Ċaħda tal-intolleranza

Nhar il-Ħamis li għadda, flimkien ma uffiċjali oħra tal-Alternattiva Demokratika, attendejt fil-lokalità ta’ San Ġwann għal ċerimonja qasira imma simbolika li tfakkar l-40 anniversarju tal-qtil ta’ Karin Grech b’ittra bomba nhar it-28 ta’ Diċembru tal-1977. Din iċ-ċerimonja kienet organizzata mill-Partit Laburista, u ilha tkun organizzata sena wara l-oħra sa mill-1978.

Iktar kmieni matul dan l-istess xahar għamilt l-istess fil-Gudja fil-wieħed u tletin anniversarju tal-qtil ta’ Raymond Caruana, ċerimonja dakinnhar organizzata mill-Partit Nazzjonalista.

Il-parteċipazzjoni tiegħi u tal-Alternattiva Demokratika fiż-żewġ ċerimonji ta’ kommemorazzjoni ma saritx biex iżżomm xi bilanċ artifiċjali imma għax hu meħtieġ li dawn il-grajjiet infakkruhom flimkien. Possibilment ilkoll flimkien. Huwa hekk biss li jista’ jasal ċar u bl-aħjar mod il-messaġġ taċ-ċaħda tal-intolleranza. Sakemm il-Partit Laburista u l-Partit Nazzjonalista jibqgħu jagħmlu l-kommemorazzjoni għal rashom ser nibqgħu lura. Nittama li ma nistennewx wisq li nħottu l-firdiet partiġjani biex flimkien niftakru f’dawk li l-intolleranza ħasditilhom ħajjithom.

Il-weġgħa tal-familji ta’ Karin Grech u Raymond Caruana hi ferm ikbar minn weġgħa privata ikkawżata minn telfa ta’ bint jew iben, ħajja innoċenti ta’ żagħżugħ jew żagħżugħa. Hi weġgħa tal-pajjiż kollu. Hi għalhekk weġgħa tagħna lkoll. Ilkoll flimkien għandna l-obbligu li niftakru f’dak li wassal għall-qerda ta’ ħajjithom bit-tama li nagħmlu ħilitna biex ma jkunx hemm ripetizzjoni.

Hu għalhekk importanti li bil-presenza tagħna f’dawn il-kommemorazzjonijiet nagħtu xhieda taċ-ċaħda tal-intolleranza billi nħottu biċċa oħra, anke jekk żgħira, tal-ħajt li jifred dan il-pajjiż fi tribujiet ostili.

Dan hu pajjiż li kapaċi jalterna bejn mumenti ta’ solidarjetà eċċezzjonali ma mumenti ta’ ostilità bla qies. Mumenti ta’ sensittività għal dak li għaddej minnu ħaddieħor u waqtiet ta’ vjolenza bla qies. Kuntrarjament għal dak li jgħidu, din hi r-realtà tal-pajjiż. Iż-żewġ avvenimenti li kkomemorajna dan ix-xahar huma differenti fis-sens li huma frott ta’ ċirkustanzi kompletament differenti li żviluppaw fil-pajjiż fuq spazju ta’ għaxar snin bejn l-1977 u l-1987.

Il-qtil ta’ Karin Grech hu bla dubju assoċjat mat-tilwima industrijali tal-Gvern mat-tobba, liema tilwima damet tkarkar snin twal. Il-qtil ta’ Raymond Caruana min-naħa l-oħra hu frott it-tensjoni politika li żviluppat fil-pajjiż fil-bidu tas-snin tmenin u li bħala riżultat tagħha kien hawn ġgajtiet ta’ bulijiet li ppretendew li jagħmlu li jridu.

Is-similarità bejn il-każi hi l-ħasda ta’ ħajjiet innoċenti u l-fatt li l-investigazzjoni tal-Pulizija baqgħet mhux konkluża. Mhux għax il-Pulizija ma ippruvawx! Tant ippruvaw li f’kaz minnhom anke ippruvaw frameup bħalma jixhed il-kaz ta’ Pietru Pawl Busuttil.

