Simon Busuttil, ma jitgħallem qatt

 

 

Simon Busuttil qed jgħid li mhuwiex sewwa li l-Imħallef Antonio Mizzi jisma l-appell ta Joseph Muscat, Keith Schembri u Konrad Mizzi minn digriet tal Maġistrat Ian Farrugia biex rapport dwar allegazzjoni ta ħasil ta flus ikun investigat.

L-Imħallef Mizzi hu miżżewweġ lill-Membru Parlamentari Ewropew Laburista Marlene Mizzi, jgħidilna Busuttil u għaldaqstant għandu jastjeni milli jisma l-appell.

It-tweġiba lil Simon Busuttil tista tinstab fsentenza tal-Prim Awla tal-Qorti Ċivili (sede kostituzzjonali) li tat l-Imħallef Lorraine Schembri Orland nhar l-4 ta Lulju 2017.

Dakinnhar l-Imħallef Schembri Orland kienet qed tisma rikors dwar kaz simili : l-ex-kandidata Laburista il-Maġistrat Joanne Vella-Cuschieri kellha tastjeni milli tisma libel li l-kandidat Nazzjonalista u Sindku tar-Rabat Għawdex għamel kontra l-ex-Ministru Laburista Anton Refalo?

Fsentenza ta 43 paġna l-Inħallef Schembri Orland kienet ċaħdet it-talba għax, kif tispjega fis-sentenza, billi Vella Cuschieri kienet attiva fil-politika qabel ma saret maġistrat ma jfissirx li mhiex persuna ta integritá jew li mhiex imparzjali.

Mhux ser noqgħod nikkwota minn sentenza li hi mimlija espressjonjiet legali li forsi ftit jinteressaw lill-qarrejja. Imma biżżejjed wieħed jgħid li l-Qrati huma mimlijin persuni fil-karigi ta Imħallfin u Maġistrati li fxi żmien jew ieħor kienu attivi fil-politika, jew huma inkella qarib viċin tagħhom. Anke Schembri Orland innifisha kienet kandidat għall-PN fl-elezzjoni tal-1987 imma ħadd ma ddubita mill-integritá u l-imparzjalitá tagħha, tant li kienet hi li tat waħda mis-sentenzi dwar iżżewġ siġġijiet tal-PN fl-elezzjoni tal-2013.

Fi ftit kliem kull ġudikant hu presunt li hu (jew hi) ta integritá u għandu jingħata l-opportunitá li jaħdem bis-serenitá kollha.   Niġġudikaw fuq dak li fil-fatt isir u mhux fuq dak li nibżgħu li jista jsir.

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Ivan Bartolo: is-solidarjetá fl-aqwa tagħha

Fi żmien meta uħud mill-politiċi, u dawk ta’ madwarhom, ikunu fl-aħbarijiet dwar dak li qed jaħtfu jew japprofittaw ruħhom minnu, hu ta’ kuraġġ li tisma’ b’wieħed li qiegħed fl-aħbarijiet għal dak li qed jagħti. Qed nikteb dwar Ivan Bartolo, Membru Parlamentari tal-PN, li iktar kmieni din il-ġimgħa kien fl-aħbarijiet minħabba donazzjoni ta’ kilwa minn tiegħu lil persuna li ma jafx biex din il-persuna tkun tista’ tgħix ħajja aħjar.

Id-donazzjoni ta’ organi umani, għal min ikun qed jirċievi d-donazzjoni hi daqs li jkun twieled mill-ġdid. Hi l-isbaħ rigal li qatt jista’ jingħata. Jekk li tħalli l-organi tiegħek biex jintużaw wara mewtek hu ġest nobbli u ta’ min ifaħħru, kemm hu iktar minn hekk jekk id-donazzjoni tagħmilha inti stess bir-rieda esklussiva tiegħek waqt li għadek ħaj.

Il-ġest nobbli ta’ Ivan Bartolo hu opportunitá biex niffukaw fuq il-ħtieġa ta’ iktar donazzjonijiet ta’ organi umani. Kemm biex ikunu salvati ħajjiet, kif ukoll biex ikun possibli li titjieb il-ħajja ta’ bosta.

