Saturday, October 31, 2009
The new medievalism
Universities are meant to be at the forefront of intellectual and literary freedom. Even in repressive states universities are expected to be the last bastion of resistance against censorship.News that the University of Malta has banned newspaper Ir-Realta presumably because of an article which breached the laws of Malta is proof that something is rotten at Tal-Qroqq.Unfortunately student politics has been hijacked by corporate sponsorships and the administration is blinded by a technocratic and utilitarian ideology (disguised as devotion for information technology) which ultimately serves capitalism rather than the pursuit of knowledge and critical thinking.The new careerist class which dominates the KSU and the University's administration seems bent on cleansing the university from uncomfortable ideas. The KSU decision to evict Graffitti and the rector's decision to ban ir-realta are a symptom of the Smart City syndrome.Dubai is a feudal despotic monarchy which co-exists with a consumerist religion promoted by a state run incestuous form of capitalism which even permits slavery.Dubai is corporate but not democratic. So is the University of Malta.For by banning a piece of literature the University of Malta risks opening a precedent. If Alex Vella Gera's writing is in breach of the law...what about equally "obscene" literary works of Charles Bukowski? What about Garcia Marquez's Memoria de mis putas tristes, a love story that follows the romance of a 90-year old man and a pubescent concubine? In the meantime Malta's top talk show-once regarded by myself as some experiment in popular democracy- spent two weeks discussing inconsequential survey driven devils and witchdoctors... As my good fried says we are still living in 1493.