It’s hard to believe what this tiny, practically barren small rock has achieved over the years. Meeting foreigners, especially those based in Malta who all, or nearly all, speak highly of us and our little spot in the Med, makes me so proud.

Even abroad we transmit a great vibe. We’re seen as industrious and welcoming, with a good product not just as a tourist destination but as a business centre.

Outsiders do not usually take much of an interest in the political scene—they observe our squabbles, laugh and move on. They find it perplexing that we revere politicians and their silliness and take national elections so seriously.

This is a far cry from the times of old—actually just 30 years ago, in the ′80s—when most of us, sane folk all, hated owning up to living here, when we were the laughing stock of many. We’ve come a long way and it took a lot of effort, work and a determined change of attitude.

Yesterday I was shocked to hear someone who loved living here say he is glad he will be leaving the island soon. He couldn’t believe what has happened to the spirit of the law in these last few days.

He isn’t leaving only because of Malliagate and the shambles of a near-fatal shooting and its horrific cover-up sponsored by the state or state functionaries. But it helped foster a feeling of fear, of feeling uneasy in his surroundings, of not feeling as secure as he and his family felt before the incident.

This is just one person—and his voice might be as lonely as that of a man in the wild wilderness. But it should send a few shivers down some backs, not in awe of what we have achieved, but from fear of how quickly all we achieved, all we have striven for, can come crumbling down.


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