Tirrikjedi kuraġġ kbir biex f’ħajtek tagħti donazzjoni ta’ wieħed mill-organi tiegħek. Dan hu ġest li xi minn daqqiet isir minn ġenituri biex jgħinu lill-uliedhom morda inkella hu ġest li jsir bejn l-aħwa biex jgħinu lil xulxin f’sitwazzjoni ta’ ħajja jew mewt. Ivan mar lil hinn minn solidarjetá bejn membri tal-istess familja. Id-donazzjoni tal-kilwa tiegħu lil persuna li ma jafx hi l-milja tas-solidarjetá umana: Ivan Bartolo huwa s-Sammaritan it-tajjeb tal-21 seklu.

F’Malta, bħal f’bosta pajjiżi oħra, d-diskrepanza bejn id-domanda għall-organi umani meħtieġa għat-trapjant u d-disponibilitá ta’ dawn l-istess organi qegħda dejjem tiżdied. Biex tkun indirizzata din id-diskrepanza, fl-2016 il-Parlament approva liġi li tipprovdi l-qafas legali tant meħtieġ għal organizzazzjoni aħjar ta’ dawn id-donazzjonijiet ta’ organi kif ukoll biex tkun protetta din l-informazzjoni tant sensittiva. Din il-leġislazzjoni tipprovdi l-mekkaniżmi meħtieġa biex ix-xewqat ta’ dawk li jixtiequ jagħmlu donazzjoni ta’ organu jew organi tagħhom wara mewthom għal skop ta’ trapjant tkun implimentata billi tkun magħrufa mill-awtoritajiet tas-saħħa. Informazzjoni dwar kif tista’ tirreġistra tinkiseb minn fuq is-sit elettroniku tal-Ministeru tas-Saħħa (www.health.gov.mt).

Id-donazzjoni ta’ organu uman biex dan jintuża għal trapjant jista’ jsalva l-ħajja inkella jtejjeb sostanzjalment il-kwalitá tal-ħajja ta’ min jirċivieh.

Il-ġest nobbli ta’ Ivan Bartolo hu ta’ eżempju lil kulħadd dwar dak li hi s-solidarjetá umana. Grazzi Ivan.

Ippubblikat f’Illum : il-Ħadd 30 ta’ Lulju 2017

Ivan Bartolo : solidarity at its best

In a day and age when a number of politicians and their hangers-on make the headlines for reasons of greed, for making hay while the sun shines, its quite a change to have a politician in the news for making a donation rather than for receiving one!

I refer to Ivan Bartolo, PN Member of Parliament who, earlier this week, donated one of his kidneys to a person unknown to him, in order that this person may have a better life.

The donation of a human organ is a second gift of life to the recipient. It is one of the most powerful gifts possible. To donate your organs after your death is commendable; carrying out such a donation while you are still alive, and in your prime, is beyond commendable.

Ivan Bartolo’s noble act serves as a reminder to focus on the need for more organ donations in order to save the lives of some and improve the lives of others.

It takes considerable courage to donate one of your organs when you are still alive. It is something occasionally done by parents to help an ailing child, or by brothers and sisters to help each other in a situation of extreme need. Ivan went beyond familial ties of solidarity – he went one better : to donate of his kidneys to a stranger is an expression of human solidarity in its fullest possible sense. He is a 21st-century good Samaritan.

In Malta, as in most other countries, the gap between the supply and demand of human organs for transplant is widening.  Last year, in order to address this shortfall,  Parliament approved legislation to create a legal framework that facilitates human organ, tissue and cell donation in order to improve the donation process as well as to protect the resulting sensitive information. This legislation provides a framework for registering with the health  authorities the wishes of those wanting to donate an organ, tissue or cells after their death. Information on how to register is available on the Ministry for Health’s website http://www.health.gov.mt.

Donating an organ can save or prolong the life of the recipient or else it can substantially improve the recipient’s quality of life.

Thank You Ivan. You are an example to us all of what solidarity with each other really means and how much it can achieve.

published in The Malta Independent on Sunday : 30 July 2017

Għall-Awtoritá tal-Ippjanar il-profitti tal-ispekulatur huma prijoritá

Id-deċiżjoni li ħa l-Bord tal-Awtoritá tal-Ippjanar nhar il-Ħamis b’għaxar voti kontra tlieta biex 4,748 metru kwadru ta’ art barra miż-żona tal-iżvilupp (ODZ) ikunu żviluppati f’Dar għall-Anzjani fin-Naxxar hi preċedent ikrah li l-Awtoritá għad jiddispjaċiha li ħaditu.

