Ir-retorika ………… l-unika ħaġa ċerta

Joseph Muscat Martin Schulz

 

Der Spiegel International irrapporta illi l-Kunsill Ewropew li ltaqa’ fi Brussels fi tmiem il-ġimgħa ittratta l-immigrazzjoni b’mod retoriku. Għal Der Spiegel ma tirriżulta l-ebda deċiżjoni ta’ sustanza dwar l-immigrazzjoni. Paroli biss.

Fil-fatt il-Kunsill Ewropew ippospona deċiżjoni dwar l-immigrazzjoni għal Diċembru li ġej.  Il-Prim Ministru Joseph Muscat ġustament  ikkummenta li għalkemm il-kliem li intqal u inkiteb kien promettenti, s’issa għadu biss kliem.  Il-Partit Laburista min-naħa l-oħra  jidher li hu sodisfatt filwaqt li l-PN ikkummenta li Joseph Muscat ġie lura Malta b’idu f’idu.

Alternattiva Demokratika jidhrilha illi hu tal-mistħija li l-Kunsill Ewropew jibqa’ jipposponi deċiżjoni dwar x’passi għandhom jittieħdu fuq livell ta’ Unjoni Ewropeja dwar l-immigrazzjoni fil-Mediterran. Dan jfisser li l-Kunsill Ewropew fis-siegħa tal-prova ma kienx kapaċi jqiegħed fil-prattika l-valuri Ewropej ta’ rispett lejn il-ħajja u id-dinjita tal-bniedem. L-Unjoni Ewropeja issa ilha s-snin tipposponi li tieħu deċiżjoni dwar solidarjeta’ prattika u effettiva.

Malta għandha pubblikament tappoġġa l-posizzjoni mittieħda mill-Partit tal-Ħodor Ewropej (European Green Party) dwar solidarjetá effettiva (responsibility sharing), riforma tal-Konvenzjoni Dublin II kif ukoll il-ħolqien ta’ metodi legali għall-migrazzjoni fl-Unjoni Ewropeja. Posizzjoni li diġa ħa ukoll Martin Schultz il-President Soċjal Demokratiku tal-Parlament Ewropew.

Minflok dan kollu l-Kunsill Ewropew ser jiddiskuti l-immigrazzjoni f’Diċembru li ġej meta l-Kummissjoni Ewropeja ser tresssaq ir-rapport ta’ ħidma tat-Task Force dwar il-Mediterran li twaqqfet diġa u dan “bil-ħsieb li jittieħdu deċiżjonijiet operazzjonali”.  Dwar x’inkunu dawn id-deċiżjonijiet u jekk fil-fatt jittieħdux għadu kmieni ħafna. Iktar u iktar meta niftakru li numru ta’ pajjiżi membri tal-Unjoni Ewropeja (x’aktarx madwar tlettax) ma jaqblux li għandhom ikollhom xi sehem biex jerfgħu l-piż tal-immigrazzjoni fil-Mediterran. Ma dan ma irridux ninsew li biex tittieħed deċiżjoni  irid ikun hemm qbil unanimu. Jiġifieri minkejja d-dikjarazzjoni ta’ Joseph Muscat li rnexxielu jikseb l-appoġġ tal-Prim Ministri Soċjalisti kollha fil-Kunsill Ewropew għad m’hemm xejn ċar dwar kif ser jiżviluppaw l-affarijiet.

L-unika ħaġa ċerta s’issa hi r-retorika.

Minkejja dan kollu, f’din is-siegħa ta’ prova, Alternattiva Demokratika tappoġġa l-insistenza tal-Gvern Malti dwar il-ħtieġa li l-Unjoni Ewropeja taġixxi immedjatament dwar l-immigrazzjoni, insistenza li jidher li hi appoġġata minn 15-il Gvern fl-Unjoni Ewropeja, fuq quddiem dawk tal-Greċja u l-Italja. L-immigrazzjoni fuq il-fruntiera Mediterranea tal-Unjoni Ewropeja hi materja li tikkonċerna l-Unjoni kollha u hi ta’ serjeta’ u gravita daqs kull materja Ewropeja oħra.

Alternattiva Demokratika filwaqt li tifhem li hu neċessarju li l-Gvern Malti jgħaddi kummenti iebsa fil-konfront tal-istituzzjonijiet Ewropej tittama, iżda,  li dan il-kliem iebes ma jkunx ta’ ostaklu biex id-deċiżjonijiet li jiġu mittieħda ikunu tali li jirrispettaw id-dinjita’ umana tal-immigranti f’kull ħin.

