Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Father unknown

I completely disagree with the recommendation made by parliament's select comittee that the father unknown option should be removed. Do we really want the state to assume draconian powers to police the personal and sexual life of individuals? Are we going to have mandatory DNA tests? Are we going to force mothers to reveal the name of the father?
For the sake of argument, what will happen if a person had more than one sexual partner in the period of conception?
I am all for fathers assuming parental responsibilities but let's face it; i fully understand why some woman do not want to name the father.
They might have enjoyed a one night stand but they might not want that particular man to be the father of their child. I am sure that the life of many kids would be worse off if these fathers are involved in their life.
This issue has nothing to do with welfare, for women declaring their child to have an unknown father do not earn anything more than those who declare who the father is.
As a parent myself I feel offended by the notion that fatherhood is equated to sperm provision. One is a father because one loves a child and not because one was involved in its procreation.
One is not a father by some biological right. One becomes a father through love, care and affection.
Rather than policing the personal life of single parents, the state should guarantee full reproductive rights for women and assist those who still want to become mothers by providing them with the proverbial fishing rod... which means a greater investment in child care centres, education and training.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

A Hideous Monument

Let's face it the sette giugnio monument is hideous and essentially patriarchal as it glorifies mythical muscular men. It is down right ugly. Its removal from Palace Square is not bad news as far as am concerned.
Europe is full of such monuments mostly dating to the 19th century but this one dates back to 1986 when we should have known better.
I am not saying the Sette Gignio has no significance-mainly as an episode of popular rebellion triggered by economic rather than constitutional reasons.
I find the connection between the riots and Malta's constitutional development tenuous. Essentially what we had on that day was a bread riot by hungry unrepresented people which coincided with a parallel meeting of Maltese notables clamouring for a constitutional reform to suite their very limited conception of democracy.
I won't judge by the standards of today when mob rule and violence are abhorred. Probably a mass of uneducated and hungry people deprived of any real representation had no other option but violence to make their voice heard. Anger at merchants who were profiteering while people were hungry has triggered riots throughout European history.
The riots did coincide with the convocation of national assembly by a conservative elite but the target of popular anger were Maltese merchants and the Brits intervened to protect their property and life.
The fact that the Brits shot at the Maltese obviously had a symbolic effect.
The National assembly did not have universal suffrage in mind. What they wanted is a greater share of power for the elites.
Real self government only came after the war when universal suffrage was introduced mainly thanks to the labour party.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

in the name of the cross

The recent attacks on Cardinal Tettamanzi by the traditionalist Lega Nord-which condemned the cleric for speaking for the inclusion of immigrants instead of defending the cross threatened by a European court decree- proves my earlier point that in the hands of the far right the cross might well become a 21st century swastika.
If the Church has to save the cross from anyone, it is not from left wing secularists, who share with christians so many moral values (probably everything except matters related to sexuality with which the church is unfortunately obsessed), but from right wing "traditionalists" who deny important universal values accepted by the four great European traditions: liberalism, socialism, green politics and christian democracy, all of which helped in making post war Europe the most democratic space on the planet.
The greatest risk facing the cross is not the ruling of an international court but its exploitation by the usual dirty bunch of climate change deniers, immigrant bashers and simple minded populists .