Labour and AD need to speak up NOW

Something is seriously and gravely wrong with our supposedly Catholic nation.


When human beings are dehumanized and stripped of basic human rights, something is seriously, seriously wrong. Something is seriously wrong when the Maltese government starts to 'tango in tandem' with the fascist government of Italy. Something is seriously wrong when all of a sudden, Libya (who's leader and human rights record have been harshly criticised by many well-to-do "Christian democrats" when it was convenient to do so) becomes a safe-haven for migrants. And the worst part of it all is that the political leaders who are supposed to condemn such travesties are completely and utterly silent, perhaps even in agreement.

There are several ways or ideologies on which politicians may base their choices. Let me mention two. The cosmopolitan, generally speaking, strives for international solidarity and cooperation. He does not build walls, rather he tends to bring them down. He holds a broad view of globalisation which is not merely limited to the greedy sprawl of corporations and exploitation of workers, but includes international solidarity with peoples all over the world. The nationalist, on the other hand favours insularity and is most eager to erect walls. For the nationalist it is a sin that other nations or international organisations meddle in internal affairs. Anything beyond the border is the enemy. A chief example of nationalism is Berlusconi's statement that his government "won't do like the left governments and become a multi-ethnic Italy."

In Malta cosmopolitanism, which on political lines I identify with the left, does not exist. Many times, the Labour Party turns out to be far more nationalist than the Nationalist party itself. It was doing so in the immigration situation until the Nationalist Party, which was pursuing diplomacy, started to kiss Maroni's un-diplomatic ass and regard him as a hero. For suspending international obligations (many of which incorporate human rights) and threatening to destabilize European progress of all forms with the use of the veto is nothing but ultra-nationalism. The closest thing to cosmopolitanism that I have seen was cross-border trade union solidarity in the dockyard issue, solidarity with anti-hunting organisations in Malta and Europe, and a recent international solidarity of NGO's on migration. Now, Labour is dangerously silent or in secretive agreement with the forced repatriation of migrants which falls foul of the basic human rights etched in the Universal Declaration.

AD may be more cautious in approach, and has indeed criticised Maroni in the recent past, but I was not so happy with Cassola's statement the other day (in a GWU-Youths seminar on 'What's Left?') who claimed that the situation is what it is...we must not discard the people's sentiment on the issue. I'm sorry to say but the people's sentiment is disgusting and becoming worryingly more so. The people's sentiment is very important yes but leaders are also there to lead. It is dangerous to think that the people's sentiment holds stronger weight than the basic rules of law.

For that is what is happening. Basic and fundamental norms which play a central role in any democracy are being discarded for political ends, namely to gain votes. This has always been the practise of the far right. Mainstream leftist parties must not be an accomplice to this. Labour and AD need to pull off the tape and speak up NOW.

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2 Responses to Labour and AD need to speak up NOW

Gattaldo said...

Dear Andrew, just wanted to point out that part of your blog entry has been featured on Wired Malta.

Andrew Sciberras said...

Noted, thanks.

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