Beneath the Firework
Only last Thursday the Times (of Malta) editorial expressed concern that not enough was being done to stem the flow of firework related dead. Even J’accuse is horrified that less than one week later we have another man “in danger” of dying thanks to explosive mixtures. Then you look at the statistics – over one hundred persons in a century – not a nice figure it’s true but from the statistician’s cold perspective it pales in comparison to at least two figures that immediately come to mind. I do not need the stats at hand I’ll just mention immigrants dying in the waters around our country and road victims (and that’s only because birds do not count as humans otherwise I’d have three sets of stats). Firework factory accidents infuriate us a little bit more because they are even more nonsensical. Beneath the firework death is the man who walked into an unsafe factory, “worked” with unsafe materials and all this within worrying distance of inhabited homes. That is not something to mourn about.
Beneath the Red Palm Weevil
Alternattiva Demokratika have their balls in a twist about something called the Red Palm Weevil. It must be the pest with the coolest name in history after the Tasmanian Devil. Apparently the Weevil has hitched a ride on some of the trees being planted in Malta for the afforestation programme. The AD press release is worrying to the common man. It is, in not so subtle political terms, a shit stirrer. Let’s see it in detail:
“ Alternattiva Demokratika cannot but put the blame on the government for the way it is handling afforestation and tree protection in the Maltese Islands, without any policy and without any strategy whatsoever. If one looks at government projects, one cannot but notice the great percentage of imported trees that are being planted. And imported trees carry the potential for disease and the introduction of new species to the Maltese Islands, as in the case of the Red Palm Weevil.”
The inevitability of the blame is not so evident once you see what the implied problem is. There is apparently a great percentage of the new trees that originate from yonder – as in not Maltese. The blip in the policy is that these trees CARRY POTENTIAL for disease and the introduction of new species to the Maltese Islands. So what got the proverbial balls in a twist is not a real problem… but a potential one because there is a suspicion that our government is not intelligent enough to ensure that the trees are not ill. Well it turns out that the Red Palm Weevil is alive and kicking in Melita. It also turns out that since it lives in Palm Trees this could not have happened because of the afforestation programme because … it does not include palm trees.
Like so many shit-stirring statements in politics this one was constructed on wrong assumptions. The conclusion that we reach is that AD were after the government’s environmental credentials and wanted to remove some of the afforestation programmes brownie points. Not a very good move. Especially when this government has so many other policies that are criticisable. The pity is that they do not include attention grabbing names such as that very evil Weevil.
Beneath the Detention Centres
Lies a great big stink. You might read in today’s paper that Brussels will once again be kicking up a fuss about Malta’s detention centres. You should also know that Malta has featured in the radio and TV in France over the past week and it was not thanks to a Tourism Authority advert. You see the news reports about the inhuman conditions in the detention centres made our country sound like the Yanks in Guantanamo or a revival of Idi Amin’s regime. If the situation of fellow humans in such ridiculous conditions does not make you cringe and do something about it… then at least some pride and worry about this negative vibe should get you moving.
And once we are on this matter I’d like to know what nerve the government spokesperson (I think it was a govt spokesperson) had when commenting about the Pakistani appointment to the Commonwealth in lieu of Michael Frendo. The sour grapes note had something to do with the democratic credentials and lack of respect for human rights. Well it’s true, the Pakistani government has not been very good at sweeping it’s problems under the carpet of late… but as long as the detention centres exist and as long as the current conditions subsist I think stones and glasshouses should spring to the mind of such person much faster… Beneath the image of the shiny calypso of the Mediterranean lie the desperate souls imprisoned in a camp… and yes… they’re your problem too.