Sunday 17 February 2019

Guess what? Our votes count too

Above: A few weeks before the 2008 elections in a secret meeting, Prime Minister Gonzi promised those who were residing in illegal boathouses in Armier that their position would be “regulated” (photo from the Armier pamphlet Mill-Bajja)

Now that several days have passed and neither the PN nor the PL have bothered to issue a statement about the Marsaxlokk incident, it is becoming quite clear why those five smirking bullies did not even care that their behaviour was being filmed.

They’ve got it made it in the shade don’t they? No one will touch them or any of their illegal camping sites or boathouses because each family represents quite a number of votes.   MEPA’s enforcement notice has given them two weeks to clear out – how convenient. We will be in September by then won’t we?

Those men lashed out in anger because society has made them that way, Peppi of Xarabank fame has said, in answer to Andrew Azzopardi’s blog about the incident.

Well guess what Sur Peppi? We’re pretty angry too. We’re angry at always being taken for granted by politicians who always assume that our vote doesn’t need to be considered because it’s in the can.  We’re angry that the bullies on this island are always pandered to because everyone (including the highest authorities it seems) are scared witless of them.

I think it’s about high time the ordinary citizen who does NOT break the law and who does not stake out a public stretch of beach for weeks on end, has his voice heard.  And it seems the only way you are heard in this country is if you threaten not to vote for a party which does not take a stand about something which is blatantly illegal.

So far, only AD has had the guts to speak its mind – cynics will say it’s because AD does not have much to lose in any case. Well, that may be so, but mark my words, if public sentiment online is anything to go by, the PL and PN  should definitely not be so complacent about our votes either.

Those who claim that the M’Xlokk incident was “blown out of proportion” or that “these kind of fights take place all the time” are completely missing the point. Public fury over what happened has snowballed for a variety of reasons, beginning with the fact that (as can be seen in the footage) the victim of the violence, Marsaxlokk resident Christopher Haber was simply gawked at by the bystanders. No one lifted a finger to spring to his defense.  No wonder he did not press charges and is quoted as saying that he just wants to get on with his life.

It is similar to that fight between two women and a man in Birzebbuga which was doing the rounds on Facebook in ghoulish delight a few weeks ago.  Whoever filmed it  could be heard saying quite clearly that he was going to make a hit on Youtube. Meanwhile, those witnessing it just watched passively as if it were a fight in the days of the Roman Coliseum.

Is this what this country has come to? Having fights and violent behaviour erupt in front of our eyes while we stand by in morbid fascination while someone presses record on their iPhone?

There may be those who get a kick out of this kind of thing, but they are probably the same people who relish a good shouting match during a TV “discussion” programme.   On the other hand, from what I can sense, there are many, many people who just feel sickened by the whole incident and what it says about our society.

What happened in Marsaxlokk has galvanised the other sector of public opinion which objects to uncouth, uncivilised behaviour.   The sector which wants to live in a country where laws are obeyed, people respect one another and those who cross the line are brought to book. As it stands we feel that it’s the law breakers who are being given a free hand to do as they please, while the rest of us do our best not to get into their line of vision for fear of being met with a fist.

But guess what Mr/Ms Politician? We’ve all had enough. Because guess what? If nothing is done to bring Malta onto an even keel where social behaviour is concerned,  it is not the votes of hooligans and bullies which you will have to worry about.




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