Ippubblikat f’ iNews : It-Tnejn 28 t’Ottubru 2013

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Il-Greċja …. fi ġlieda bejn Franza u l-Ġermanja

Il-Greċja qegħda f’nofs ġlieda bejn Franza u l-Ġermanja minħabba s-suq tal-armamenti!

 F’artiklu f’Der Spegel International intitolat : France to sell Frigates to Greece in Controversial Deal  jingħataw id-dettalji ta’ ftehim dwar bejgħ ta’ vapuri tal-gwerra minn Franza lill-Greċja. Dan il-bejgħ ser isir bi skont sostanzjali inkluż sospensjoni tal-pagamenti għal 5 snin minħabba l-qagħda finanzjara tal-Greċja. Il-vapuri tal-gwerra inbnew mill-kumpanija statali Franċiża DCNS.

 Dawn il-vapuri tal-gwerra jiswew $412 miljun il-wieħed.

 Hekku Franza solidali mal-Greċja !

Danger …………….. on our doorstep

published in Environment Supplement

Sunday April 17, 2011

 

Less than 100 kilometres to Malta’s North West Silvio Berlusconi’s Government wants to construct a nuclear reactor. It is to be constructed on Sicily’s southern coast in the vicinity of the locality of Palma di Montechiaro. This nuclear reactor is one of  a number of reactors which Berlusconi’s government plans to be constructed on Italian territory: one in Sicily, one in Sardegna, five in the North, three in the Central area and two in Southern Italy.

This is a political decision that the Italian Government took in summer of 2008 as a result of which it reversed the decision taken at a 1987 referendum when on the morrow of the Chernobyl disaster Italians overwhelmingly rejected nuclear energy.

On the 11 and12 June 2011 Italians will be called to the polls once more in a second attempt to reject nuclear energy, this time on the morrow of another nuclear disaster : that at Fukushima. It is a referendum which seeks to reverse Berlusconi’s nuclear policy.

The Chernobyl disaster which affected 40% of European territory was way back in 1986 shrugged off as being the result of human error as well as outdated Soviet technology. The same cannot be said of the Japanese.

EU Energy Commissioner Günther Oettinger is on record stating that Fukushima has caused him to start doubting nuclear energy. Oettinger, former Prim Minister of the German State of Baden-Württemberg, in an interview with Der Spiegel International which was published on April 4, 2011 stated “I have nothing but respect for Japan’s abilities when it comes to industry and technology. That’s why Fukushima has been such a turning point for me. It has made me start to doubt. If the Japanese cannot master this technology, then nuclear energy conceals risks that I didn’t see before.”

All over the world countries are having second thoughts on whether to keep making use of nuclear energy. German voters in the states of Baden-Württemberg and Rhineland Palatinate took the lead by flocking in their thousands in support of the Greens earlier this month, as a result delivering a clear message to Angela Merkel’s CDU. The CDU lost control of the state of Baden-Württemberg for the first time. Moreover the Greens being the leading party in the state coalition will now provide the first ever Green Prime Minister of the state of Baden-Württemberg. The Green-Red coalition in Rhineland Palatinate has been reinforced by the Green gains at the polls.

The nuclear power station which Berlusconi’s government is projecting in Palma di Montechiaro is to be sited in an area which has a seismic history. The earthquake of 1693 not only completely destroyed South Eastern Sicily but also caused considerable damage in the Maltese islands. One could say that this was a long time ago but then can anyone guarantee that there would not be a repeat ?  The opposite seems to be quite probable.

On Monday Italian newspaper Il Sole 24 Ore carried a report on Japanese geologist Dr Masanobu Shishikura who way back in August 2010 had concluded that the Fukushima area had already experienced a number of earthquakes and tsunamis in the past. He identified a possible cycle and concluded  last August that it was not to be excluded that in the near future a repetition was due.    

A nuclear accident just 100 km North of the Maltese islands is certainly not something anyone would wish for. Hopefully it would never happen. But if a nuclear power station were to be sited at Palma di Montechiaro it would be a possibility depending on the movement of the geological plates. No one will give us the date when this will happen. Hence it stands to reason that constructing a nuclear power station on such a site is a very risky business. Italian planners consider that it is a reasonable risk as providing electricity is in their view more important than the risk which the whole of the central Mediterranean would be subjected to.  

