L-imgħaxijiet baxxi li jipprevalu fl-Ewropa ma hemmx li jiċċaqalqu ‘l fuq. Żiedu t-tensjoni li diġà kienet teżisti bejn il-ministru tal-finanzi Ġermaniż Schauble u l-President tal-Bank Ċentrali Draghi. Tal-aħħar, biex iqajjem l-attività ekonomika u jressaq lejn inflazzjoni ta’ 2 fil-mija, ilu x-xhur issa jippompja 60 biljun ewro fix-xahar fl-ekonomija Ewropea.
L-attività ekonomika għadha dgħajfa. L-inflazzjoni baqgħet ċassa. L-imgħaxijiet fuq depożiti u self bankarji kważi sparixxew.
Skont Schauble, dan qed jaffettwa ħażin ħafna lill-pensjonanti Ġermaniżi li raw id-dħul tagħhom mill-flus depożitati fil-banek jisparixxu. Irrabjati, ħafna minnhom tħajru jivvotaw għall-partit tal-AfD li hu kontra s-sħubija tal-Ġermanja fiż-żona tal-ewro.
Schauble ilu ma jaqbilx mal-politika tal-Bank Ċentrali Ewropew. Imma bil-kritika pubblika tiegħu mar kontra dak li suppost hu valur fondamentali fil-politika Ġermaniża: rispett sħiħ lejn l-indipendenza ta’ Bank Ċentrali.
Fi storja li dehret fil-gazzetti dwar dar ta’ preġju fir-Rabat, Għawdex, iltqajt mal-isem tal-perit tagħha Ġużè Damato. Sa fejn niftakar, qatt ma smajt bih qabel. Kien arkitett ta’ talent mhux żgħir li fassal numru ta’ xogħlijiet validi ħafna.
Ħabib tiegħi qalli li hemm ħafna Maltin li għamlu isem tul ħajjithom fil-qasam li għażlu, u mhux Malta biss, imma li ftit jafu bihom. Tista’ tgħid li jinsabu minsija għalkollox. Forsi ssib isimhom f’xi enċiklopedija li kienet toħroġ fl-ewwel nofs tas-seklu l-ieħor imma mhux żgur. Ġieli tiltaqa’ magħhom fil-kitba ta’ nies li jiddelettaw bl-antikwarjat.
Forsi l-istat messu jiċċentralizza l-informazzjoni kollha li tista’ tinġabar dwarhom f’dizzjunarju ta’ bijografija nazzjonali, bħalma jiġri fir-Renju Unit.
John u Joe
Dax-xahar mietu żewġt iħbieb kbar tiegħi. It-tnejn sirt nafhom u napprezzahom bl-istess mod: permezz tal-ħidma tagħhom fil-Partit Laburista.
John Bartolo għamel snin twal iservi fil-kumitat Laburista ta’ Ħal Qormi, Joe Cassar f’ta’ Ħal Luqa. Joe kien ilu aktar snin jimmilita fil-Partit minn John, għax akbar minnu b’xi għoxrin sena: niftakru fl-Eżekuttiv, fil-Konferenza Ġenerali u f’Ħal-Luqa. Kien ħabrieki u meta jinqalgħu l-problemi, ma jibqax lura — jaffaċċjahom. John l-istess, kwiet u kalm (għalkemm jinkwieta ħafna mingħajr ma jidher li hu hekk) imma jaf lil pajjiżu sew, attent u attiv.
Iddispjaċieni ħafna li ma stajtx nattendi għall-funeral tagħhom, billi kont barra. Nies bħalhom ma jidhrux fuq il-midja. Mhumiex magħrufa mill-publiku in ġenerali. Imma lilhom issib meta l-partiti jiġu biex iwettqu l-ħidma “normali” tagħhom fost il-poplu. Jistħoqqilhom kull għarfien għas-servizzi li taw lill-politika demokratika f’pajjiżna. Sfortunatament nies bħalhom naqsu sew fil-għadd.
Kondoljanzi mill-ġdid lill-familji ta’ John u Joe.
English Version – Low interest rates
The low interest rates prevailing in Europe show little sign they will be rising soon. They have upped the already existing tension between German finance minister Schauble and the president of the European Central Bank Draghi. To revive economic activity while targeting an inflation rate of 2 percent, Draghi has for the last months been pumping 60 billion euros monthly into the European economy.
Still, economic activity remains weak. Inflation has stayed below par. Interest payments on bank deposits and loans have almost disappeared.
According to Schauble, this is affecting badly German pensioners. They have seen vanish their income from savings deposited in banks. Angry, many have been tempted to vote for the AfD party, which opposes German membership of the eurozone.
Schauble has long been at odds with ECB policies. However with his public criticism he did go against what is supposedly a fundamental value of German politics: total respect towards the independence of a Central bank.
A story in the media about a prestigious house in Rabat, Gozo, featured the name of its architect, Ġuże Damato. As far as I can remember, I had never heard about him. He was a talented professional who designed a good number of very valid projects.
A friend of mine told me that there are many Maltese who made a name for themselves in their chosen field of activity, and not just in Malta. But few know about them. You could say they have been totally forgoettn. Actually, you might be able to find their names inserted in some encyclopedia that used to be issued during the first half of the previous century, but that’s not for sure. Or you could find their names mentioned in the works of people who delight in antiquarian researches.
Perhaps the state should centralise all the information that could be gathered about such people in some dictionary of national biography, as is done in the UK.
John and Joe
This month, two old friends of mine died. I got to know and like both of them in the same way: as a result of their contribution to the Labour Party.
John Bartolo spent long years in the service of the Labour committee at Qormi, Joe Cassar in that of Luqa. As he was some twenty years older than John, Joe had been a Party militant for longer: I remember him on the ball in the National Executive, the General Conference of the party as well as at Luqa. He was hardworking and when problems arose, he would face them without hesitation. So did John, quietly and calmly (although he could get very upset about things, without letting this show). But he stayed attentive and agile, very much in the know about what was going on in his locality.
I greatly regretted not being able to attend their funeral as I was abroad.
People like them do not make the headlines. They are hardly known by the general public. Yet they are indispensable when parties are carrying out their “normal” functions among people.
They deserve full recognition for the services they gave to political democracy in our country. Unfortunately the number of people who follow their example is rapdly declining.
Once again I extend my condolences to John and Joe’s families.