Do you have Independence day hangover? Are you still reeling from the injection of pride in our country and its achievements – especially in its delayed reincarnation as the potential Florence Nightingale of the Libyan Spring? Or are you still feeling rather indignant at the “divisive” call for AST’s resignation? Better still, are you still clutching your aching sides after laughing all night at Labour’s non sequitur style reponse that “if my ex-Foreign Minister was an arsehole then your ex-Leader /PM / President played host to a flurry of arseholes in the early nineties”?
However you may have woken up this side of Independence Day, you will surely have gone through your morning papers and probably, like J’accuse, you’d have noticed the glaring inconsistencies in this proud nation’s dealing with foreigners. Here they are in black and white.
The Black – No to injured Libyans
On the one hand GonziPN’s efforts to weave a new heroic story into the tapestry of our PLPN history books have come under fire from an unexpected source. The (very christian) spokesperson of some Union of Nurses complained that Mater Dei has enough on its hands as it is and does not need to play nurse to any injured Libyans. Paul Pace, head of the MUMN told the government that “bigger countries with more facilities should address such problems”. Boom goes GonziPN’s plans of proud nation humbly serving the weak and the injured. Don’t hold your breath for a Joseph Muscat position on this mess by the way. He either criticises MUMN (read votes) for their tunnel vision or he criticises Gonzi’s plans thus losing cred on his “I love New Libya” mantra.
As for the proud nation sticking its neck out for others – here is the best source to tap the pulse of the nation … the Times online comment board:
Ms Maria Vella
Let us stop being all politically correct and call a spade a spade!
Mr. Pace did not beat around the bush and stated the situation as it is. We have enough Maltese patients (who pay taxes and contribute towards the running of this hospital) waiting for treatment, in corridors or at home, or even worse sent home because of lack of space but we find place and resources to treat foreigners.
Whilst my sympathies go towards the injured Libyans, charity should begin at home!
Now there’s a thought Mr. Prime Minister. A sympathy card to Libya and that’s that. Where’s Tonio Borg when you need him?
The White – Yes to rich magnates
Frank Salt, of Frank Salt properties, describes the new conditions for obtaining a residency in Malta as “a large hammer being used to crack a delicate egg” (TOM – Messing with the economic motor). Apparently the new conditions for your average Russian euro-burner to settle down in Malta are “very complicated, extraordinarily expensive, virtually prohibitive” – dixit Frank. It seems that the developers’ apple cart has been upset:
Was it sensible for the authorities to continue to allow new building developments specifically targeted at potential new foreign buyers, to sprout up all over our Islands, when they knew that they were about to unload this bombshell, that would and could, and no doubt will, upset the whole apple cart?
And the property developers are angry. They’re angry at the government that encouraged them to develop land to sell it off to Non-EU citizens (not injured Libyans mind you… for that we have Mater Dei) and then came up with these conditions. Here’s Frank being Frank again:
Today, the local property industry first works its backside off promoting Malta as a safe, inexpensive and pleasant place in which foreigners and their families can come and live in peace. Then, when the market gets off its feet, quality developments are built, foreign residents, permanent and temporary come to Malta to see whether they would like to live here… bang… once again it is time to mess things up.
And then there is the music for the environmentalist’s ear:
Now we have to see how we are going to sell the hundreds of properties that are currently on the market and those hundreds more that have new permits to build.
Dunno Frank. I’m thinking that you should sell some of that space to … lemme see… a Qatari developer who could then invest some of his money into … hmm… a hospital. There would be some divine justice in that wouldn’t there? An exclusive hospital built to service the wounded and injured from the Arab Spring. The developers would get their money. The nurses would get their break from the influx in Mater Dei and the government would sell this off as some smart move. Lovely no?
Of course mine is a tongue in cheek suggestion to Mr Salt. What really jars is the existence of this reality on our tiny rock. On the one hand we have those christians who cannot accept the idea that our valuable hospital space is being taken up by “foreigners” (stop bleeding on my soil) and on the other we have those business minded few who are dying to get the right type of foreigner (those who bleed money) to our shores.
It’s normally Joseph Muscat’s job to blame Gonzi for everything under the sun (including tsunamis and world economic crisis). I’d just say simply that our political establishment are getting the “proud” citizens they have nurtured and that they deserve.
What you reap is what you sow. Maybe it’s time to wake up.