All has been said and done and Tonio Borg is the new Health Commissioner. He was elected by a democratic vote from MEPs themselves elected by EU citizens. I disagree with his political values especially on immigration and LGBT issues and if I was an MEP I would have voted against him taking the post. I’ll make no secret out it. (That doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate the good things in Dr Borg, such as the fact that during his entire political career he’s never been tainted with any hint of corruption and his good handling of the Libya crisis)

Some Maltese cheered, not necessarily because they agree with Tonio Borg’s values but due to coming from the backwards insular mentality the PNPL kept this country in. I win you lose. Alee-oo Alee-oo. Nivvota lejber halli nghajjru lil ta Gonzi wara l-elezzjoni! I think you got the dripth.

Pathetic, but it’s not these kind of people that bothered me.

The ones that bothered, I dare say even offended, me are the ones who called us Greens as well as the Liberals and some Socialists “intolerant” for opposing Tonio Borg.

Intolerant?

Commissioners such as Tonio Borg are not elected by EU citizens. They are nominated by a Prime Minister while the MEPs have to decide whether they approve them or not. Yet, like the MEPs and sometimes even more, the Commissioners are going to take political decisions on behalf of the European Union’s citizens.

In other words when they vote for a Commissioner, the MEPs have a duty to represent those who voted for them. Otherwise we can throw EU democracy out of the window – and prove the Eurosceptics right.

And this is exactly what we’ve done. The European Green Party (EGP), in complete agreement with Alternattiva Demokratika, felt that Tonio Borg could never represent the “Green voter”. Thus they voted against his nomination.

And lost. Tonio was voted in by a majority of the MEP’s. And like every democratic party we accepted the defeat. Like every democratic party, the EGP will work with the elected Dr Borg to what they believe is the best for the citizens of the European Union.

What’s intolerant about that?

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Alternattiva Demokratika has many times claimed that there only cosmetic difference between the two large parties, hence the term PNPL. On immigration, this couldn’t be more true.

Many have the wrong impression that the PL are the tough guys on immigration while the PN are for tolerance, respect for human rights and Christian values. Bullshit. The only difference is they way they talk about it, the package. The policies are exactly the same.

The only “difference” is that while the PN talk about voluntary burden sharing with the EU, the PL talk about compulsory burden sharing. Once again, this difference is no difference at all for a very simple reason. Burden sharing is EU law and whether it’s voluntary or compulsory isn’t up to Muscat or Gonzi to decide. In fact, all parties in Malta, including AD, support compulsory burden sharing and consider the present scenario as unfair to the border states. But the reality is that many EU countries, already struggling with their own far right problems, will never agree with compulsory burden sharing. (Keep in mind that if such a mechanism is to take place, it would not have to cover only Malta where asylum seekers are a few thousand but also other countries like Greece, Cyprus and Italy where they run into millions).

On issues that can actually make a difference for the immigrants and minimize the costs for the Maltese, such as revising detention policy and grant work permits instead of a permit to work, as suggested by AD, the position of the PNPL is exactly the same.

Same thing on the minimum wage controversy. AD is the only party for increasing the minimum wage. Yet, the PN managed to spin it that Muscat is the evil anti-worker pseudo-socialist that wants to freeze the minimum wage. Truth is, the PL are just against increasing it, which is the exact position of the PN.

These two examples, amongst many others, make it clear that unlike most other EU countries that have a variety of parties with different beliefs and ideologies in parliament Malta has less than two. Most of the time it just has one: PNPL.

Before I start writing this I want to make it amply clear that I neither know the officers who allegedly killed Mamadi Kamara not knew Mr Kamara himself. The only information on the killing I’ve got is what I read on the media and the content of this blog is about the reaction to the killing and not the killing itself. I believe that everyone is innocent until proved guilty and what’s written here has nothing to do with the guilt or otherwise of the accused.

It is a natural thing that when someone enters in police/army custody alive and gets out dead, there is a sense of shock in the community. Except for people with some particular partisan agenda, most of the population is mainly interested in one thing: The Truth.

