Sunday, June 14, 2009

Dear joseph...

Dear Joseph,

I read your interview in the Sunday Times and i can only conclude that i can't see a place for me in your so-called movement of moderates and progressives.
I reiterate the view expressed in a previous blog that the political class across the political spectrum has contributed to the climate of intolerance towards illegal immigrants.
By turning immigration in to a political football game you have also assumed a great responsibility.
When racism becomes normalized and legitimized by that sort of vague populism which leaves so many things unsaid, the probability of ugly incidents increases. This happened in Italy. It is also happening here.
Once again you speak against exploitation of immigrants at Marsa saying that "the fact that immigrants are being exploited every morning at Marsa while undermining taxpayers is unacceptable."
Yes it is unacceptable but would you favour their integration in the legal labour market to stop this exploitation? Or are you hinting that these people should live on charity or should not be here in the first place?
I would also like to hear you denounce tax evasion-which is really undermining us salaried working class and middle class tax payers. Tax evasion costs the country far more than immigration but i have never heard you say anything on this theme.
You hark on the illegality of immigration. But did you insist on legality when some of your candidates have spent beyond what is allowed by law?
You say; "wherever the mainstream parties remained silent on the immigration, they paved the way to extremist parties, which wouldn't do our country any good."
I agree. Nobody is saying that you should remain silent. What I would have expected is that you provide leadership on this issue by putting things in perspective. Are you aware that the majority of your supporters (just like the rest of the Maltese) do not even know that most migrants who have arrived in the past 5 years have left Malta?
Have you ever made an effort to explain these facts? How many times have you visited open centers to show your supporters that immigrants are human beings like them?
And let us not forget that the far right has grown in Europe not just because of a mishandling of immigratation (because of a lack of proper integration policies) but also by adopting "centre right economic policies" (this does ring a bell) they failed to address their every day problems.
Of course it is easier to pander to xenophobia than to promise to increase the minimum wage for those who do not have enough money to survive by the end of the month.
And is this immigration scapegoating an attempt to appease the working class vote simply because you have nothing much to offer them except empty promises to keep health free, because you grew up adoring Tony Blair?
You say that the "20-point plan was responsible enough". Is it responsible to say that if Malta is full up we should not abide with international conventions which oblige us to rescue people on the high seas?
You still say that "the veto is part of the solution," something which makes a mockery of your "moderate" credentials. For the least thing the Maltese economy and Maltese workers need is uncertainty about our place in Europe.
I wish you luck in your declared bid to win back those who voted for Norman Lowell.
For every vote seems to count except the vote of those who like me never voted PN in their life, stood up against all sorts of pressures to combat Nationalist arrogance and who have dedicated at least a part of their life to progressive causes.

yours truly,
james debono

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Who killed Suleiman?

Without getting in to the details of the case, I think the murder of Suleiman deserves a political reflection.
All those who stoked the racist fires (and not just Norman Lowell) should feel just a bit responsible for creating a climate in which the life of an immigrant was lost.
This case was a blatant example of how some lives are seen to be more equal than others.
I would like to thank Moviment Graffitti for once again acting as the soul of the nation by organising next Saturday's protest.
I will be there. I hope hundreds of moderate, christian and civic minded citizens will also join.