Until the two main political parties continue "occupying" our lives, then there is little hope left for Malta.
Immanuel Mifsud is one of Malta’s top authors, teachers and columnists, but he says he is fast losing hope of a semblance of critical thinking ever given the space to breathe in Malta.
"We have two parties that have invaded our lives and they have no intention of leaving. Until they continue occupying our lives, I see little hope... The two are monsters, ultimately they run the show," he tells Times Talk.
Mr Mifsud, who won the European Prize for Literature in 2011, says he finds it ironic that politicians often highlight people's intelligence and sovereignty, yet persist in transmitting their propaganda through their media day and night.
The result – a system of patronage where the political parties have even infiltrated student council elections. It is reflected in the way people choose to remain silent even when there is ample to protest about.
We joined the EU and nothing changed, we changed a government after 25 years… and nothing changed
So should political parties close their media outlets?
"I would be a very happy man if that happens," he says.
"We were promised many changes. We joined the EU and nothing changed, we changed a government after 25 years… and nothing changed. Tribalism, hate speech have persisted. You get tired.”
He continues: "It's become taboo to criticise the people. When you do that you become a moaner, you become negative... so people expect you to remain positive."
Mr Mifsud rejects labels that the Mediterranean stereotype means the Maltese find it difficult to adapt and change and will continue with their deeply-entrenched polarisation, especially where it comes to politics.
"It's nothing more than an excuse. If that's the case, we're never going to evolve."
As much as people cite their right to freedom of expression, many do not even know what it means. He cites the example of the Charlie Hebdo terrorist attack, when hundreds of Maltese posted images and #JeSuisCharlie memes in solidarity without knowing what the magazine really stood for.
"People think freedom of expression means you either agree with what I'm saying or else that whatever I say is so correct and nobody is entitled to criticise me."
Watch the full interview in the video above.
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