I must admit that what shocked me most in the killing of Mr Kamara is not the fact that he was killed (voluntarily or not). Sure, that is shocking in itself, but considering Malta’s irrational long-term mandatory detention policy, Detention Service was just an accident waiting to happen.

What really shocked me was the reaction on the online media by certain sectors who have no interest in knowing what really happened and want to show “Solidarity with the AFM” on the case.

Solidarity on what exactly? Murder?

Yes, there are people amongst us who are not interested in knowing the truth but absolve the alleged murderers on the basis that what they did, whatever the circumstances, was justified. Some started repeating the usual urban legends such as “the immigrants spit on the officers….”, “the officers have a tough job….” so on and so forth. Others, though they sugar coated their words were practically saying “What’s the big deal? There are so many blacks, one black less”.

Who are these people?

Most of them are neo-Nazis loyal to Norman Lowell and active members of Imperium Evropa. I use the term neo-Nazi here not for the dramatic effect of the word but because this is not the typical far right party like those of Marine Le Pen or Geert Wilders but pure undiluted Nazism. Holocaust denial, hatred for Jews (rodents, grieden tad-drenagg), biological racism, mass deportations and the execution of traitors. You name it, you got it. (Which makes me wonder what they really deny about the Holocaust considering that all the elements are there, except maybe, for the gas chambers)
They are the lunatic fringe, no? So why are you worried?

I don’t find the fact that they exist worrying. Every country, society, race or religion has its fair share of freaks.

What I do find worrying is the fact that they’re crawling out of the website where they post anonymously (www.vivamalta.org – where they repeatedly stated I should be arrested and hanged for stating my opinion) and filter into more mainstream media. Sure, their comments are many times sugarcoated and start with something like “Everyone should have the right to life, but….”

What is really worrying is the fact that some people in the mainstream are starting to think they have a point.

And yes, this is extremely shocking. Some, because of their anti-immigrant sentiment, naively think this is no big deal. A man is killed in custody, why investigate?

Yes, unless this is taken seriously this will snowball and has the potential of escalating to horrors that those who think the Nazis have a point, can’t even start to imagine.

Killing someone with impunity doesn’t only go against his human rights. It goes against the rule of law and the basic fundamentals of democracy.

This is not a football game (mal-Inglizi jew mat-Taljani). This is a question of individual responsibility. If these people are found guilty it doesn’t mean our officers are evil or racist. It means that there are 3 rotten apples amongst them and that the 3 rotten apples must be held accountable for their actions.

Most of the people who claim they are against multiculturalism, in reality don’t know what the word really means. Forget the debates about cultural relativism, citizenship or whatever policy is being drafted, for them it’s the simplistic notion of “people of different cultures living in the same country”.

For the purposes of this particular blog, the word multiculturalism is referring to the simplistic definition mentioned above.

For those who claim they are “against multiculturalism”, I have bad news. You’re not going to stop it. Forget it. You can vote in as many far-right parties as you want, your hated multiculti is here to stay.

Multiculturalism has been with us since the end of time. The only thing that changed in the last few decades is that it’s happening quicker. Globalization brought with it faster and cheaper travel and communications. It doesn’t take a month to travel from Malta to Australia anymore and you can date a Chinese girl you met on the Internet. You find Turkish kebabs in Sweden and McDonalds in Iraq. So on and so forth.

All sorts of genocides and atrocities tried to stop it: all of them failed. There still are a lot of Armenians in Turkey, Jews in Germany, Serbs in Bosnia and Tutsi in Rwanda. There are ethnic, religious and cultural minorities in every country in the world.

Except for one.

The only hope for the anti-multiculti is in a land where the sun only shines if the Supreme Leader wakes up in a good mood, and where thanks to the heavily censored media the residents think the National football team had won matches when in reality it had lost. It’s a country where most people believe the Supreme Leader was miraculously born in a well, and everyone enjoys free speech as long as it involves only praise to the leader.