Imma fortunatament dak hu passat, li fuqu għaddew iktar minn 30 sena! Nittama li jibqa’ passat u li niftakru fih biss biex nippruvaw nifhmu fejn wasslet l-intolleranza fostna.

Differenzi fostna ser jibqa’ jkollna. Uħud naslu biex insolvuhom imma oħrajn jibqgħu jkarkru. Irridu nagħmlu sforzi ikbar biex dawn id-differenzi ma nħalluhomx jikbru u nippruvaw insolvuhom b’metodi ċivili.

Id-differenzi fil-fehmiet jissolvew biss bid-djalogu u d-diskussjoni li għandhom ikunu u jibqgħu l-pern tal-proċess demokratiku. Il-vjolenza u azzjonijiet li jwasslu għaliha qatt ma jistgħu jitħallew jgħollu rashom.

ippubblikat f’Illum: 31 ta’ Diċembru 2017

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The intolerance in our midst

 

Last Thursday, I led a number of officers of Alternattiva Demokratika-The Green Party, at a short yet symbolic ceremony in San Ġwann commemorating Karin Grech, murdered by a letter bomb 40 years ago on 28 December 1977. The ceremony was organised by the Labour Party, as it has been continuously since 1978.

Earlier in December, I participated in a similar ceremony in Gudja on the 31st anniversary of the murder of Raymond Caruana, a ceremony organised by the Nationalist Party.

Alternattiva Demokratika’s participation in these two commemorative ceremonies is not an attempt to create a fictitious balance. Rather, it is an effort to underline the wish that such activities should be owned by all political families – all of whom should participate. It is the only way to send the clear message that there is no room for intolerance in our midst. With the Nationalist Party and the Labour Party continuing to organise these yearly commemorations as party activities, there is still a long way to go. There is no room for partisanship in commemorating the victims of intolerance.

The pain inflicted on the families of Karin Grech and Raymond Caruana is much greater than that caused by the loss of a daughter or a son: it is a pain inflicted on the whole country – it is our loss, too. It is thus our collective duty to remember what led to this loss, hoping that this remembrance will lead to the possible avoidance of the same mistakes.

By being present at such commemorative events, we bear witness to a determination to avoid intolerance through the dismantling of our own Berlin wall, the demarcation line of two hostile tribes.

This country is capable of alternating between moods of solidarity without any limits and moods of extreme hostility, alternating between being extremely sensitive to the needs of others to witnessing violence of the worst kind. Contrary to what some try to portray, this is the real Malta.

The two commemorations to which I am referring are different, as they are the consequence of different circumstances which developed in Malta in the 10 years between 1977 and 1987.

Karin Grech’s murder is undoubtedly associated with the doctors’ dispute which continued over a long period. On the other hand, Raymond Caruana’s murder was the result of the political tensions that engulfed the country during the 1980s, as a result of which the groups of thugs that roamed the streets dissipated the feeling that they laid down the rules.

The similarity between the two is the loss of innocent lives and the inconclusive police investigations. The police cannot be blamed for lack of trying, because in one of the cases it was proved in Court that the Police even tried – unsuccessfully – to frame an innocent person: Pietru Pawl Busuttil.

Fortunately that is the past – more than 30 years ago. I sincerely hope that its use will be restricted to reminding us of the fruit of intolerance.

Notwithstanding our efforts, we will still have plenty of differences – some of which we will resolve but others that will remain in the pending tray for some time. Our efforts must focus on ensuring that we try to solve our differences in a civil manner.

Dialogue should be our primary tool. It is possible: it is the basis of the democratic process.

published in The Malta Independent on Sunday : 31 December 2017

Dal-għodu, tifkira ta’ Raymond Caruana

Fl-anniversarju tal-qtil ta’ Raymond Caruana fil-5 ta’ Diċembru tal-1986, dal-għodu għan-nom ta’ Alternattiva Demokratika poġġejt fjuri fuq il-qabar ta’ Raymond Caruana fiċ-ċimiterju tal-Gudja.

