Let’s be positive about the progress of our Islands – By Lino DeBono
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“In very small Islands such as ours, with our traditions, habits and controversy, tend to start very interesting conversations and writings. Many are knowledgeable in History, Achievements, Politics, Village Feast and Saints. We have been and are enjoying good Leadership. We also enjoy a very excellent University, Higher Educational Teachings, Secondary and Primary Educations.
Health and Social Services are second to none, in actuality these are among the best in the whole wide world. Whenever I am abroad attending European Conferences and I bring up the subject of Malta enjoying Free Child Care facilities, many just can’t swallow how such a small Island with no prime materials can possibly ever achieve these facilities.
Many lament about the good old days of when one was young and still a child. Why? For the simple reasons that at that time their parents troubled themselves to provide and look after their families for food, education and all the multitude of necessities.
Therefore as children one could play, roam and run freely wherever his/her desires fantasies carried a child. So senior citizens such as myself do tend to reminisce and think about the good old days without taking into consideration what our parents had to go through.
We tend to forget our houses without electricity, water or drainage. Queueing after others at the street water taps to fill water in buckets. No toilet papers but only a piece of cloth to serve all the family. The rudimentary health care offered against payment (for those who could afford it) in a medieval hospital. The lack of Doctors and their limited medical knowledge or lack of medicines.
How primary schools were held in houses and of certain villages having boys to attend in the mornings and girls in the afternoon and vice-versa the following week. The copper ink pads. No TV – or Radio.
At 5pm. after eating and saying the Rosary, time and time again one will go to sleep on straw mattresses. The squalor and poverty of beggars knocking on doors for a piece of bread. All of these facts we tend to forget and say how good we were when young. When young everything looks rosy.
Children do not show division but do so when they grow older. First on the Village Feasts and Saints. Who has the most fireworks? Who qualifies best on the Saints merits? Which Parish is better than others? Certain Patron Saint supporters going to Church to note down how many times the Priest mentions the Saint’s name.
Then we had the people with the sincere and firm believe that our Islands could not survive without the British. Thousands were employed at the Dockyards, Navy, Ancillary Services, Naffi Staff, etc., etc. This was proven when a Referendum was made in the mid-50s when the majority voted for our Islands to be part of the British Nation.
This was then rejected by Britain after the Suez Canal War in 1956 when Britain/France and Israel had to retreat from Egypt under a War Treaty Ultimatum from Russia and America. This is when Britain changed the policy of Malta Integration and of being part of Britain.
Even till the present time we in our Islands still find several citizens who believe that we will be better under British Rule.
Some, to show their superiority in class, tend to speak in English and not Maltese even on Television. I hate this and believe it is demeaning to our National Heritage as Maltese. Maltese is such a unique language. In fact it is the only such language in the whole world. It is a language that we should, and be proud off. Our language is unique.
What Maltese and Gozitans have also a tendency is to be negative whenever they do not agree with others, whether it is written, spoken, religious or political. Whenever one writes an article or a comment, others after a while start writing negative and vindictive comments going completely off the subject.
This is now becoming a norm especially on Facebook – Messenger, Newspaper’s comments, etc. This is not right and Facebook plus all local newspapers must and have an obligation, to erase vile and threatening postings from these sites.
We are Christians or so we believe and say. These vindictive and damaging writings and comments demean those who make them. They also show the shallow side of our culture as a people and Nation.
Any person or writer can and must write what s/he believes in and their beliefs. For this one should not be rebuked or ridiculed. Ideas whether we agree or disagree with them are a must to elevate our culture, views and ideology.
Politics and politicians are in the forefront of this subject. If it wasn’t for politicians our Islands would have stagnated in its progress and way of life that we now enjoy. Just see how far we have progressed as a Nation from 1964 to now when we took our Country’s destiny into our own hands and direction.
So let us all be positive, let everyone let loose their personal ideas, hopes and expectations. With different and various views one can then choose and make up their own ideas. Be positive and not negative. These views are what I hold in belief and views.
We as a Nation, nowadays can value and evaluate the differences in our way of life. Our living conditions – in our work places – in the generality of food, entertainment – cloths – holidaying both locally and abroad – the hygienic upkeep of every individual – the repatriation of emigrated Maltese who came back after finding that our standard of living is better off than elsewhere.
The only thing that is serious and is bothering many locals is the disregard by exploiters to our heritage and disregard for others with these extreme buildings taking place. This has to be taken care off. Our Islands are small. We need our countryside with the farms and cultivation taking place.
We also have to preserve our National Heritage Sites which we are blessed with in our Islands. Firstly for ourselves to enjoy and also have others visit us to see what richness we in our small Islands possess.
So let us be positive and look forward to a better future for us, our children and our children’s children.”
Photograph by Alain Salvary