Black is generally the colour of the thousands of persons who are fleeing their countries because of poverty, hardship and suffering. Blue is the sea that separates them from the hope of a better future, and for many, it is the watery grave where nature lays them to rest.

White Europe, on the opposite shores, looks on and argues about political responsibilities, burden-sharing and ways and means to push them back. Many white Europeans, who reject these fellow human beings, forget that their disastrous political and economic situations were, initially at least, created by European colonial powers.

These are economic migrants with a difference: their governments are so corrupt that a few take up all the wealth in the country and leave very little to the people.

In some cases, children are gang-pressed into being child soldiers. In others, the army robs people of their crops and lands when the troops are hungry.

In other situations, people move to towns in the hope of making a better living and find themselves living in houses made out of tins that they have to flatten to form walls. Nobody in their right mind would leave their family and land, cross deserts, risk rape, ambush or even slavery simply to come and earn a few more pennies.

The situation they face must be so hopeless that they are forced to leave. When Maltese migrants left for Australia and America, they only left because there seemed to be no other alternative to alleviate their poverty. These people are in a worse situation; moreover, they also have to face added discrimination because they cannot paint themselves white.

White is the colour that our financial regulators are trying to paint themselves in. Suddenly, and it would seem only because the US financial regulator and American courts are calling them to task, they have felt the urge to write to the European Central Bank to ask them to revoke the licence they themselves granted to Pilatus Bank.

When Maltese migrants left for Australia and America, they only left because there seemed to be no other alternative to alleviate their poverty

Let us not forget that one of our own Maltese nationals, Jonathan Ferris, denounced the situation more than six months ago and was never granted whistleblower status. The authority then argued that it needed “systemic proof” of money laundering to be able to revoke a licence but, it would appear, never really acted upon this until the American authorities blew the whistle themselves.

The Maltese authority is only now des-cribing Pilatus’ situation as a mess, having repeatedly ignored warnings from Ferris and Daphne Caruana Galizia. It leads one to wonder what has happened to the Pilatus accounts of people such as Keith Schembri and Konrad Mizzi, and other bearers whose real identity remains suspect. Have they managed to clear them, or are they too undergoing the ‘forensic audit’ to ensure their money is not tainted?

White is also the colour that drains all other colour out of the faces of our legal immigrant workers – due to sheer tiredness, frustration and anger – when they venture into Identity Malta or for screening to the health centre in Qormi (which is not even authorised to hand out numbers for the queue).

There, they have to face a handful of seriously overworked employees who have to attend to far too many people to have any remaining trace of empathy, although some of them do try their very best, while others abuse the little power that is given to them. 

The lists of papers on the internet that people have to take with them does not match the umpteen requirements that are sprung on them once they have faced a minimum of three-to-four-hour queues at least twice, and generally more.

Green is the colour that we will soon be able to see only in pictures and on clothes if the current drive to demolish Malta’s trees continues.

Having seen the trees removed in Paola Square and the unprofessional way in which the trees at Castille Square were being ‘replanted’ – which meant that they all died in less than six months – I have great doubts about the seriousness of replanting efforts in Malta.

Moreover, I think it is scandalous that tree stumps should be covered up to pretend that nothing has changed, as was the case in December 13 Road in Marsa.

Perhaps one should prescribe spectacles to the people who had this ludicrous idea, as the rest of us have eyes to see and notice the absence of trees where they once stood.

And what about the trees in gardens that are mercilessly being chopped down to build flats? There is a tree, more than three storeys high, just opposite my back balcony, and I wonder how long my neighbours and I shall continue to enjoy it and the birds that nest in it. 

Perhaps our politicians are so intent on painting these islands red, or struggling to put in more blue, that they have forgotten there are other colours in the rainbow.

Vicki Ann Cremona is associate professor in theatre studies, head of the Departmentof Dance Studies and chair, School of Performing Arts, University of Malta.