Grow­ing pains

Many par­ents in Malta, un­til a short time ago, and pos­si­bly, even now, raised their chil­dren in a strong au­thor­i­tar­ian man­ner.

Malta Independent - - NEWS -

Rachel Borg is an in­de­pen­dent colum­nist based in the tourism in­dus­try

The “put-up” and “shutup” method, “be­cause I say so” has slowly passed its sell-by date. No­body wants to see dogs tied up in the back yard any­more, whin­ing and bark­ing all day. It is not neigh­bourly and it ex­poses fear and so­cial in­ad­e­quacy. For some, sadly, it re­mains the only out­let for their dom­i­neer­ing and know-it-all at­ti­tude. Chain the dog.

With em­pow­er­ment through ed­u­ca­tion, the younger gen­er­a­tions be­gan to wake up and see how they may have been mis­treated or mis­led. Grow­ing out of the pa­tri­ar­chal sys­tem at home, the con­scious­ness ex­tends to gov­ern­ments that ap­pear pa­tri­ar­chal to be re­placed with a sense of power, where the peo­ple be­come the gov­ern­ment.

Now those same peo­ple, young and not so young, who iden­ti­fied with a new be­lief sys­tem, are hard put to ad­mit they may be wrong in the trust they have put into the new or­der. Bet­ter to pre­tend that ev­ery­thing is ok. Nei­ther will they go meekly home and lis­ten to any­one tell them “I told you so”. That self-serv­ing ego is no longer valid.

The peo­ple in power, too, can­not be numb to the real ef­fects of their ac­tions any longer. Whilst they are out to lunch, they have no clue about priv­i­lege and how they oc­cupy it and are delu­sional about what re­al­ity is for the peo­ple. When this is pointed out to them they per­ceive con­fronta­tion and shout “neg­a­tive” and re­ject the idea that they them­selves per­pe­trated it, only to feel vic­timised.

Grow­ing up, emerg­ing from the shad­ows into the open, re­quires an aware­ness that sys­tem­atic abuses are ac­tu­ally oc­cur­ring. We need to iden­tify the na­ture of them, so we can con­tinue to grow and ad­mit where we have been let down.

For the present, Si­mon Busut­til is be­hind in the polls, on the trust rat­ings. His ef­forts to con­vince the work­ing and mid­dle classes, that the time for put-up and shut-up is over and that what he es­pouses now is a ma­ture and equal part­ner­ship be­tween the gen­eral body of peo­ple and a new and fair lead­er­ship, is still a ship out at sea. We could say that the mes­sage cre­ated at the last elec­tion, was never borne out dur­ing the course of this ad­min­is­tra­tion and in fact brought about its own fail­ure by not func­tion­ing at all in the way it was sup­posed to.

The premise be­hind that mes­sage was valid. Ac­tions say oth­er­wise.

It is now up to the peo­ple them­selves, to get a grip and grow up and have the courage and mind to ad­mit that they need to once again lis­ten to the sig­nals that are be­ing re­ceived, rather than believing that these sig­nals are mis­guided or in­valid.

How­ever com­fort­able they may be, liv­ing sur­rounded by al­le­ga­tions of cor­rup­tion, know­ing deep down that there is no deny­ing them, by be­com­ing sat­is­fied that a sar­donic smile says it all and there is no more need to an­a­lyse the prob­lem fur­ther, is a re­peat of the same cul­ture they grew up in, and re­jected ear­lier. In other words, they have sim­ply re­placed one neg­a­tive cul­ture with an­other.

Be­ing po­lite now, obey­ing party bosses and sweep­ing stuff un­der the rug is not an op­tion any­more. By tak­ing the op­por­tu­nity to con­sider the al­ter­na­tive that has come out of the whole po­lit­i­cal trans­for­ma­tion tak­ing place, they sim­ply give them­selves a chance to gain the very same equal­ity and dom­i­nance that they thought they had found in Joseph Mus­cat but which was not the gen­uine change. All of this, how­ever, re­quires an open mind and self crit­i­cism from a peo­ple who are cul­tur­ally un­equipped to do so, hav­ing al­ways had some­one else to think for them and be­ing told to sup­press their free mind be­cause it could lead to all sorts of trou­ble.

Malta is a small coun­try and fo­cus­ing on is­sues – the mir­cro – will never gen­er­ate a strong amount of fol­low­ers or have a wide im­pact. Opin­ion on any is­sue is split. But on the macro level, the PN need to go head to head with Labour. Not with the gov­ern­ment nec­es­sar­ily but with the party it will chal­lenge in the next elec­tion. What is the Labour party do­ing for peo­ple other than promis­ing jobs? What is the Labour party in power do­ing for the econ­omy? We have heard all sorts of glow­ing re­ports about how well the econ­omy is do­ing and so it may be. We still have not heard what is to hap­pen with Air Malta and there is men­tion of re­new­ing the pass­port scheme – hardly a good cer­tifi­cate for the econ­omy. So many news­pa­per and in­ter­net head­lines had re­ported that Malta was in fi­nan­cial dif­fi­culty and that was the rea­son for the pass­port scheme. So, in spite of the pos­i­tive re­ports on the econ­omy, we see the scheme be­ing ex­tended. Which can only mean that the econ­omy is not in the good shape it is meant to be in.

More than that, we are now ei­ther go­ing to pre­tend that Joseph Mus­cat is the real deal when it comes to our needs and as­pi­ra­tions, or we can em­brace the truth and turn to those who will lis­ten and who are able to de­liver on the ac­tual trans­for­ma­tion sought.

At this time, a sin­gle is­sue arises for Busut­til and the PN. Are they the right re­spon­ders to peo­ple’s emo­tions or not? Does Joseph Mus­cat do a bet­ter job of it and does he have the cul­tural ex­pe­ri­ence to once again pro­vide the shel­ter their sup­port­ers need from that fear­ful par­ent? The il­lu­sion that they are now free and cool and a lit­tle dirty money never hurt any­one and who will tell on him any­way?

The re­la­tion­ship has to grow be­tween the po­lit­i­cal par­ties and the pub­lic. Patch­ing up a bit here and a bit there, switch­ing be­tween the past and the present and dream­ing of a time when there will be no abuse of power will not be enough to con­nect the minds of peo­ple with the mes­sage.

Many from his own party are be­hind Si­mon Busut­til but the whole fab­ric is still a bit un­clear and un­til they are con­vinced about their own abil­ity to be the mes­sage of equal­ity and good man­age­ment and how they in­tend to se­cure a good fu­ture, then it is prob­a­ble that Joseph Mus­cat will con­tinue to op­er­ate in the way he is do­ing and not change a thing.

Peo­ple look for com­pe­tency. It gives them a sense of se­cu­rity. With­out it, there is lit­tle as­sur­ance that we will be able to make our own way. And if Joseph Mus­cat can be so com­pe­tent in sur­viv­ing the Panama Pa­pers and so much more, what’s an elec­tion to him? Loose change.

The Malta In­de­pen­dent Sat­ur­day 19 No­vem­ber 2016

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Malta

© PressReader. All rights reserved.