In view of what happened at Fukushima no one can say that he is not aware of the consequences. A consideration which, I do not doubt will weigh heavily on the minds of Italian voters when they cast their ballot next June rejecting nuclear energy one more time.

Risk and use of nuclear energy

 

published Saturday April 16, 2011

 

The Fukushima nuc­lear disaster occur­red as a result of the tsunami. The earthquake measuring 9.0 on the Richter scale did not cause any direct damage to the nuclear installation.

The Fukushima nuclear reactor was (according to various reports) designed after taking into consideration the frequency and strength of earthquakes and tsunamis in the region. The strength of the earthquake and the impacts of the tsunami were substantially more than what was taken into consideration at the drawing board. The point at issue is whether, in view of the possible (and eventual) impacts resulting from a failure of the reactor’s cooling systems, the risk taken as a result of the design assumptions was justified.

After the Fukushima happenings, German Chancellor Angela Merkel changed her opinion on nuclear energy turning around 180 degrees in the space of a few months.

The European Commissioner for Energy, Günther Oettinger, former CDU Minister President of the German land of Baden-Württemberg, stated in an interview with Der Spiegel International that “Fukushima has made me start to doubt”.  He added: “when Chernobyl happened, we in the west were comforted by the fact that it was the result of outdated Soviet technology and human error. But I have nothing but respect for Japan’s abilities when it comes to industry and technology. That’s why Fukushima has been such a turning point for me. It has made me start to doubt. If the Japanese cannot master this technology, then nuclear energy conceals risks I didn’t see before.”

That says it all. The Fukushima nuclear incident is the direct result of the “risk society”, which acts on the basis of the probability of a particular event happening.

Notwithstanding advances in technology and human knowledge, there will always be an unresolved element of risk when adopting technological solutions to cater for human needs. The risk can be reduced but it will never be eliminated. As Dr Oettinger himself states, at the end of the day, in the case of a nuclear power plant, faced with the residual risk, “either you accept this residual risk or you shut down”.

To date, various governments took the risk. After Fukushima, a number are coming to their senses and are adopting the option to shut down. After the recent thrashing at the polls, Chancellor Merkel’s CDU too has changed course and has reluctantly started moving towards adopting a “green” nuclear policy!

There have been four major nuclear disasters since the late 1950s. The first took place in Windscale UK in 1957; the second at Harrisburg US (Three Mile Island) in 1979; the third occurred at Chernobyl, Ukraine in 1986 and Fukushima was the fourth.

In addition to the above, there have been a countless number of other “small” incidents and a number of near misses. In France alone there are about 700 minor incidents every year, most of which go unreported.

Kenzaburo Oe is a Japanese Nobel Laureate having received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1995. In an essay published in the New Yorker on March 28, entitled Tokyo Postcard. History Repeats, he states that the use of nuclear energy in Japan is a betrayal of the Hiroshima victims.

He says: “Like earthquakes, tsunamis and other natural calamities, the experience of Hiroshima should be etched into human memory: it was even more dramatic a catastrophe than those natural disasters precisely because it was man-made. To repeat the error by exhibiting, through the construction of nuclear reactors, the same disrespect for human life is the worst possible betrayal of the memory of Hiroshima’s victims.”

Nuclear technology disrespects life as it has been shown time and again not only to be unsafe to use but also that it places whole regions and eco-systems at risk.

While, later this month, the 25th anniversary of the Chernobyl disaster will be commemorated it is pertinent to ask whether any lessons have been learnt. Chernobyl was considered as being an exception easily explained by the then Soviet Union’s state of technological development. Fuku­shima is a different kettle of fish: Japanese precision and technological knowledge is second to none.

The question, however, remains that, at the end of the day, some event that has not been given sufficient weight in design considerations happens. Be it the earthquake’s strength, a tsunami’s force or the frequency of adverse weather conditions. Engineering ethics permit this as it is accepted practice that one cannot design for all eventualities.

This is the risk society that plays games with our lives. The risk society does not consider life as being sufficiently worthy of protection. It only weighs probabilities and projects these into costs.

In this scheme of things life is worthless, hence, the validity of the observation of Kenzaburo Oe that the use of nuclear energy disrespects human life and is possibly its worst betrayal.

Nuclear energy? No thanks!