L-applikazzjoni bin-numru PA 3592/16 ġiet ippreżentata biex jitwaqqa’ bini li tela’ qabel l-1978 u floku tinbena faċilitá għall-kura tal-anzjani fuq art “ġa disturbata”.

L-ewwel punt ta’ interess hu dan il-bini ta’ qabel l-1978 li hemm fuq is-sit. Ir-rapport dwar l-applikazzjoni ta’ żvilupp jiddeskrivi din l-art bħala “razzett mitluq u fi stat ta’ abbandun”. Meta inbena, dan ir-razzett kien meħtieġ fl-interess ta’ l-agrikultura. Issa li dan ir-razzett hu abbandunat kien ikun iktar għaqli kieku l-art ġiet irrestawrata għall-istat oriġinali tagħha biex tieħu lura postha bħala parti mill-pajsaġġ rurali. Minflok qed tintuża bħala għodda biex twaqqa’ għar-redikolu l-politika dwar l-ippjanar tal-użu tal-art.

L-Awtoritá tal-Ippjanar skont dak li jipprovdi l-Pjan Strateġiku għall-Ambjent u l-Iżvilupp (SPED: Strategic Plan for Environment and Development) talbet lill-applikant biex jikkummissjona studju ħalli jiġi stabilit jekk fiż-żona ta’ żvilupp, fil-viċinanzi, kienx hemm art tajba għall-iżvilupp li setgħet tintuża għall-iskop mixtieq u ċioe biex tinbena dar għall-anzjani.

Dan ir-rapport (site selection report), datat Mejju 2016, fil-fatt identifika żewġ siti li t-tnejn kienu ikbar milli meħtieġ. Ir-rapport jgħid li s-siti identifikati kellhom “potenzjal kbir” bħala siti alternattivi għall-proġett taħt konsiderazzjoni. L-ewwel sit kellu qies ta’ 11,287 metru kwadru fil-waqt li t-tieni sit kellu qies ta’ 6,844 metru kwadru. It-tnejn kienu fin-Naxxar viċin tas-sit taħt konsiderazzjoni.

Wara, l-Awtoritá tal-Ippjanar talbet lill-applikant biex jipproduċi studju dwar l-impatti finanzjarji tal-proġett. Dan l-istudju kien lest fi ftit żmien tant li hu datat 30 ta’ Mejju 2016. Fi ftit kliem dan ir-rapport ta’ sitt paġni, miktub minn accountant, jikkonkludi li billi l-art tajba għall-iżvilupp tiswa’ ferm iktar minn art ODZ (li m’hiex normalment ikkunsidrata għall-iżvilupp) il-proġett seta jrendi biss jekk tkun użata art ODZ!

Fid-diskussjoni waqt is-seduta pubblika ta’ nhar il-Ħamis tal-Bord tal-Awtoritá tal-Ippjanar, iċ-Ċhairman Eżekuttiv tal-istess Awtoritá qal li l-istudju dwar l-impatt finanzjarju tal-proġett kien ivverifikat mill-konsulenti tal- Awtoritá li wara aċċettatu u talbet lill-applikant biex jibda jikkunsidra art fl-ODZ.

Din id-deċiżjoni tal- Awtoritá tal-Ippjanar taqleb ta’ taħt fuq il-politika dwar l-użu tal-art u prattikament tfisser li minn issa l-quddiem proġetti kbar barra miż-żona tal-iżvilupp mhu ser ikollhom l-ebda diffikulta biex ikunu approvati. M’hemmx ħtieġa li tkun professor biex tifhem li minn issa l-quddiem kull żvilupp ODZ jista’ jkun iġġustifikat mill- Awtoritá tal-Ippjanar a bażi tal-fatt li l-art ODZ tiswa’ ferm inqas mill-art tajba għall-iżvilupp.

Jekk inħarsu ftit sewwa lejn ir-rapport tal-accountant insiru nafu li l-art ODZ kellha l-prezz ta’ €1,200,000 fil-waqt li l-art l-oħra tal-qies meħtieġ għall-proġett kellha prezz ta’ madwar €5 miljuni u nofs f’kull każ. Differenza ta’ madwar 4 darbiet!

