No foreigners please, we’re Maltese

The general anti-foreign sentiments that float around this country are getting a bit disgusting. The whole ‘global village’ and ‘citizens of the world’ thing seems to have escaped most of us and this week’s events have only served to highlight the insularity that still plagues us.

Lynching the poor, unsuspecting sods who decide that moving to Malta is a good idea has become something of a national pastime.  Anyone else see a trend in recent events to hit the news?

Even before the cases of the disappearing cats and of the poor, unfortunate woman who got stabbed yesterday cropped up, towards the end of summer the whole island was up in arms about some silly comments made by a Sicilian restaurant owner.

Barely weeks later, there was the other case of the Englishman who dared call one of us gay (oh no!!) and who was informed by our law courts that getting purposely run over by the ‘victim’ is a perfectly understandable reaction.

This week, our insularity raised its head again to target anyone of Asian descent. Don’t get me wrong, I was just as upset over the disappearing cats as any other animal lover but seriously... blaming anyone and everyone who happens to hail from the western side of the Pacific Rim is a tad rich.

Fine, the jokes about oriental restaurants are maybe understandable – hell, I was probably guilty of a couple myself (yes, I am human after all). But launching a crusade against the whole nation? Flash news: it could just as easily have been a Maltese person who was responsible for the abductions. After all, it’s not like we have an awesome track record when it comes to animal rights, do we?

But all this is nothing in comparison to the nasty, cruel comments I’ve been hearing after yesterday’s horrible discovery, where a Hungarian woman was found stabbed to death. As is to be expected, grocery stores and coffee shops this morning were abuzz with the news.

There is nothing we love more than a good gossip, even if what we are gossiping about involves a tragically ended life, a couple of fresh orphans and another destroyed life. So far, so mundane I guess.

But it doesn’t stop there. The voice on the streets was one: “x’tistenna minn dawn il-barranin?” (“What do you expect from foreigners?) Uttered in a total tone of contempt, of course. I had to bite my tongue not to get into a verbal match while getting my morning carton of milk.

So it’s only them foreigners who get on the wrong side of the law, huh? Whereas us Maltese are lily-white? Oh please. The list of gruesome murders committed by our co-nationals in the past is longer than my arm.

Maybe we should all hold our tongue instead of judging others, when we really have no idea about the true facts of the case do we? And even if we do get to know the facts, it certainly is not our business to condemn. Particularly on the basis of nationality. Have we no heart or empathy any more? Has it become so easy to dismiss other humans as “dawk il-barranin”? (Those foreigners).

I used to think that we are prejudiced only with respect to specific races. It seems like I was wrong. We’re prejudiced towards anyone who doesn’t have a Maltese passport.

Which is rather ironic, given that we have no problem imposing ourselves on a multitude of other countries.



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