This is how we know when the elec­tion will be

Or rather, this is how we know that there won’t be an early gen­eral elec­tion, and that it will be af­ter 31 Oc­to­ber next year.

Malta Independent - - DEBATE & ANALYSIS -


The government has given those refugees who have tem­po­rary pro­tec­tion un­der the law un­til that date to ob­tain doc­u­ments from their coun­try of ori­gin and an em­ploy­ment li­cence from the government agency, Job­sPlus. They are then to take th­ese doc­u­ments to Joe Vella Bon­nici’s Iden­tity Malta, seat of this government’s cor­rup­tion and head­quar­ters of the sale of cit­i­zen­ship with Henley & Part­ners, and ap­ply for a res­i­dence per­mit. Of course, if they have €650,000, the mat­ter can be sorted eas­ily, but they don’t. There will be no tem­po­rary pro­tec­tion sta­tus af­ter 31 Oc­to­ber next year, so all those with­out a res­i­dence per­mit granted by Joe Vella Bon­nici’s out­fit will be kicked out of the coun­try de­spite be­ing cat­e­gorised as ‘non-re­turn­able’ (like some­thing bought in a shop).

A size­able num­ber of or­gan­i­sa­tions who work with refugees and the dis­en­fran­chised, in­clud­ing the very re­spectable Je­suit Refugee Ser­vice and SOS Malta, have met with the government, rep­re­sented by the Min­is­ter for the In­te­rior, and ar­gued that th­ese peo­ple have been put in an im­pos­si­ble sit­u­a­tion. They come from coun­tries which refuse to sup­ply doc­u­ments to those who have fled, or which are un­able to sup­ply doc­u­ments be­cause of civil strife, war and chaos. The government has ig­nored the rep­re­sen­ta­tions made by th­ese civilised or­gan­i­sa­tions, and will press ahead re­gard­less (be­cause it is a lis­ten­ing government).

The groups which pe­ti­tioned the government in­clude one or two which sup­ported its elec­tion African im­mi­grants whose tem­po­rary sta­tus is not go­ing to be re­newed be­yond 31 Oc­to­ber 2017, I thought – af­ter the ini­tial rush of pity for the des­ti­tute be­ing flung into the un­known – that the de­ci­sion is cyn­i­cal and the date has been cho­sen de­lib­er­ately. And those hu­man lives are be­ing used as a cam­paign tac­tic to elect Joseph Trump.

On 31 Oc­to­ber next year, they’re go­ing to slam down on des­per­ate African im­mi­grants, with­draw their tem­po­rary pro­tec­tion be­cause they have failed to ob­tain doc­u­ments which are im­pos­si­ble to ob­tain, and be­gin round­ing them up and kick­ing them out, though God alone knows at this stage what they plan to do with those cat­e­gorised as ‘non-re­turn­able’. Fling them into con­cen­tra­tion camps, no doubt, like those we had some years ago, which were so un­speak­able that jour­nal­ists were not al­lowed any­where near them.

This will be done in a shower of pub­lic­ity, with pho­to­graphs, news sto­ries and Joseph Trump act­ing the anti-im­mi­grant hard man who saves Malta from Africans. Yes, the tim­ing is de­lib­er­ate: African mi­grants will be rounded up as Malta moves into elec­tion mode.

Don’t be sur­prised: th­ese are the peo­ple who vi­o­lated hu­man rights law by pre­par­ing to push back newly-ar­rived im­mi­grants with­out al­low­ing them to ap­ply for asy­lum. It was one of their first acts of government, in the sum­mer of 2013. You might re­call those press pho­to­graphs of Joseph Trump and Manuel Mal­lia stand­ing side by side like a cou­ple of bloated and sin­gu­larly un­ap­peal­ing Ben­ito Mus­soli­nis, while a small army of Mal­tese lawyers pe­ti­tioned the Courts of Jus­tice in Malta and then the Euro­pean Court of Hu­man Rights, which is­sued an in­junc­tion against the government of Malta and saved those peo­ple from Mus­cat’s and Mal­lia’s sav­age nas­ti­ness.

At the next gen­eral elec­tion, how­ever, one thing will be dif­fer­ent. The gay-rights campaigners who flocked be­hind Mus­cat to get them­selves same­sex mar­riage now have what they wanted. This time, they should do the de­cent thing and re­mem­ber that there are other mi­nori­ties, and vote to pro­tect them from the vi­cious­ness of those who will do them harm. And while do­ing so, they should bear in mind that real lib­er­als don’t vi­o­late hu­man rights with push­backs. But Trump-minded, far-right politi­cians weakly dis­guised as ‘lib­er­als’ do. Un­for­tu­nately, when the time comes to vote, it will be al­ready too late for the Africans who have been rounded up and booted out, can­non fod­der and lives used up to gain votes for Joseph Trump and Me­la­nia Mal­lia.

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