Bħala riżultat ta’ din id-deċiżjoni, fl-opinjoni tiegħi, l- Awtoritá tal-Ippjanar irmiet ix-xogħol utli li numru kbir ta’ professjonisti tal-ambjent u tal-ippjanar tal-użu tal-art għamlu tul dawn l-aħħar ħamsa u għoxrin sena. Hi deċiżjoni li tmur kontra l-emfasi kontinwa dwar il-ħtieġa li l-art limitata li għandu l-pajjiż tintuża b’mod sostenibbli. L- Awtoritá tal-Ippjanar għal darba oħra baxxiet rasha: il-kilba għall-profitti reġgħet rebħet fuq il-ħtieġa tal-ħarsien ambjentali. Il-bilanċ fil-kont tal-bank tal-ispekulatur hu iktar importanti għall- Awtoritá tal-Ippjanar mill-użu sostenibbli tal-art f’pajjiżna.

Meta ttieħed il-vot finali, tlieta biss kienu l-membri tal-Bord tal- Awtoritá tal-Ippjanar li ivvutaw kontra: is-Sindku tan-Naxxar Anne Marie Muscat Fenech Adami, iċ-Chairman tal- Awtoritá tal-Ambjent w ir-Riżorsi Victor Axiaq kif ukoll r-rapprezentanta tal-għaqdiet ambjentali – Annick Bonello It-tlieta li huma mmotivaw id-deċiżjoni tagħhom li jivvutaw kontra l-proposta ta’ żvilupp minħabba li mhux aċċettabbli li tkun użata art ODZ għal dan l-iskop.

Ippubblikat fuq Illum : Il-Ħadd 23 ta’ Lulju 2017

Planning Authority says: develop ODZ, it is cheaper!

The decision taken by the Board of the Planning Authority last Thursday, with ten votes in favour and three votes against the development of 4,748 square metres of land Outside the Development Zone (ODZ) for a home for the elderly in Naxxar, will come back to haunt it in the very near future.

Application number PA 3592/16  was submitted in order to demolish a pre-1978 existing building and construct a facility for the care of the elderly and nursing home on disturbed land.

The first point of interest is the existing pre-1978 building on site. The Development Permit Application report describes this as an unoccupied derelict farm. When it  was constructed, this building was necessary in the interests of agriculture. Now that it is in a derelict state, the land should have been returned to its former state, rehabilitated as part of the rural landscape. Instead it is being used as a tool through which to ridicule land use planning policy.

Applying the provisions of the Strategic Plan for Environment and Development (SPED) policy document, the Planning Authority requested the applicant to commission a site selection exercise in order to ascertain whether, within the development zone, there existed land in the vicinity that could be developed for the desired purpose – a home for the elderly. 

The site selection report, dated May 2016, identified two sites – both of which were larger than required.  Specifically, the report states that the identified sites offered very good potential as alternative sites for the project under consideration.  The first site had an area of 11,287 square metres, while the second had an area of 6,844 square metres. Both sites are in Naxxar, very close to the site that is the subject of the application.

The Planning Authority next proceeded to request the applicant to produce a financial feasibility study. This study was produced days after the site selection exercise was completed. In fact, it is dated 30 May 2016. Briefly, the six page study – drawn up by a certified public accountant – concludes that, due to the fact that land within the development scheme costs substantially more than ODZ land, the project would only be financially feasible if ODZ land were used.

During last Thursdays Planning Authority Board public hearing, the Authority’s Executive Chairman stated that the PA’s own consultants had check this feasibility study before accepting it and instructing the applicant to proceed with considering ODZ sites.

This PA decision turns land use planning policy on its head and practically gives the green light to large-scale ODZ development in the future. It does not require rocket science to arrive at a conclusion that this specific decision signifies that practically any ODZ development can be justified on the basis that ODZ land is cheaper than land in the development zone. Perusal of the feasibility study submitted by applicant to the Planning Authority indicates that the ODZ land to be developed for this project has been priced at 1,200,000. The alternative sites, of equal area to the ODZ site under consideration, were each priced at approximately 5,500,000 : a four-fold difference.

In my opinion, the result of this decision is that the Planning Authority has thrown into the dustbin the hard work of a large number of planning and environmental professionals over the last 25 years.   This decision contradicts the continuous policy emphasis on the need to use land in a sustainable manner. The Planning Authority has once more bowed its head when faced with gluttonous greed. Profit has once more carried the day, to the detriment of environmental protection. The speculators bottom line is more important to the Planning Authority than sustainable use of land resources.

