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A tribe that’s losing its head

So, what’s going wrong? Why is Malta sinking according to so many objective standards? Yesterday, mediocrity was the main burr in the saddle, edging out those elements that did the island proud.

Today mediocrity seems to be the least of it. Why, for instance, is there a culture of violence developing?

There have always been a minority of violent people and incidents of violence. But never as on the present scale.

Paceville gives abundant examples. People who go there, presumably to relax and be entertained, frequently end up in fights, leading even to deaths.

Those who are hired to iron out such incidents within haunts of so-called entertainment all too often end up using much more force than might be necessary to quell such incidents.

Do bouncers have training to do their job, which requires much more than brawn?

Do they have a code of behaviour and ethics?

Put simply, are they in any way taught that strong-arm tactics should only be used in the final analysis to counter – not to start or increase – violence?

What of the police charged with monitoring the area? They are hard pressed in numbers, no doubt about that.

Should they be increased, particularly in plain clothes, lest we give the impression that ours is a police-ridden state? Are they given special training? Do they, in turn, have a code of ethics?

Why are the police armed with weapons that shoot to kill, as happened to an immigrant wielding a knife but surrounded by several policemen?

Are armed police given strict instructions when it is permitted to fire their weapons, which should be more of a deterrent than a threat? Are they instructed to shoot, when ultimately and essentially necessary, to disable rather than to kill? Are they given the right circumstances to do their onerous jobs?

Why is violence spreading to town and village, even to such stupid bullying extremes as captured on tape near Marsaxlokk a few days ago?

To get back to Paceville and other areas where youths congregate, why has the age of such youths fallen so dramatically as to include 13- and 14-year-old girls dressed to invite dangerous but welcome attention?

Why are drugs distributed so liberally there?

A youngish Maltese couple who now live abroad told me during one of their visits that they were aghast at the freedom and visibility whereby drugs are traded in Paceville.

It is in the nature of humanity to experiment, even with the devil. But when did experiment become matter-of-fact usage, the couple asked. Cannot the police take still stricter action?

Why are such a high percentage of newly married couples breaking up not long after having taken their vows? Is it because the traditional basis of marriage – love and mutual respect – has dissipated?

Is it because couples marry for materialistic reasons – to escape from parental control, to jointly finance an abode? Such break-ups have nothing to do with the new divorce legislation.

They have become a trend in recent years. Why? Is whatever can be done about it being done, like sensitive education and guidance to youths early on, to prepare them for what they will face and also be tempted by?

Why has the concept of God, of a supreme being if one does not want to be tied by a specific faith, become almost redundant? Why is church attendance in freefall? Why are even non-religious values being so devalued?

There are so many other questions to ask. They all amount to a strong impression that we are close to becoming a tribe that lost its head.

The most fearful aspect of all is that these social issues do not form part of our political discussion, which is rooted in one basic objective: retaining or gaining naked power.

Why are the leaders of our tribe so nonchalant about it all?

Do they not recognise the abyss we are falling into?

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