Huwa importanti li niftakru f’dawn l-anniversarji biex inżommu f’moħħna li d-djalogu u d-diskussjoni għandhom ikunu u jibqgħu l-pern tal-proċess demokratiku. Il-vjolenza u azzjonijiet li jwasslu għaliha qatt ma jistgħu jitħallew jgħollu rashom.

L-istorbju madwarna

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Nhar il-Ġimgħa li għaddiet, kmieni fil-għodu, bosta residenti ta’ Marsaxlokk u Birżebbuġa qamu maħsudin bi ħsejjes li bdew jinstemgħu għall-ħabta tas-sitta ta’ fil-għodu, liema ħsejjes baqgħu għaddejjin għal ftit minuti. S’issa, wara li għaddew iktar minn tlett ijiem għad mhux magħruf x’kien il-kawża ta’ dawn il-ħsejjes ħlief li dawn oriġinaw mill-inħawi tal-power station ta’ Delimara.

Għar-residenti ta’ Birżebbuġa din mhiex xi esperjenza ġdida għax f’Birżebbuġa  ilhom is-snin jisimgħu l-ħsejjes matul il-lejl: ħsejjes ġejjin mid-direzzjoni tal-Port Ħieles. Ħsejjes ikkawżati minn containers li jaħbtu jew jistabtu huma u jkunu qed jiġu mċaqalqa minn post għall-ieħor, inkella ħsejjes ikkawżati mill-generators tal-vapuri mal-mollijiet tal-Port Ħieles.

Ir-residenti ta’ Birżebbuġa, kif ukoll dawk ta’ diversi lokalitajiet fil-madwar, kemm matul il-lejl kif ukoll matul il-jum iridu jissaportu ukoll il-ħsejjes tal-ajruplani nieżla għall-mitjar Internazzjonali ta’ Malta fil-Gudja. Dawn l-ajruplani ħafna drabi jkunu l-iktar qrib il-bini meta jkunu għaddejjin minn fuq iż-żona residenzjali  tal-Papa f’Birżebbuġa.

Ir-residenti tal-Isla (u dawk ta’ Bormla) ilhom jilmentaw ukoll mill-ħsejjes matul il-lejl ġejjin mit-Tarżna ta’ Palumbo. Ħsejjes ġejjin mill-grit blasting li jkun għaddej matul il-lejl fit-tarżna, inkella minn xogħol ta’ tiswija ta’ vapuri jew ta’ oil rigs. Ħsejjes li ma jħalluhomx jorqdu.

Pajjiżna hu żgħir fid-daqs. L-ispazju li naħdmu fih hu ristrett u allura kull ħidma li issir fih bil-fors li jkollha impatt fuq l-inħawi tal-madwar li huma viċin wisq ta’ xulxin.

Uħud qed jargumentaw li dawn l-ilmenti kollha kontra l-ħsejjes huma ta’ theddida għall-għixien tal-familji li jiddependu għall-ħobża ta’ kuljum tagħhom mit-Tarżna ta’ PaIumbo, inkella mill-Port Ħieles jew mill-mitjar Internazzjonali tal-Gudja.

Għall-bosta snin l-awtoritajiet tal-pajjiż (kif ukoll il-management ta’ dawn l-azjendi) ġew jaqgħu u jqumu mill-fatt li l-gwadann ekonomiku ta’ dawn l-azjendi qed isir għad-detriment tar-residenti madwarhom, li lejl u nhar iridu jissaportu impatti kbar fuq ħajjithom. Impatti li qed iħallu effett fuq saħħithom u l-kwalità tal-ħajja tagħhom u tal-familji tagħhom.

