Il-protesti popolari li qed iqumu f’Barcellona minħabba l-effetti tat-turiżmu fuq dik il-belt u r-residenti tagħha jservu ta’ twissija għalina wkoll.
Veru li l-gwaj li nqala’ f’ħafna nħawi tal-Mediterran, żied it-talba għal vaganzi fejn (sa issa) m’hemmx gwaj – fosthom (Malta u ) Barcellona. Imma f’tal-aħħar, it-tgergir kontra t-turiżmu ilu jinħema.
Barcellona hi belt enormi bil-kejl tagħna. Warajha għandha territorju mifrux sew li jiflaħ in-nies. Jew hekk taħseb tħares lejn il-biċċa minn barra.
Biss lil hinn mill-firxa tat-territorju, trid tqis kemm l-infrastruttura fiżika tista’ tlaħħaq mal-folol ġejjin biex iżuru. Barra minn drenaġġ, toroq, traffiku, ilma u dawl, ikun hemm il-pressjoni ma taqta’ xejn fuq djar u appartamenti: iċ-ċittadin resident li jrid jixtri jew jikri, se jsibha ħaġa dejjem aktar diffiċli.
Mhux billi l-mudell ta’ żvilupp Malti sa minn żmien żemżem sal-lum dejjem kien li nġibu l-barranin joqgħodu u jaħdmu fostna. Dak li qed jitqanqal f’Barcellona, għad inġarrbuh aħna… forsi aktar malajr milli wieħed jimmaġina.
Kienet bdiet bħala mod kif jagħmlu l-ħajja diffiċli għal Marine Le Pen tal-Front Nazzjonali Franċiż: akkużawha li użat fondi tal-Parlament Ewropew maħsuba ħalli hi u sħabha jkollha assistenti hemm, biex tiffinanzja l-impjieg ta’ uffiċjali mal-partit tagħha fi Franza.
Wara, ħarġet li oħrajn għamlu l-istess ħaġa u kellhom iħallu l-kariga ħin bla waqt: erba’ ministri mill-ewwel kabinett tal-President Macron, fosthom waħda li kienet irrreżinjat friska mill-Parlament Ewropew biex tilħaq ministru.
Kellna l-każ ta’ Francois Fillon, kandidat tal-lemin għall-Presidenza Franċiża li “nqabad” li mill-allowances tal-Parlament Franċiż, kien ipprovda impjiegi fittizji għal martu u uliedu.
Issa hemm eks-ministri u deputati Franċiżi li qed jiġu mixlija bl-istess dnub.
Sadattant, għad iridu jiġu kjarifikati rapporti maħruġa fil-ġurnal Der Spiegel dwar kif il-kandidat soċjalista għal kanċellier Ġermaniż, Martin Schulz, inqeda b’fondi tal-Parlament Ewropew biex ipoġġi f’karigi strateġiċi assistenti fdati tiegħu.
Nissuspetta li daqt se nkunu qed nisimgħu b’aktar minn dawn il-maniġġi.
Diġà semmejtha xhur ilu minn hawn: waħda mill-inizjattivi li rnexxiet waqt il-Presidenza minn Malta tal-Unjoni Ewropea kienet wirja ta’ pitturi minn artisti Maltin tal-lum u tal-bieraħ fil-Parlament Ewropew.
Is-servizzi tal-Parlament kienu għamlu video qasir ta’ ftit aktar minn żewġ minuti li juri l-pitturi esibiti waħda wara l-oħra. Użawh bħala parti mill-wirja. Hu magħmul tajjeb ħafna.
Dnub jekk jindifen. Forsi tkun idea tajba li l-awtorità Maltija kompetenti f’dawn l-affarijiet tiddobba l-permessi jew drittijiet meħtieġa biex tkun tista’ tuża l-video bħala pubbliċità eċċellenti għall-arti viżiva Maltija.
English Version – In Barcelona
The popular protests that are growing in Barcellona about the impact of tourism on the city and its residents should come as a warning to us as well.
It is true that the troubles that have plagued many Mediterranean destinations have increased the demand for travel to those which are trouble free so far – among which (Malta and) Barcellona. But in the latter, anti-tourism sentiment has been brewing for quite a while.
Now by our standards, Barcellona is an enormously big township. Its hinterland is widespread and can presumably absorb many many people. Or so an outsider can be led to believe.
However beyond the ample territorial layout, one would need to consider whether the underlying physical infrastructure can cope with the incoming crowds. Apart from sewage, roads and traffic, water and electricity, pressures mount incessantly on the supply of houses and apartments: residents out to rent or buy real estate will find this raises ever increasing problems.
Since whenever, the model of Maltese development up to now has been based on the idea of getting foreigners to come and work locally. Let’s not be complacent about this. What is stirring in Barcellona could easily become part of our own experience, and perhaps sooner than one would imagine.
It started as a method by which to make life difficult for the French National Front’s Marine Le Pen: she was accused of having employed officials of her party in France using European Parliament funds that were earmarked for staff at her EP office and those of her group.
Later, it transpired that others from other parties could be accused of having done the same. They had to resign abruptly from official positions to which they had just been nominated: four ministers from the first cabinet of President Macron, including a lady who had just resigned from the European Parliament to become a minister.
We had the Francois Fillon case, the right’s candidate for the French presidency, charged with having created fake jobs for his wife and chldren, on the back of allowances due to him from the French Parliament.
Now, other French MPs and ex-mnisters are having to face similar charges.
Not to mention reports published by Der Spiegel which remain unclarified, alleging that the socialist candidate for German chancellor in the upcoming election in Germany, Martin Schulz, had used European Parliament funds to place trusted assistants of his in strategic positions.
It is likely that we shall shortly be hearing about more of these comings and goings.
I mentioned it here already some months ago. It was one of the successful initiatives launched during Malta’s Presidency of the EU – an exhibition at the European Parliament of paintings by Maltese artists, living and dead.
The cultural services at the Parliament had produced a short video, very well done and running for less than two and a half minutes, featuring the exhibits one by one. They played it at the side of the overall exhibition.
It would be a pity if this input gets lost and buried. It might be a good idea for the Maltese authority which is competent in such matters, to secure the necessary rights and permits, if needed, to be able to make use of the video as an excellent publicity tool for the Maltese visual arts.
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