When the final vote was taken, only three members of the Planning Authority Board voted against, namely the Mayor of Naxxar Anne Marie Muscat Fenech Adami, the Chairman of the Environment and Resources Authority Victor Axiaq and the environmental NGOs’ representative Annick Bonello. All three were motivated in their decision to vote against the proposal because they deemed it unacceptable to have the development in ODZ land.

published in The Malta Independent on Sunday – 23 July 2017

Il-PN f’salib it-toroq


M’għandix idea min ser ikun il-Kap il-ġdid tal-PN. Issa, imma, huma magħrufa l-kandidati għall-Kap.

Fatt li jispikka hu li membru wieħed biss tal-grupp parlamentari tal-PN (Chris Said) ħass il-ħtieġa li joffri ruħu bħala kandidat għal Kap. Dan il-fatt waħdu juri l-istat tal-biki li jinsab fih il-Partit Nazzjonalista bħalissa. Jiena qatt ma niftakru f’dan l-istat. Dan ma jirriflettix tajjeb fuq il-Grupp Parlamentari tal-PN.

M’għandi l-ebda xewqa li niddiskuti l-kandidati individwalment, mhux għax m’hemmx x’tiddiskuti, imma għax f’dan l-istadju ma naħsibx li hu utli li ninvolvi ruħi f’dak li essenzjalment hu dibattitu intern tal-PN innifsu.

L-atturi f’dan id-dibattitu ħaj qed jgħidu tagħhom u diġa qalu diversi affarijiet sinifikanti li jirriflettu kif kienu qed jittieħdu d-deċiżjonijiet fil-PN fil-passat riċenti. Kien Tonio Fenech li fil-fatt fetaħ il-kanuni u dak li qal ma kienx kliem sabiħ. M’huwiex kliem li jirrifletti biss kif (skond Tonio Fenech) kien jaħdem internament Simon Busuttil, imma fuq kollox jirrifletti fuq il-grupp parlamentari nnifsu li donnu kien jieħu pjaċir li jitmexxa min imnieħru.

Hi fażi li trid tgħaddi u magħha tista’ ġġib tibdil sostanzjali fil-PN. Jekk ikunx għall-aħjar, għad irridu naraw.

Imma dak li hu magħruf m’hux sinjal tajjeb.

Ħerba mill-ballut ta’ Ħal-Lija

Is-siġar tal-ballut f’Ħal-Lija dejquhom! Għamlu ħerba biex iwessgħu t-triq, biex jagħmlu l-wisa’ għal iktar karozzi. Bħal dak li qalu li m’hawnx biżżejjed minnhom! Għamlu ħerba għal xejn.

Kif jispjega l-ambjentalist veteran Alfred Baldacchino, kien hemm soluzzjonijiet oħra jekk riedu li bil-fors iwessgħu t-triq. Setgħu faċilment salvaw dawn is-siġar, kieku riedu. Uħud minn dawn is-siġar, probabbilment kellhom iktar minn 100 sena.

Sadanittant, l-Awtoritá dwar l-Ambjent u r-Riżorsi tibqa’ ċassa.

Pluraliżmu anke fil-valuri

Wieħed mill-argumenti qawwija li lewnu d-dibattitu dwar id-dħul ta’ Malta fl-Unjoni Ewropeja kien li Malta ħtieġilha tidħol fis-seklu għoxrin qabel ma taħseb biex tissieħeb fl-Unjoni. Kien argumentat li kien hemm il-ħtieġa ta’ progress fuq ħafna fronti qabel ma Malta setgħet tissieħeb fl-UE. In-naħa l-oħra tal-argument, ovvjament, dejjem kien li s-sħubija minnha innifisha setgħet tkun il-katalist għat-tibdil tant meħtieġ fis-soċjetá Maltija. Għax il-bidla tista’ ddum biex isseħħ, imma fl-aħħar mhux possibli li tkun evitata. Kif jgħidu, tardare sí, scappare no!

Malta ssieħbet fl-UE fl-2004. Il-bidla fis-soċjetá Maltija għadha għaddejja, kultant b’ritmu mgħaġġel ħafna. Ir-referendum dwar id-divorzju li sar f’Mejju 2011 ħoloq terrimot, li, nistgħu ngħidu illi għadu għaddej.

Il-liġi dwar l-ugwaljanza fiż-żwieġ li l-Parliament approva iktar kmieni din il-ġimgħa kienet pass ieħor f’din id-direzzjoni. Kienet deskritta bħala “immorali” (Edwin Vassallo), “Marxista” (Clyde Puli), “kommunista” (Herman Schiavone) kif ukoll “tal-Korea ta’ Fuq ” (Tonio Fenech).