Il-mistoqsija li teħtieġ tweġiba hi : kemm jagħmel sens li din il-ħidma issir daqshekk viċin ta’ żoni residenzjali? It-tweġiba, ħafna drabi tkun li din l-attività ekonomika ilha għaddejja s-snin u li m’hemm imkien iktar fejn issir. Allura, qiesu jridu jgħidu li m’hemm xejn x’tagħmel. Jgħidulna li Malta ajruport wieħed għandna u li l-faċilitajiet għat-tarznari jew għall-Port Ħieles ma hemm imkien iktar fejn isiru jekk mhux fejn ġja qegħdin. Sfortunatament dan hu kollu minnu bħalma hu minnu ukoll li dawn il-faċilitajiet ġew żviluppati meta ħadd ma kien jagħti kaz tal-impatti fuq ir-residenti.

Imma allura, nistaqsi, jekk ta’ qabilna ma kienux jagħtu kaz għandna nibqgħu aħna ukoll ma nagħtux kaz? Jekk il-Gvernijiet u l-awtoritajiet tal-bieraħ għalqu għajnejhom u widnejhom, dawn għandhom jibqgħu b’għajnejhom u widejhom magħluqa illum ukoll? L-ewwel pass jista’ jkun li dawn l-azjendi, matul il-lejl, iwaqqfu l-ħidma tagħhom li tikkawża l-istorbju.

Il-Gvern mhux ser jiċċaqalaq jekk in-nies tibqa’ lesta li tissaporti. Jekk in-nies ma titkellimx iktar l-ebda Gvern jew awtorità m’hi ser tiċċaqlaq.

Jiddependi minnek ukoll li qed tisma’ jew taqra dawn il-kelmtejn jekk jittieħdux passi. Mela jekk xbajt tissaporti qum minn hemm u tkellem. Jekk ma tagħmilx hekk, ikun inutli toqgħod tgorr, għax ser jibqgħu jgħadduk biż-żmien.

The airport and its neighbours

3D aerial view of scheme.MIA 2015

 

Earlier this week, the management of Malta’s International Airport announced a €78 million investment programme, aimed at enlarging the terminal buildings, improving and upgrading existing facilities for the handling of passengers and  further developing a business hub.

The airport terminal at Gudja is Malta’s only such facility and so, to a certain extent, the further development of the existing capacity to handle the arrival and departure of passengers is essential. And yet, due to the limitations of size, the proximity of Gudja’s airport to the surrounding villages of Luqa, Gudja, Kirkop and Safi has to be borne in mind. Size limitations signify that even essential works will have an impact on the surrounding communities and thus have to be thought out carefully.

Its been over five years since MEPA has received a planning application for the consideration of an updated master-plan for Malta International Airport. PA5548/10 was submitted in November 2010. A previous version of the master-plan was approved in 1997 (PA5681/96) while another version, submitted in 2003 (PA5306/03), was withdrawn.

The latest proposed master-plan currently under consideration by MEPA includes provision for the enlargement of the terminal building to include additional facilities to handle passenger traffic as well as the construction of five new buildings for a range of commercial and leisure activities.

The proposed masterplan and the environmental planning statement (EPS) published late in 2014 for public consultation focus on the proposed business hub and emphasise that the well-established trend for international airports is to expand to “include ancillary business and retail facilities.”

The masterplan was fed by two studies commissioned by the Malta International Airport. The first – carried out by Locum Consulting – studied the office market in Malta and apparently concluded that the “high quality office stock supply” is limited in comparison to the existing demand.  An audit of the proposed masterplan was also carried out by Eriksson + Partner GmbH.

The EPS contains selective quotes from these two reports, but the reports themselves have not been made public. Both MEPA and MIA have resisted requests to publish these reports as they consider that they are commercial reports and do not contain information on environmental impact.

Malta’s only airport has its requirements. In particular, it needs to cater for the increasing number of passengers it handles. This year, the number of passengers handled has recently surpassed the 4.5 million mark. It will undoubtedly continue to rise and it stands to reason that the passenger-handling facilties, currently bursting at the seams, need to be upgraded.

What number of passengers is being planned for? What are the forecasts ? This information is not available as part of the documentation which has been published to date.

The inevitable increase in the number of passengers to be handled by MIA will have an impact on the surrounding area. The traffic generated, and the  emissions associated with this, will further deteriorate the air quality in the main roads leading to Gudja. There will also be an increase in noise pollution.

