What have we done to this sweet land, the mother that gave us our name? What have we done to our country, to our society? What happened to us?

How did we become a nation that kills journalists? How did we become a country where people are killed because of the colour of their skin? At what point in time did we trade our traditional sense of hospitality for hatred? When did we become our worst fear?

Lassana Cisse was murdered last month.Lassana Cisse was murdered last month.

Throughout my life there were times when I was disappointed, angered and disillusioned by things that happened in Malta.

But deep down I had faith. I trusted the Maltese people to do the right thing, to be able to choose good over evil. That trust is fast-fading away. We have changed and in many ways that change is not for the better.

The death of Lassana Cisse is yet another wake-up call for this country, a call that should not go unheeded. Sadly, there will be many among us who will press the snooze button and return to the slumber, hoping that the next wake-up call will not be coming around too soon.

Just like Gregor Samsa in Franz Kafka’s Metamorphosis, we think that if we sleep a little bit longer we can forget all this nonsense. We can forget who we became while we were asleep.

The sad truth is that we have become immune to what is happening around us.

We have become immune to environmental degradation. We have become immune to corruption. We have become immune to the paralysed State institutions. We have become immune to the sense of neglect and ugliness that is settling in all around us. We have become immune to slavery that is underpinning our economic “success”.

Mahatma Gandhi once advocated positive thinking, saying that we should not think that all the oceans are polluted just because we see a drop of dirty water.

The trouble with this kind of thinking is that by being positive we have allowed the oceans to become a cesspit, literally and metaphorically. And this is what is happening in Malta.

This is a cry of despair to a country, to a nation that has lost all sense of normality

By trying to focus on the positives, we are allowing the rot to spread. We are allowing the damage to fester. Just like in The Matrix film, we have taken the pill that allows us to see only a made-up reality. We need to reject this let’s-be-positive-about everything mentality. We need to find once again our sense of anger, we need to become enraged. We need to wake up from the comatose state we are in.

I find it incomprehensible that the Minister for Home Affairs did not offer his resignation following the arrest and charge of the two suspects being members of the Armed Forces falling under his political responsibility. It was the right thing to do in the circumstances.

The Prime Minister should have been given the option to consider the offer, by ensuring that the army is not guilty of any grave errors in this tragic affair.

There are questions that need to be answered by the army, questions on recruitment procedures and suitability assessments on the people we are trusting with our protection.

The army was recently the subject of an Ombudsman’s report. In that report, the Ombudsman said that the way army promotions were being handled was damaging our democracy. The army, like most other State institutions, has become an extension of the political arm of government and therefore by definition, responsibility for any shortcoming by these State institutions needs to be carried by the politician. This is what would have happened in any other democracy.

Last year, Ján Kuciak and his fiancé Martina Kušnírová were shot at close range in their own home in Slovakia. Their death led to the resignation of Prime Minister Robert Fico and his cabinet. This is what happens in a country that cares, in a country that is not hooked on positivity. This is what happens in a democracy.

This is not an attempt to score a political point. I wish that it was. This is a cry of despair to a country, to a nation that has lost all sense of normality.

There is only one hope for our country. That hope is in our young generation. I hope, I pray that they find it in themselves to stand up and send us all to the hell we all deserve.

I hope that they do what all young generations should do and rebel against the status quo. I hope that they will be the first to wake up. I hope that they will bring about the change that we so desperately need.

Until that happens, ours is no longer a country of love.

Mario de Marco is a Nationalist Party MP.

This is a Times of Malta print opinion piece


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