The Supreme Leader of this country has also protected it from your hated multiculti. Only a few thousand people enter the country each year, most of whom are diplomats. Only one tourist agency in the world can take you there, only if you leave from China after acquiring really hard to get special permits. The borders are heavily protected and if you’re a tourist you don’t really have much opportunity to meet the locals. You can’t infiltrate the country through the Internet either, because what the people have access to is decided by the Supreme Leader whom everybody loves since it’s illegal not to love him.

Nobody comes in, nobody goes out.

You want to stop multiculti? Go for it brainchild.

Just one little advice from my side if you don’t mind: The only reason the people in this single-culture paradise are not leaving is that they can’t.

The Ivorians say it about the Mali’s, the Dutch about the Poles. The Indonesians about the Chinese, the Germans about the French. And the Maltese about the Somali. All in a one big chorus: THEY TOOK OUR JOBS:

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KThDnFOj0Hk

 

Unfortunately few seem to realize that jobs are not charity. People don’t take jobs, they work them.

 

Putting that aside, has one noticed that in Malta when we talk about the Africans, the chorus has changed it’s words. Now the trend is: THEY TAKE OUR SOCIAL BENEFITS.

 

Obviously they are wrong. The first thing most African immigrants do after leaving detention is start looking for a job. And find it, because contrary to popular racist belief, most are hard working honest people who want to make a decent living.

 

Where most of tax money is going, isn’t in social benefits (which most Africans take for a very short period of time and in very small amounts). The bulk of the money is wasted (yes, wasted) in the long periods African migrants spend in “administrative” detention. Ironically, the “we’re paying tax money” brigade is usually on the forefront backing the government to keep migrants detained. Some even want to increase that period!

 

Yes migrants work our jobs. It’s been happening since the end of time. You just didn’t notice because it because they were white, stupid. It happens everywhere. Work is the primary reason why people migrate.

 

And guess what. Do these people know that there are some 1.5 million Maltese live in othe countries? And like the Africans in Malta, a few of them do happen to take social benefits for a while. But what the majority of these 1.5 million Maltese is doing is: TAKING THEIR JOBS.

When we speak about the issue racism, many people automatically link it with the issue of migration from Africa and Asia. No, it rarely is a question of legality and documents since it is only Arabs and black people that are targeted. In fact, as I had written in another blog, when a black student who was a French citizen left Malta prematurely because of racism, he was many times called an illegal immigrant or “Klandestin”. In fact, for some, the word illegal immigrant is synonymous with being black or Arabic.

What many fail to see is the fact that racism is an issue in itself, irrespective of one’s views on immigration. The issue has many aspects, but what I will focus on here is the emotional one. Racism hurts.

Lately, I had a conversation with a Somali who is still deluded that the American Dream is true. His naivety, honesty and above all the emotional pain in his eyes touched me deeply. “When I go to America, it will be different. There isn’t black or white there, they love you for who you are. Some people are good here but others think I am a criminal, even though they do not know me. And I’m not a criminal. I’m a good man”

I’m talking about a person who has a legal job and refugee status. Whether the Maltese government pays the Ghaddafi regime extortion money to keep African immigrants from coming into Europe is not the issue for him. Neither are rules and regulations on who can work legally or not. “My boss is a good man” he asserted (while we hear of many cases of exploitation of immigrants, this is not the first time I heard praise for their employers. I think it’s very unfair to put people in the same basket and this includes businessmen employing migrants).

My Somali friend’s main issue isn’t legal but emotional. Like that of many others. Many talk about being refused from entering nightclubs or other places of entertainment. It might tempt someone to ask “what’s the big deal”. It is a big deal, not because the individual isn’t going to cope without going to that nightclub, but because of the message it gives.

Another situation I sometimes encounter is seeing black people sitting in a bus and an empty seat besides them, while the bus is nearly full and people are standing. While I personally benefit from such a thing (remain standing, idiot, I’ll take the place) I can also imagine the personal pain inflicted on a clean person who sees people standing up rather than sit beside him, and the reason why is obvious.

