The Prime Minister is seeking a compromise which will allow him to proceed with the rape of Żonqor. It will be acceptable to all bar the extremists the Prime Minister was reported as saying.
The compromise sought by the Prime Minister will be such that instead of facilitating the rape of 90,000 square metres of agricultural land at Iż-Żonqor, he may opt for a smaller agricultural area to be ruined. That is, instead of placing all the university campus at Iż-Żonqor, only part of it will be so sited, for the time being.
Is this meant to elicit a thank you? Thank You for what?
This is a government which hears but does not listen. It has certainly heard the public outcry against the development of ODZ land. But it has not listened to, nor has it apparently understood, the reasons which justify this outcry.
If this were a government which listens, in addition to hearing, it would understand that the objection runs far deeper and is not limited to the site area. It is an objection in principle to the development of ODZ land.
The proposed compromise is not acceptable as there ought to be no messing about with principles, not even if there is economic gain. The economic gain indicated is just one side of the equation. It can never justify the environmental and social losses. The only possible solution is to relocate the whole project towards other areas where the economic gains made either create no environmental and social costs or else their magnitude is insignificant. Obviously there will be economic fundamentalists who would always prefer ODZ land as this minimises the financial costs of the project, the only costs which really interest them.
ODZ means Outside the Development Zone. It is not some flexible boundary that can be adjusted to suit the whims of the emperor. The demarcation line between the Development Zone and beyond has been moved quite often in the past. In the process, large tracts of agriculture land was devoured by a concrete jungle.
The development of Iż-Żonqor will be an injustice which will shift more resources of the nation to the wealthy, in the process robbing the local farmers of their dignity. The farmers tilling the land at iż-Żonqor have their social and spiritual roots embedded deep in the soil. They are an integral part of the land which they take care of on behalf of all of us Maltese people.
Last week, over 3,000 Maltese citizens gathered in Valletta to protest against the Żonqor project. They did this because they believe that our natural heritage is our common responsibility. Iż-Żonqor is part of our common home on which we all depend physically and emotionally.
Iż-Żonqor is part of the logic of receptivity. It is on loan to the present generation which must pass it on to the next generation. Defending the countryside is our common responsibility which we will shoulder together. On this basis, there is no room for compromise Mr Prime Minister. Focus elsewhere and leave Iż-Żonqor alone.
published in The Malta Independent on Sunday – 28 June 2015