Dawn it-tikketti juru kif jaħdem moħħ dawk li qed jirreżistu din il-bidla. Mid-dehra ħadd minn dawn il-kritiċi tal-leġislazzjoni dwar l-ugwaljanza fiż-żwieg ma fehem li dan il-pass kien ukoll il-konsegwenza loġika tal-emenda kostituzzjonali, approvata mill-Parlament fil-leġislatura l-oħra liema emenda kienet iċċarat li d-diskriminazzjoni minħabba l-ġeneru kienet ipprojibita ukoll. L-intolleranti fost l-Insara fostna jgħidu li dawk li jappoġġaw l-ugwaljanza fiż-żwieġ huma “bla valuri”. Dawn għadhom ma irrealizzawx li l-valuri tagħhom m’humiex l-unika valuri. Qed ngħixu f’soċjetá bi pluralitá ta’ valuri. Ħadd m’għandu monopolju, la dwar il-valuri u l-anqas dwar dak li hu tajjeb jew ħażin.

Uħud mill-kelliema ewlenin tal-Opposizzjoni, minkejja li ddikjaraw l-appoġġ għal-liġi taħt konsiderazzjoni, xorta dehrilhom li kellhom jużaw il-ħin ta’ diskorshom bi kliem dispreġġattiv dwar dak propost. Dan il-lingwaġġ mimli insulti użat fid-dibattitu parlamentari sfortunatament jirrifletti fuq l-Opposizzjoni Nazzjonalista kollha, anke fuq dawk li għamlu sforz ġenwin u qagħdu attenti li jużaw  lingwaġġ konċiljattiv biex jikkomunikaw ħsiebijiethom.

L-opposizzjoni konservattiva qegħda fir-rokna. Min-naħa l-waħda riedet tħabbar mal-erbat irjieħ tal-pajjiż li issa kkonvertiet u ser tkun fuq quddiem biex tiddefendi d-drittijiet tal-komunitá LGBTIQ. Min-naħa l-oħra iżda, l-Opposizzjoni ma setgħetx tinjora l-fatt li għad għandha dipendenza qawwija fuq appoġġ minn l-agħar elementi ta’ intolleranza reliġjuża fil-pajjiż, dawk jiġifieri li għadhom iqiesu d-drittijiet LGBTIQ bħal materja ta’ “immoralitá pubblika”.  Edwin Vassallo kien l-iktar wieħed ċar fi kliemu meta iddikjara li l-kuxjenza tiegħu ma tippermettilux li jivvota favur dak li huwa ddeskriva bħala proposta leġislattiva “immorali”.

Fi ftit sekondi Vassallo (u oħrajn) ħarbat dak li kien ilu jippjana Simon Busuttil sa minn meta kien elett Kap tal-PN.  Dan wassal lil uħud biex jispekulaw dwar jekk l-Insara intolleranti, id-demokristjani u l-liberali fil-PN jistgħux jibqgħu jikkoabitaw wisq iktar.

Dan kollu jikkuntrasta mal-mod kif ġiebu ruħhom il-konservattivi fil-Partit Laburista. Dawn, minħabba kalkuli politiċi, ippreferew li jew jibqgħu ħalqhom magħluq inkella qagħdu attenti ħafna dwar dak li qalu. Jidher li tgħallmu xi ħaġa mid-dibattitu dwar id-divorzju!

L-approvazzjoni mill-Parliament tal-liġi dwar l-ugwaljanza fiż-żwieġ huwa pass ieħor il-quddiem favur il-pluraliżmu tal-valuri. Il-Parlament aċċetta l-pluraliżmu tal-valuri u iddeċieda li kulħadd jixraqlu r-rispett. Għandna bżonn nifhmu, lkoll kemm aħna, li qed ngħixu f’soċjetá bi pluralitá ta’ valuri li lkoll jixirqilhom ir-rispett. Hu possibli li ma naqblux, imma li ninsulentaw lil xulxin minħabba li nħaddnu valuri differenti ma jagħmilx sens. Xejn m’hu ser jibdel il-fatt li ħadd ma għandu monoplju fuq il-valuri li f’numru ta’ każi jikkontrastaw.

