Rights of democracy
In my article of September 5, 2009, I quoted from an interview stating about former Archbishop Michael Gonzi that: “Whatever he dreamed about at night, in the morning he wanted to accomplish without looking at anyone or anything.”
I had wondered aloud why this statement meant to praise while hardly doing so.
More recently, the present Archbishop said that he wished that the Church had been in a position to make a bigger financial contribution to the campaign against divorce.
These two statements – among others – imply that a section of the population does not understand the fundamentals of democracy and being part of a religious structure does not preclude one from also being part of the democratic herd. Indeed, in a democracy, decisions are not built on the accomplishment of personal but national dreams while voting for a right must not be influenced by financial contributions to a campaign.
It is not impossible to try and create harmony between religious structures and the requirements of democracy. However, one must learn to always look at everyone and everything, while associating political decisions with people’s needs and desires irrespective of introverted confessional considerations.
The Bisazza Street saga of today involves some humour but is also related to a kind of culture.
It seems as if there was not total harmony and reciprocal consultation in the planning of Bisazza Street at Cabinet level. (A former Prime Minister never used the common Maltese word “Kabinett”, maybe to avoid association with small rooms with a low ceiling.) One minister was apparently dead set on making Bisazza Street a totally pedestrian area while another had given the go ahead to Arriva to use this street to transport the public to various elbow interchanges, thus dividing former single trips into two with some extra charge for treating people to a Malta by day or night excursion.
Lots of people complained that two persons sitting in the same Cabinet (not Kabinett) could not possibly be organising things on an individual basis, like the person mentioned above who did what he dreamed without looking at anyone or anything. They said that, surely, expensive projects could be clearly agreed upon in their totality at Cabinet level. (Now please enough reference to Kabinett and harmony within.)
Many people think that Cabinet has loads of time to discuss every move and decision that is made in the country. If this were done, the Cabinet would meet daily, day and night (and really deserve the €500 per week salary rise), without any time for anything else. So, please, stop harassing ministers telling them that they should discuss and agree upon all the fine details of little projects before any decision is made.
In any case, the misunderstanding was quickly remedied with a little justified scraping of the taxpayer’s money. So all’s well that ends well as the Maltese taxpayer is intelligent and always finds solutions.
In reality, the Cabinet could have found a solution without spending any money. (Now you’re talking?) OK the promise was to make Bisazza Street totally and continuously pedestrian.
I guess most people would not have minded having this street almost permanently pedestrianised. Almost? Yes. For Arriva planned to make a bus pass through this street only at the rate of one bus every three minutes. But people are difficult and slow at maths.
Just calculate all the time-spaces between each three minute bus silence and it will be several hours per day. Also, with good planning and punctual cooperation by Arriva, people would have three whole minutes regularly several times per day to jaywalk, stroll, hop, skip and jump, zig-zag, do forward rolls, sit in the middle of the road and eat a sandwich plus a drink (use the bins for rubbish please). But people don’t appreciate, only looking at the negative side of things. And expect the ministers to sit in the Cabinet 24 hours per day.
I agree with the attractive statues in Bisazza Street but have not yet had my picture taken on the empty seat, fearing some dangerous kick-boxer. I thought the statues were of bronze to prevent vandalism.
When I see a broken wooden bench, I say that the benches must be made of solid iron and vandals may punch them to their heart’s content to learn a painful lesson. (Somewhere in Swieqi – which has lost its lovely bus 64 making traffic increase in this town – I saw a solid iron beam placed in a corner where cars and trucks scraped the stone corner. However, they soon started avoiding the iron beam.)
There must be a psychological problem related to vandalism and, in this case, it is not related to a subconscious desire that heads must roll in other spheres of life.
Dr Licari is a researcher in multiculturalism.