Kien interessanti dil-ġimgħa fi Strażburgu tosserva r-reazzjonijiet tal-parlamentari Ewropej u ta’ oħrajn dwar ir-riżultati tar-referendum fil-Greċja. Ħafna kienu qishom qalgħu daqqa f’rashom u ma jistgħux jifhmu x’ġara. Kważi kulħadd qagħad attent li ma jikkritikax lill-poplu Grieg… anzi l-aktar li tisma’ hu kif l-għażla tal-poplu Grieg għandha tiġi rispettata.

L-aktar reazzjoni li spikkat kienet dik, ġenerali… inkluża min-naħa tal-President tal-Kummissjoni Ewropea Juncker… dwar kif issa l-pass li jmiss irid jieħdu l-gvern Grieg li jrid iressaq il-proposti tiegħu. Dwar għażliet konkreti ġodda għall-Greċja ftit li xejn smajt.

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Proġetti

Saret ħaġa ta’ min jistennieha li kull meta tfaqqas proposta għal proġett ġdid u kbir, jgħaddi żmien twil li matulu jitħejjew l-istudji u jsiru n-negozjati dwar kif u fejn se jsiru l-affarijiet. Aktar u aktar meta l-gvern ikun imdaħħal fil-proġett.

Imma għal kull proġett, stenna wkoll li minn xi mkien jew ieħor, se tqum oppożizzjoni għal raġuni jew oħra. Parti mill-oppożizzjoni tkun ġejja minn sentiment ġustifikat ta’ dawk li se jintlaqtu ħażin mill-proġett. Imma mbagħad irid jirbaħ l-interess nazzjonali, jekk ikun validu.

Biss hemm oppożizzjoni oħra li tiġi minn nies li mhux neċessarjament ikollhom interess personali f’li jkun għaddej. Aktar ikunu mnebbħa minn ideat ta’ interess publiku, kif jifhmuh huma.

Hemm min jiddejjaq b’dawn it-talin. Iqishom bħalha nies dwejjaq li kull ma jinteressahom hu li jtellfu. Ma naqbilx. Veru li hemm uħud pezza kustjoni u moħħhom biex ikollhom xiex isawtu. Maġġoranza kbira fosthom mhumiex hekk. Issibhom b’ideat ċari dwar xi jridu għall-futur ta’ pajjiżhom. Id-drabi meta jkollhom raġun dwar il-proġetti li jikkontestaw mhumiex rari.

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L-Atlantide

Pierre Benoit kien jikteb rumanzi ta’ avventuri popolari fl-Ewropa fis-snin għoxrin/tletin tas-seklu l-ieħor. Illum minsi. Kien wieħed mill-kittieba li meta kont żgħir interessani fil-letteratura Franċiża. Dort dil-ġimgħa għal rumanz tiegħu li kien kiser kull rekord ta’ bejgħ meta ħareġ għall-ewwel darba; ma niftakarx jekk diġà qrajtux jew le.

“L’Atlantide” hu dwar reġina favoluża f’nofs il-muntanji Hoggar fl-ibgħed rokna tas-Saħara. Tgħix fl-akbar lussu mdawra b’Twareggi fidili. Id-drawwa tagħha hu li bħal ma kienet tagħmel is-saħħara Cirċe, meta jkun għaddej xi esploratur “abjad” mill-qrib taħtfu, titmelles miegħu għal ftit, imbagħad tirranġa biex imut, jiġi bbalzmat u mpoġġi f’vetrina ma’ ta’ qablu f’sala kbira.

L-intriċċ hu inkredibbilment imġebbed. Ir-reġina qisha kkopjata mir-rumanzi ta’ Rider Haggard. Il-kitba hi mexxejja u ħafifa. Benoit, li spiċċa membru tal-Akkademja Franċiża, biegħ l-aktar minn dar-rumanz. Nissuspetta li kiteb oħrajn aħjar minnu.

English Version – New choices

It was interesting this week in Strasbourg to observe the reaction of European parliamentarians and others to the referendum results in Greece.

Many seemed stunned and unable to understand what had happened.

Almost everybody made sure not to criticise the Greek people… in fact what you heard most often was that the choice of the Greek people had to be respected.

What was striking was the general comment, made too by President of the Commission Juncker, that it now is up to the Greek government to put forward their proposals.

I heard next to nothing about the drafting of new, concrete choices for Greece.

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Projects

It has become normal to expect that whenever proposals for a new major project appear, a long time will elapse until studies are completed and negotiations are heldregarding how and where to implement things. This is the case even more when the government is involved in a given project.

Then, for no matter which project, expect opposition to come from this or that quarter. Some opponents are motivated by a justifiable (from their point of view) belief that the project will be detrimental to them, personally.But in the end, the national interest – if valid claims for it are invoked – should overcome such objections.

However another sort of objection is made by people who do not necessarily have a personal stake in proceedings. They tend to be guided by a commitment to the public interest, as they understand it.

Some promoters soon get fed up with them, treating them as a nuisance and as simply out to create problems. I disagree. Itis true that you meet protesters who must grumble at everything in life, all out to find what and whom to criticise. However a big majority are different. They have clear ideas about the future perspectives for the country at large and the occasions have not been infrequent when they were proved right about projects they criticised.

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L’Atlantide

During the twenties/thirties of the previous century Pierre Benoit used to write novels of popular adventure in Europe. Today he is no longer so well known.

He was one writer who served to introduce me to Frenchliteraure when I was young. Now, I turned again to a novel of his which made record sales when first published – but frankly I cannot remember whether I’d already read it or not.

L’Atlantide introduces readers to a fabulous queen who lives in great luxury, protected by faithful Touareg tribesmen, in the farthest reaches of the Sahara, just under the Hoggarmountains. Her pastime resembles that of Circe the witch. When a “white” explorer happens to pass by, she abducts him, gives him a good time, and then lets him get killed. He is embalmed and placed in a showcase in a big hall which carries a collection of his predecessors.

The plot is incredibly farfetched; the queen seems to have been lifted from a Rider Haggard romance; the writing style is fast moving and relaxed. I can understand that among Benoit’s books, L’Atlantidesold best. But Benoit, who ended up as a member of the French Academy, surely wrote better novels.