In brief

This is a melange of themes that grabbed my at­ten­tion these last days.

Malta Independent - - NEWS -

Dr An­drew Az­zopardi Dean Fac­ulty for So­cial Well­be­ing, Univer­sity of Malta & Broad­caster – Għandi xi Ngħid www.an­drewaz­zopardi.org

Tow­ers and some pretty streets

We have been hear­ing about the need to sort out the chaos that has been ac­cu­mu­lat­ing in Paceville for the best part of these last 15 years now. A year or so ago we were close to a ma­jor dis­as­ter with po­ten­tially se­ri­ous con­se­quences as young­sters spilled out of a club with sur­pris­ingly very few end­ing up se­ri­ously in­jured. Even that did not seem to em­bolden a proper re­ac­tion.

I must say that I feel dis­ap­pointed that all our leisure is be­ing cen­tralised in Paceville, not only con­tribut­ing to traf­fic and con­ges­tion for one but in the process all the ac­tiv­i­ties that used to hap­pen in the vil­lage are dy­ing a nat­u­ral death, (re­mem­ber the Te­ja­trin, the Pjazza and it role in so­cial­i­sa­tion, the youth cen­tres, the play­ing fields). How­ever, I also be­lieve that Paceville in this day and age has be­come a ne­ces­sity for our lo­cal leisure in­dus­try and like­wise tourism and so mer­its all our at­ten­tion.

How­ever, it seems that there is a per­cep­tion that the ‘Es­tab­lish­ment’ is twist­ing arms so that their pot of gold keeps get­ting its bo­nanza. I’m not sure this is the case and it may well be a per­cep­tion, as I be­lieve that Deb­o­rah Schem­bri is one of those politi­cians who I am con­vinced has her heart and mind in the right place - but maybe the way the whole process de­vel­oped may have tar­nished what might have been a good idea in the long run – that of hav­ing a plan!

Paceville’s other Mas­ter Plan

Now whilst we are dis­cussing plans, what we seem to for­get is that the real Mas­ter Plan, or should I say mas­ter­stroke in Paceville hap­pened when Fr Hi­lary and the Au­gus­tine Fri­ars de­vel­oped the no­tion of the Mil­len­nium Chapel.

That was in­deed good news and left so many pos­i­tives. This model of an oa­sis of seren­ity and peace­ful­ness in a bustling freaked-out zone is leav­ing such a good vibe. When ser­vices are pro­vided against the grain, that re­ally means things are on the right track.

The ‘Es­tab­lish­ment’

It is re­ally sad if we had to be con­di­tioned and con­trolled by the in­fa­mous ‘Es­tab­lish­ment’. I want to be­lieve that our coun­try

has all the sys­tems and in­sti­tu­tions in place to stand up for its in­tegrity and ve­rac­ity.

The truth is that the way our po­lit­i­cal class un­veils its ini­tia­tives and leads shows that the spec­tre of an es­tab­lish­ment looms like a vul­ture ready to scav­enge on car­casses. The me­dia has an im­per­a­tive role in en­sur­ing the equilib­rium and cal­i­bra­tion of our so­ci­eties and pro­tec­tion of this fourth es­tate is fun­da­men­tal to guar­an­tee democ­racy.

Grad­uands

We had some id­iots who were re­port­edly jump­ing on benches in lec­ture rooms that duly col­lapsed dur­ing this silly mo­ment.

Well that is in­deed wrong but also nowhere near rep­re­sen­ta­tive of the great month that Novem­ber

and De­cem­ber are for the Univer­sity of Malta. Over 3,000 stu­dents grad­u­ated from over 14 fac­ul­ties and the in­nu­mer­able In­sti­tutes and cen­tres.

This is in­deed a great pe­riod to cel­e­brate even if I get my oc­ca­sional tick and al­most made to jump out of my skin when for­mer stu­dents come slam­ming on my of­fice door. So­ci­ety is richer with these new grad­uands and noth­ing should dis­tract us from this suc­cess.

PN’s pro­pos­als

The Na­tion­al­ist Party has once again laid out a num­ber of ini­tia­tives fo­cused this time round on small busi­ness which we know are at the heart of our eco­nom­i­cal prow­ess. This is in­deed an ex­em­plary way of how a po­lit­i­cal party can claim its rel­e­vance and I am not sur­prised

MUT and Stu­dents

I can’t but not com­ment on the most re­cent sit­u­a­tion of bul­ly­ing and ag­gres­sion in a se­condary school and how it was dealt with by the MUT bi­ased in favour of the teacher be­fore we even had all the pieces of the puz­zle. The MUT’s core busi­ness is most cer­tainly fo­cused on teach­ers, but I think its dia­lec­tic is way to ‘us and them’.

De­por­ta­tion

Whilst I can un­der­stand that de­port­ing peo­ple is a le­gal thing to do when there are no se­ri­ous safety con­cerns how­ever I find this ‘round­ing up of peo­ple’ (re­minds me of cat­tle) as noth­ing less than trou­bling and up­set­ting. These are peo­ple who have spent years in Malta, de­vel­oped re­la­tion­ships, were em­ployed, pos­si­bly had chil­dren and are now sent back to their coun­try be­cause their pa­pers were not in or­der and CNN is telling us that is all nice and dandy ‘back home’. I think there are other ways of reg­u­lar­is­ing these po­si­tions, and if there aren’t we are duty bound to take the lead and de­velop them. Le­gal is fine, hu­man­ity and com­pas­sion are no­ble.

The Pope

I’m not much of a Church goer I must ad­mit, but ev­ery time the Pope is re­ported in the me­dia I do take cog­ni­sance of the very in­ter­est­ing and at times provocative stances he shares. I be­lieve that this Pope came a lit­tle too late and had he been around a cou­ple of decades ago we would be talk­ing of a dif­fer­ent Univer­sal Church al­to­gether.

Traf­fic

Time for heads to roll and for po­lit­i­cal and ad­min­is­tra­tive re­spon­si­bil­i­ties to be shoul­dered. The sit­u­a­tion can’t get any more dra­matic, chaotic, mud­dled, fren­zied, an­ar­chic (do I need to go on?).

In my opin­ion this sit­u­a­tion ticks all the boxes to qual­ify for a na­tional dis­as­ter. When an am­bu­lance with its siren and lights at full blast is stuck in traf­fic – I don’t think it can get any worse.

The Malta Independent Wed­nes­day 23 Novem­ber 2016

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