympathy of non-Muslims. “Look what they’re doing to us”. Some, who would have otherwise been questioning they way they treat their women, now view them as the oppressed rather than the oppressors.

So what should we do about Muslim extremists? Aside from intelligence and security to curb the violent ones, there is only one solution: Treat them for what they are. Stupid clowns with a massive ego looking for attention. Never take them seriously.

And I’ve never seen anyone doing this better than these atheists during a convention in Australia:

Mosta – Robert CALLUS.

The American people are angry. Their anger is directed mainly at the super rich 1% whose net worth is the equivalent of a third of the whole US. They’re asking for more affordable healthcare, housing and education. They are fed up of bearing the burnt of a recession caused by other people, while those same people are barely affected. Hence, the Occupy movement.

One of their slogans says, “Is this what democracy looks like?”

They are right. They have been fooled and betrayed. And if the betrayal had a name, it would be Barak Hussein Obama.

Before becoming President, Obama promised change. Not a superficial one, like the skin colour of the President, but change where it really matters, namely foreign policy.

The Iraqi invasion and the following occupation were based on a lie: There were no Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMDs) and Saddam Hussein, disgusting as he was, wasn’t a threat to the US. Many acknowledge the fact that the main aim of the invasion was getting hold of Iraq’s resources, especially oil.

What many non-Americans fail to realize is that the US average Joe, who pumped billions of dollars on this senseless war through his taxes, has gained nothing. All the spoils of war went to the same elite – the CEOs, bankers and politicians who are part of the 1%, or even a portion of it.

Public sentiment towards interfering in foreign countries has changed a lot since 2003. American citizens are fed up of financing these wars and prefer that their money is spent on them, in healthcare, housing and education.

Obama promised change. As Senator he used to ask the most relevant questions about the invasion/occupation of Iraq. Questions about its expenses, the use of mercenaries and the accountability of US troops. He gave clear indications that he was less interested in overthrowing regimes hostile to the US and more concerned about the health of American citizens.

Yet, three years later, while thousands of Americans are protesting and occupying public space, they are seeing a déjà-vu. Not only didn’t the US troops get out of Iraq, but it’s very likely that Iran will be invaded. The threat this time is nuclear weapons. The public is sceptic. They have been fooled too many times. They refuse to finance another war for the benefit of the 1% and their priorities are paying their bills, continuing education and feeling safe that the state will take care of them if they get ill.

They are also angry, very angry. This is not democracy; this is a farce. They voted for a Democrat who became a Republican once he got elected. Their protests were met with police brutality with the excuse of protecting the “general public”.

The similarities between their “democracy” and a totalitarian state are increasing by the minute. And they definitely don’t want this. How can one blame them?

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