In fact it is on public buses that I’ve seen the most overt cases of racism. Sometimes, buses do not stop when on a bus stop there are only black people. On one particular case, a bus driver was verbally aggressive towards a black woman because she gave him €0.50 and expected the €0.03 change for a €0.47 bus fare. Rather than doing what he should have done (give her the change) the driver started offending the woman “mhux bizzejjed qed nitmawkhom u nlibbsukom Haqq al Madonna, xiż-żobb trid aktar. Ha hudhom it-3 cents u mur hudu foxx il-liba razztek” The humiliation could be seen clearly on the lady’s face as she refused the change with as much dignity as she could muster and found a place.

Needless to say, people who commit such racist harassment do not represent the Maltese people. For example on the last mentioned episode I heard people whisper dissent for the driver, which could also be seen in their facial expressions, while a kind lady told the victim “poggi hawn sinjura u taghtix kasu”. Yet, aside from the bad reputation such people give to our country, many do not seem to realize the emotional pain these incidents inflict.

I am glad to be part of the Campaign Against Racism. I have met many Maltese people who show complete disagreement with racism and judge a person on what s/he really is rather than on the color of his/her skin. We will be focusing on many aspects and I find it vitally important that the emotional aspect – possibly the most painful and destructive – is not left out.

P.S While I’m not sure if I’m in accordance with laws on blasphemy and obscentiy I quoted the driver’s harassment word for word. To be honest, I don’t really care, when in reality such blatant abuse is being done in broad daylight and no one ever gets prosecuted.

The year 1999 will definitely not be forgotten by the five Bulgarian nurses and Palestinian doctor wrongly accused on one of the most heinous crimes possible – deliberately infecting over 400 Libyan children with HIV. The evidence of their innocence is surmounting, from the clearly visible effects of torture they underwent in the Libyan prisons while they signed their “confessions”, to the witness of International scientists that said clearly the virus must have been present at least a year before the accused started working in the Hospital.

1999 was just the beginning of these six people’s nightmare. In 2004, the medics were sentenced to death. The nightmare ended in 2007 after the Bulgarian government forked out millions of dollars in compensation for each infected child to the Libyan authorities. The medics were declared as innocent within less than 45 minutes they set foot on Bulgarian territory.

Why did this frame up take place? The most probable reason is that these medics were used as a scapegoat to cover up the lack of hi-gene and professionalism in Libyan hospitals, the real reason why the virus had spread.

Dictator Gaddafi and his regime literally had the cake and are it. Not only did they cover up their mess (in front of the people of Libya with the controlled media, not the International community), but used it as an opportunity to extort millions of dollars from the Bulgarian government (with the help of some other countries).

Do I blame the Bulgarian government for giving up to this extortion? Hardly so. Just like a father whose child had been kidnapped forking out the money was the only way to save five nationals and another innocent human being from death.

Obviously this was a victory for the Libyan regime. In fact they learnt the lesson – extortion pays big time – and are doing it again, this time in different circumstances. During a visit to Italy, Colonel Gaddafi made a controversial speech scaring European with millions of ‘poor and ignorant’ Africans invading it, unless it does something. That something is once again extortion. Give me €500 a year to protect my borders, he asked the EU and I’ll ‘protect’ you from the Barbaric invasion.

Anyone with some common sense would not fall into this trap. Unlike the Bulgarian government, if the EU forked money to the Dictator, this time it would not take place to uphold the life of country nationals, but to deny the rights of non-Libyan Africans refugees to seek asylum. One should also include the fact that considering the extreme corruption that takes place in Libyan institutions many people will still ‘leak in’ if they have some cash.

By the time of writing EU officials have shunned these proposals or at least have been non-committed. Except for one country’s foreign minister. Our own Dr Tonio Borg, has told us it takes two to tango. In other words that we should appease Colonel Gaddafi and fork out the extortion money.

While writing this, it still hasn’t completely sunk in that apart from the disrespect for human rights, Dr Borg is putting Malta’s position towards Libya like that of a small Sicilian restaurant owner in front of a Mafia Don.

Thanks, but no thanks Dr Borg.