Matul diskussjoni bħala parti minn kors tal-public policy fl-Università, li ħadt sehem fiha, tajna ħarsa lejn il-vantaġġi u l-iżvantaġġi tal-governanza fil-pajjiżi żgħar.

Il-kummenti li għamlu l-istudenti kienu ta’ kwalità tajba ħafna. Il-problemi li jinqalgħu minħabba l-fatt li bħala stat ċkejken xorta trid tlaħħaq ma’ materji mifruxa u komplikati daqs tal-kbar kienu f’moħħna lkoll. U qamet il-mistoqsija dwar jekk pajjiż ċkejken jaqbillux ikun parti minn entità akbar.

Hawn tqajjem il-punt: li dal-pajjiż ċkejken ikollu l-lingwa u l-kultura tiegħu se jkunlu ta’ ġid jew ta’ tfixkil? Bqajt sorpriż kif maġġoranza tal-istudenti qiesu li fattur hekk ikun ta’ ġid. Pajjiż ċkejken li jkollu l-identità kulturali – spiritwali, jekk trid – tiegħu se jkun jista’ jkampa ħafna aħjar minn pajjiż ċkejken ieħor li jinsab mingħajrha. Konklużjoni kurjuża fi żmien meta l-kosmopolitaniżu jingħata ħafna tifħir.

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MERĦBA

Il-messaġġ dan l-aħħar tal-Imħallef Degaetano ħaqqu merħba. Jekk fhimt tajjeb, fih semma l-ħtieġa li meta jagħmlu l-inkjesti tagħhom, il-maġistrati inkwirenti għandhom jingħataw mezzi tagħhom b’poteri “eżekuttivi” u tassattivi ta’ investigazzjoni.

Illum bilfors nilqa’ dan l-intervent ukoll b’doża ta’ ironija. Fil-ġlieda kontra l-korruzzjoni u l-abbuż tal-poter, aktar issa minn għoxrin sena ilu, bħala gvern Laburista konna għamilna dik il-proposta u tlaqna biex inwettquha wara konsultazzjoni wiesgħa.

Tal-PN ma ridux jafu. Allajbierek, ir-rappreżentanti tal-ġudikatura u tal-professjoni legali sabu l-oġġezzjonijiet kollha biex il-proposta ma titwettaqx. Kienet tmur kontra s-sistema ta’ kif f’Malta jitmexxew il-funzjonijiet tagħhom, qalu. Din ma kienet xejn ħlief skuża biex l-affarijiet ma jintmessux.

Tieħu gost tinnota kif l-affarijiet bdew jiċċaqalqu. Xorta tqum il-mistoqsija: x’wassal biex idumu ċassi daqstant u biex jibdew jiċċaqalqu issa issa?

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DWAR KOTBA

Is-sitwazzjoni tal-ktieb f’pajjiżna tjiebet fl-aħħar żminijiet, u mhux biss għax baqa’ jikber in-numru ta’ publikazzjonijiet. Fuq quddiem, hemm il-punt li l-Kunsill tal-Ktieb baqa’ jieħu inizjattivi ġodda biex iqajjem kuxjenza dwar il-qari u l-kotba Maltin. Kull ma jonqsu jagħmel hu li jsib post aktar konvenjenti fejn jorganizza ta’ kull sena l-festivall tal-ktieb.

Ukoll fil-midja stampata reġa’ beda dieħel post għal taħdit sistematiku dwar kotba ġodda jew le. Fl-aħħar snin, b’kuntrast ma’ x’jiġri f’gazzetti Ewropej u Amerikani, ta’ Malta kienu qed jinjoraw għal kollox il-publikazzjonijiet li joħorġu. Talanqas dil-ħaġa bdiet tinbidel, għalkemm mhux sistematikament.

Fejn l-affarijiet għadhom brodu hu fil-qasam tad-distribuzzjoni. Anzi ħżienu. Jekk tneħħi żewġ emporja kbar, issib li ħwienet fil-bliet u fl-irħula li qabel kien ikollhom għażla varjata ta’ kotba, llum jew m’għandhomx xejn jew jinsabu maqbuda b’għażla waħda limitata sew. Dnub.

English Version – Identity

During a discussion held as part of a public policy course at the University, in which I participated, we considered the advantages and disadvantages of governance in small countries.

Top quality observations came from the students. Problems that arise due to the fact that a small state still needs to cope with issues that are as extensive and complicated as those faced by a bigger polity,made for a concentration of minds. And the question came up: would being part of a greater entity make better sense for a small state than going it alone?

And here, another point raised was: does possessing its own language and culture count as a plus or a minus for a small country? I was surprised to note that a majority of the students present counted such a factor as positive. A small country that has its own cultural – spiritual, if you prefer – identity would be able to cope much better with arising challenges than another small country which hardly has it. That was indeed a curious way of thinking at a time when cosmopolitanism is getting so much praise.

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Welcome

Let’s give welcome to a recent message by Justice Degaetano. If I understood correctly, in it he emphasized the need for inquiring magistrates to possess when on the job the means by which to conduct investigations, namely executive and mandatory powers.

Today however I can only spice such a welcome with a dash of irony. In the fight against corruption and abuse of power, already more than twenty years ago, as a Labour government we had put forward this proposal and set out to implement it following wideranging consultations.

The PN were not interested. And wonder of wonders, the representatives of the judges and of the legal profession discoveredall the objections one can imagine to ensure that the proposal stayed a dead letter. It would contradict the way by which in Malta, judicial functions were laid out – so they claimed. This was nothing more than an excuse intended to keep everything as it was.

If now, one is glad to note that things have started to budge, the query that arises still is: what kept objections in place for so long and how come it is only now that matters have acquired some movement?

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Regarding books

These last years, the standing of books has improved in Maltese society, and not just because publications continued to increase in number. Most of all, the Book Council has been taking new initiatives to promote reading and raise awareness about Maltese books. What still remains to be done though is to find a more convenient location from where to organize its annual book festival.

Moreover in the print media, some space is again being given to regular reviews of new and old books. In the past, in contrast to European and American papers, Maltese ones were omitting to cover new publications. At least this has started to change although hardlyon a systematic basis.

It is on the distribution front that the situation remains dismal. Actually matters have deteriorated. With the exception of some two larger emporia, one finds that stores in our towns and villages which used to carry a relatively wide variety of books, now either display next to no books or are caught with just one very limited selection of publications. That’s a great pity.