Malta
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We are not revolting

The best attribute of a book about France called The French are revolting is its punning title. The French aren’t really that horrid but they do revolt, burn cars and set up barricades for the least reason.

They might take their revolting, and their total disregard of law, order and politicians, slightly too close to anarchy.

But those in power know they cannot mess around with the French people. The authorities, even if they deploy their law-and-order, baton-wielding forces rather too freely, are kept on their toes at all times.

In France, protesters often resort to a rampage, even at the hint of a slight problem. In Malta we protest only if we are on the verge of starvation. Even then we do it worrying about the consequences of showing our true colours. Better starve than betray our loyalty to the unwritten, but dominant, strand of omertà.

One of the latest protests took place in the best piece of real estate in Malta: Sliema. At least that’s what the kings of property always say: Sliema is the best place to own your own patch.

However, living here in this real estate paradise, as the protestors screamed, is not paradisical.

The protest was hardly attended by a multitude. I wasn’t there, so I am as guilty as all those revolting characters of this isle who say much and do little. Most of the attendees were as old and doddering as me and most would, as I would too, run as fast as they could if they were booed a little too loudly.

Even if Sliema, as some tell us, is an ever-ageing population, you’d imagine all of us living here would have not just attended but tried getting our children, relatives and anyone connected to us to attend, to vent our displeasure at our quality of life.

After all, if we, the Slimiżi of today, have little in the way of future for ourselves because of our age, we should make sure we keep the value of our properties as high as possible.

We do this for the sake of those who will come after us, who still have a future to plan and a life full of vitality.

Like the Sliema debacle, on a national scale our protests are either not happening and when they do happen are not worth noting.

Sliema’s problems are rats, filth, congestion, air quality, terrible road management, over-development, bad roads, unusable or inexistent pavements, lack of greenery and open spaces, traffic congestion, maddening noise levels and a whole array of problems which are not being tackled at all.

And all these problems are growing out of all manageable proportions.

To a great extent, Malta’s problems are mirrored in Sliema’s. Additionally, on the national level is corruption beyond belief; impunity of all top people involved in lies, scandals and crime; rivers of cash being passed on to people in top positions who have no clue what they should be doing; institutions which are not functioning; police non-intervention; national broadcasting turned into a propaganda tool; lack of vision.

We moan away and accept everything that is hurled at us- Victor Calleja

And yet, hardly one of us is out in the streets complaining. Nobody is verbally attacking the police commissioner, the prime minister, his stooges in cabinet. Hardly anyone hurls insults, much less cobblestones; not one crane from the hundreds spoiling our vistas is ever toppled over. Or, to remain civil and non-violent, not one crane has been draped in skull and bones.

Few eggs, pies or coins are thrown towards those who should be giving us a better life instead of the frightening future we are facing.

Even when the news broke out that a former MP, a doctor, was allegedly caught falsifying certificates in a mega social security scam, allegedly with the support of MPs and Labour Party functionaries, few demanded resignations, inquiries, investigations. Not one Labour affiliate has cried shame and resigned from the party.

The party in opposition seems cowered into its bubble of inadequacy. To be fair, the PN did organise a protest about the latest scandal to hit the island. But the attendance was worse than poor.

The PN is, as the party leaders themselves always tell us, in dire financial straits. But even in the idea sphere they are bankrupt, indecisive, inept and inactive.

They should be out on the streets at all times, finding ways to drag the masses out, leading us in our anger, charging away at the people in power who seem more and more invincible and corrupt to the core.

We, and I include myself, sitting here doing nothing but writing my piece of gibberish, are revolting.

We are revolting because instead of being angry and doing something about it, we moan away and accept everything that is hurled at us.

Victor Calleja is a former publisher.