The Environment Planning Statement identified the Ħal-Farruġ Road/Qormi Road roundabout at Luqa as requiring upgrading  as a result of long-term traffic projections made. It did not, however, identify any other major traffic impact on the villages surrounding the airport. In particular, the EPS did not consider it relevant to consider that already, at this point in time, the residential area of Gudja – less than 50 metres away from the boundary of the airport carpark –  is being used by airport employees and passengers as an additional carpark, thereby creating an unnecessary burden on Gudja itself.

The current burden for the airport’s core functions, and the first phase of the Skyparks project, are primarily being borne by the communities of Luqa, Gudja, Kirkop and Safi.

Additional impact due to an increase in the airport’s core functions is unavoidable. But making matters worse through further development of the airport as a business hub is verging on sadistic. Gudja’s airport should not be compared to major airports when determining long-term functions, but rather to regional airports.

Given Malta’s size, practically all facilities are available within a 15-minute drive from the airport. It would hence make sense for the airport’s management to realise that the airport’s corporate social responsibility should not be limited to funding some restoration projects. It is about time that it focused on the fact that human beings reside in the surrounding villages. The airport’s contribution to Malta’s economic performance is welcome but this should not be at the expense of the quality of life of the surrounding communities.

published in The Malta Independent on Sunday, 27 December 2015

X’inhu ġej fl-ajruport tal-Gudja fl-2016?

MIA project 2016

Il-bieraħ tħabbar “investiment” fl-ajruport tal-Gudja. Qed jintqal li ser isir investiment ta’ €78 miljun fil-ħames snin li ġejjin biex jitkabbar it-terminal, jinbena blokk ieħor ta’ uffiċini għall-kiri (Skyparks2), lukanda kif ukoll żieda fiż-żona ta’ parkeġġ.

Is-sena l-oħra kellna l-Masterplan tal-airport fl-aħbarijiet li fih kien hemm proposti iktar estensivi. Il-proposti dakinnhar kienu jinkludu ukoll supermarket. Dan is-supermarket ma ssemmiex il-bieraħ imma fir-ritratti ippubblikati xorta jidher!

Ħadd ma jiddubita li t-terminal tal-ajruport qed isir żgħir. Issa ilu użat 24 sena u bil-kwantità ta’ nies li ġejjin u sejrin minn Malta jidher li wasal iż-żmien li jikber.

Imma tajjeb li jkun hemm iktar informazzjoni dwar dak li hu ippjanat għat-terminal: x’inhuma l-miri dwar il-kapaċità tiegħu? X’effett ser ikollu dan fuq iż-żoni residenzjali tal-madwar, b’mod partikolari fuq it-toroq?

Huwa ippjanat li l-airport jintuża ukoll bil-lejl? Kif hu mistenni li dan kollu jeffettwa lil dawk iż-żoni residenzjali li minn fuqhom jitilgħu jew jinżlu l-ajruplani?

Intqal li hu mistenni li jkun hemm deċiżjoni dwar l-applikazzjonijiet neċessarji matul l-2016, u allura dawn jidhru li ser ikunu uħud mill-issues prinċipali quddiem l-Awtorità tal-Ippjanar il-ġdida, s-sena d-dieħla.

ara ukoll fuq dan il-blog:  L-irħula madwar l-ajruport ta’ Malta.

L-irħula madwar l-ajruport ta’ Malta

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Il-Malta Today illum irrappurtat dwar l-iżvilupp propost fl-Airport Internazzjonali ta’ Malta.

Hemm applikazzjoni pendenti għal Masterplan li tinkludi diversi binjiet.

L-impatti ikkawżati minn dan l-iżvilupp ser ikun sostanzjali fuq il-komunitajiet madwar l-Airport u ċjoe fuq l-irħula ta’ Ħal-Luqa, l-Gudja, Ħal Kirkop u Ħal-Safi.

L-iżvilupp propost ser jiġġenera ħafna iktar traffiku fid-direzzjoni tal-ajruport u per konsegwenza iktar tniġġiż tal-arja.