Malta illum introduċiet l-ugwaljanza fiż-żwieġ. M’aħniex ser indumu biex nindunaw li dan ser jagħmel lis-soċjetá tagħna waħda aħjar, għal kulħadd.

ippubblikat fuq Illum : il-Ħadd 16 ta’ Lulju 2017

Value Pluralism

One of the arguments made during the debate prior to Malta joining the European Union was that before it did so, Malta should open its doors to the 21st century. It was argued that much progress needed to be made before Malta could join the EU. The flip side of this argument was that EU membership could be the right catalyst for change that Maltese society needed, because change can be obstructed and delayed but, in the long term, it cannot be stopped.

Malta did join the EU in 2004 and the opening of the doors (and windows) of change is currently work-in-progress. The divorce referendum held in May 2011 opened the floodgates to a recognition of the fact that Maltese society was in a state of rapid change, making up for lost time.

The Marriage Equality Reform legislation approved in Parliament earlier this week was another step. It was described as “immoral” (Edwin Vassallo), “Marxist” (Clyde Puli), “communist” (Herman Schiavone) or even “North Korean” (Tonio Fenech).

These labels identify the frame of mind of those resisting change. Apparently, none of these critics of marriage equality legislation has yet realised that this step is the direct legal consequence of the Constitutional amendment, approved by Parliament some years back, which spelled out in unequivocal terms the prohibition of discrimination based on gender.

The intolerant Christian right argues that legislation proposing marriage equality is the result of a society which has lost its values. They have not realised that their “values” are not the only ones around: we live in a society where a plurality of values is a fact. The Christian right has no monopoly: either on values or on what is right or wrong.

A number of leading Opposition spokespersons, notwithstanding their declaration of support for the proposed legislation, deemed it fit to hurl never-ending insults against the proposals being debated and all that these represented. This insulting language used during the parliamentary debate is a sad reflection on the whole of the PN Opposition, even on those who sought to apply the brakes and in fact used more conciliatory language to convey their thoughts.

The conservative opposition is in a tight corner. On the one hand it wanted to announce in unequivocal terms its recent “conversion” to championing LGBTIQ rights. At the same time the Opposition could not ignore the fact that it is still chained to an intolerant Christian right which labels LGBTIQ rights as morally reprehensible. Edwin Vassallo was the most unequivocal when he declared that his conscience would not permit him to vote in favour of what he described as an “immoral” legislative proposal.

In a couple of seconds, Vassallo and others blew up what had been carefully constructed by Simon Busuttil since assuming the PN leadership, causing some to speculate whether the cohabitation of the conservative Christian right, Christian Democrats and liberals in the PN can last much longer.

In contrast, even if for political expediency, the conservatives in the Labour Party parliamentary group have either kept their mouth shut or else watched their language. It seems that they have learnt some lessons from the divorce referendum debate.

Parliament’s approval last Wednesday of the Marriage Equality Legislation is another step in entrenching the acceptance of value pluralism. Parliament has accepted value pluralism and decided that it was time to respect everyone.

We need to realise that we form part of a society with a plurality of values, all of which deserve the utmost respect. It is possible to disagree, but insulting people because they have different values than one’s own is not on. A society with a plurality of values is a fact and nobody will or can change that.

Malta has now introduced marriage equality. As a result, our society will show a marked improvement that will have a positive impact on all of us.

published in The Malta Independent on Sunday – 16 July 2017

Awguri Malta

Malta illum uriet maturitá kbira meta l-Parlament approva bi kważi unanimitá l-liġi dwar l-ugwaljanza fiż-żwieġ.

Hi siegħa importanti li l-Parlament qed jaċċetta pluraliżmu fil-valuri u jistma lil kulħadd l-istess. Kien ikun ħafna aħjar kieku l-vot favur kien akkumpanjat minn diskors konċiljattiv. Għax hemm bżonn iktar rispett lejn il-valuri ta’ xulxin, b’mod partikolari meta dawn ikunu differenti.

Hi ħasra li għad hemm min iqis valuri differenti minn tiegħu bħala immorali. Li ma naqblux hu possibli imma li ninsulentaw lil xulxin fuq il-valuri bażiċi li nħaddnu hu tal-mistħija. Il-pluraliżmu tal-valuri hu fatt li ħadd ma hu ser iħassar.

Dejjem nittamaw li xi darba niftħu kapitlu ġdid, fejn ir-rispett jiġi l-ewwel u qabel kollox.