A recent opinion piece said the Gozitan identity can only be salvaged with a permanent link. I beg to differ. It is we Maltese who are not cherishing what makes us Maltese.

When planning is driven by what developers dictate and many decisions at the Planning Authority seem to want to destroy the Maltese village and connect the villages in Gozo and Malta together and continue expanding outwards, we are ringing the death knell for Malta.

Let us imagine the Ċittadella or Mdina with a skyscraper as a background. Truly picturesque!

Real statisticians can navigate their way through mined areas and do a balancing act of being electable and leave a legacy of sustainability. At the pace we are going, we will not have any open spaces left.

When we do not cherish our Maltese language, something unique for such a small nation, we are throwing our Maltese identity to the dogs.

It is unbelievable that the government does not organise a festival for Maltese songs. It always has to be organisations like YTC to continue believing in the Maltese language and its versatility and help in the transmission of sane values.

When we are so slow to upgrade our recycling of waste and when the only idea of disposing of construction waste is the reclamation of land, we are really to be pitied. If it comes to that we should start exporting our construction waste.

 And why did our Maltese limestone gain international heritage only now, when we will soon run out of it? We seem to have this talent of first gobbling up the resource and then celebrating it by naming a street after it or writing a song about it.

Protest songs have become so rare these days here in Malta. So there is a Carob Street where once stood massive carob trees.

When we do not cherish our Maltese language, something unique for such a small nation, we are throwing our Maltese identity to the dogs

Why don’t we use our voice in Europe to make big corporations behave as they should and plan a product that it can be easily recycled? Why don’t we upgrade our war on single-use plastic? Why can plant pests enter so easily in Malta?

When we import so much foreign workers and increase the population in an already overpopulated country, we cannot cope with this massive influx.  We should plan for an economy that does not function on cheap labour.

Sustainable development also means that we teach our children the value of manual skills and the pride in one’s work and not the greed for money.

When laws and rules are made but some can blatantly break them, we are creating a chaos. When the government is afraid to implement what is needed, we are nurturing a spoilt child who will become a monster when s/he comes of age. 

Look at the jungle of undulating pavements we have. Look at the many people who funnel rainwater into the sewers instead of having an underground storage. Look at all the boreholes of farmers and hotels, happily pumping brackish water, bored illegally and then given legality with the approval of both big political parties.

Why do we not make more family- friendly measures so Maltese families can have more children? The idea of a family wage advocated by the late Archbishop Joseph Mercieca has become a scandal if proposed. Is it healthy for the Maltese identity if one spouse has to do two jobs and the other spouse at least one job to just get by?

Why is our educational system failing a sizeable proportion of our children? Why don’t we celebrate multiple intelligences? Why does a sizeable proportion of children at our schools get the feeling that they are failures?

I am not talking here about boosting fake self-esteem because that creates complacency. Why is there the need for all these private lessons, which has become such a big black market?

Why are we thwarting people from living in a democracy? Without independent media, without free access to information, with people who are not honed to think critically, with a still colonial mentality of trying to get what one can and to heck to the good of future Malta, when institutions are weak, when there are no real checks and balances, when we substitute justice for charity, when we need to use pique to mobilise people, we are creating great inequalities and have remained rooted in tribalism and colonialism.

When tilling the land is no longer seen as something noble, when we try to exterminate every living thing to grow that cabbage, when we foster an environment of impunity to those who destroy the natural environment, we are administering suicide to ourselves without being aware of it.

Joe Portelli is an educator from Gozo.

This is a Times of Malta print opinion piece


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