L-airport ta’ Malta hu airport ta’ pajjiż żgħir, daqs wieħed reġjonali fil-kontinent Ewropew,  u ma jagħmilx sens li jkun fih facilitajiet bħall-ajruporti l-kbar tad-dinja. Il-facilitajiet provduti għandhom ikunu kompatibbli mad-daqs żgħir tal-pajjiż. Għandhom ukoll jieħdu in konsiderazzjoni li tefa ta’ ġebla l-bogħod hemm erbat irħula li fihom hemm diversi negożji żgħar. Kif ser jiġu effettwati dawn in-negozji żgħar? Din mhix biss materja ta’ kompetittivita’, imma fuq kollox hi materja ta’ infrastruttura ekonomika u soċjali fl-irħula tagħna li bi proġetti bħal dawn ser titmermer b’rata aċċellerata.

Fil-ġranet li ġejjin jagħlaq iż-żmien ta’ konsultazzjoni pubblika dwar ir-rapport li jikkonsidra l-impatt ambjentali. Imbagħad ikollna ċans li niddiskutu dan il-proġett f’iktar dettall.

L-ibliet u l-irħula tagħna għandhom bżonn inkoraġġiment biex isaħħu l-infrastruttura ekonomika u soċjali. L-iżvilupp veru ma jkissirhomx iżda jagħihom is-saħħa.

 

Politika tal-lanzit – frott il-paniku

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L-artiklu tal-lum ta’ Daphne Caruana Galizia f’ The Malta Independent on Sunday bit-titlu Choose Labour for a New Beginning hu tat-tqalliegħ tal-istonku. Kumbinazzjoni jikkumplimenta l-billboards li tella’ l-PN madwar Malta illum.Ma tistax tpoggi lill-membri parlamentari laburisti fl-istess keffa. L-istess jgħodd ghall-dawk tal-PN.Daphne tiftakar fl-artiklu tagħha stess ta’ nhar il-15 ta’ Lulju 2007 fil-Malta Independent (daily) intitolat : Get rid of him, for God’s sake dwar il-Ministru Jesmond Mugliett. Dak l-artiklu kienet ikkonkludietu bis-segwenti kliem :“The Transport Minister’s behaviour in sticking his neck out for his corrupt canvasser is one of the nails that will lose the battle for this government – because, in turn, it made the Prime Minister stick out his neck for him, and now look what’s happened.”  Jesmond Mugliett u uħud mill-Membri Parlamentari Laburisti li semmiet ma hemmx x’tagħżel. Fl-istess ilma qegħdin.Inħoss iżda b’mod partikolari li kienet inġusta ma’ Joe Brincat, Shadow Minister għall-Ambjent f’isem il-Partit Laburista. Tajjeb li ngħid li Joe Brincat kien il-Ministru responsabbli ghall-Housing fil-legislatura 1976-81 li beda l-attakk kontra l-favoritiżmu politiku fl-allokazzjoni tal-housing socjali.Tant kien effettiv li fil-Partit Laburista dakinnhar ħadmu kontrieh u ma irnexxielux jitla’ fil-Parlament ħlief b’elezzjoni każwali. Kien hu ukoll l-uniku wieħed mill-grupp parlamentari laburista li kien preżenti ghall-funeral ta’ Raymond Caruana f’Diċembru 1986 fil-Gudja. Jekk niftakar tajjeb kien akkumpanjat minn ibnu.B’mod pubbliku kien l-uniku wieħed mill-MLP li dakinnhar iddisassoċja ruħu mill-vjolenza politika. Dakinhar kien Deputy Leader tal-MLP.Bħal kull wieħed minna għandu d-difetti tiegħu u mhux dejjem qbilt ma dak li jgħid.Imma jkolli nghid li nippreferi elf Joe Brincat minn nies bħal Jesmond Mugliett.B’artikli bħal tal-lum Daphne qegħda tippropaga politika tal-lanżit.Dan hu kollu frott il-paniku.