Ħafna fl-Ewropa, qed iqisu bħala eroj lill-membri tal-għaqdiet mhux governattivi (NGOs) li qed jorganizzaw is-salvataġġ tal-immigranti fil-baħar tal-Mediterran. Jaraw dax-xogħol bħala ħidma umanitarja u ta’ min jagħtiha kull appoġġ. L-NGOs qiegħdin jistinkaw biex isalvaw lil bnedmin mill-għarqa.

Jien wieħed minn dawk li ma naqbilx ma’ dal-ġudizzju għalkemm kif jesprimi ruħu dwarhom il-ministru Taljan tal-intern Salvini aktar qanqal simpatija lejhom.

Il-verità hi li b’ħidmiethom dawn l-NGOs effettivament qed jagħtu palata lit-traffikanti tal-bnedmin fl-Afrika. Jekk il-biża’ mill-perikli tal-baħar seta’ serva ta’ deterrent għall-moviment bla rażan u llegali tal-persuni, il-preżenza u l-interventi tal-vapuri tal-NGOs idgħajfu sew dan l-effett. Anzi, l-NGOs qed joħolqu inċentiv għat-traffikanti fil-mod kif “ibigħu” il-passaġġi bil-baħar li joffru.

Ta’ min jinnota wkoll kif l-NGOs tas-salvataġġ joriġinaw minn pajjiżi li mhumiex fil-Mediterran u fil-maġġoranza, il-membri tagħhom mhumiex ċittadini ta’ xi pajjiż f’din iż-żona. L-immigranti li “jsalvaw” ma jeħduhomx f’pajjiżhom.

WIRT STORIKU

Smajna b’kemm-il storja dwar żviluppaturi li biex iħaffu x-xogħol tal-bini, jgħaġġluh u jiġu jitmejlu mill-miżuri ta’ salwagwardja għal fdalijiet storiċi jew ta’ valur ieħor fis-sit li jkollhom taħt idejhom. Il-kalkolu jkun li meta l-fdalijiet ikunu twarrbu għal dejjem, kulħadd jaċċetta l-biċċa bħala fatta. L-aktar li tmur fin-nofs, tkun xi multa.

Ħabib tiegħi li jaf kif isiru l-affarijiet fissirli li dan mhu bl-ebda mod tort tas-servizzi ta’ ħarsien tal-wirt storiku u ambjentali. Sa fejn jistgħu, huma jżommu l-attenzjoni fuq kull bini li jkun għaddej. Anke dar qadima residenzjali li qed tiġi modernizzata strutturalment trid tistenna biex qabel jitwettqu bidliet, l-ispetturi involuti jagħmlu ż-żjarat tagħhom. Sakemm dawn jagħtu l-iva tagħhom, ix-xogħlijiet jibqgħu wieqfa.

Ma weġibx meta saqsejtu jekk dan ifissirx li maż-“żgħar” il-ħarsien qed jirnexxi, imma forsi mhux mal-“kbar”.

STRASBURG

Ili issa erba’ snin, kull xahar inżur il-belt ta’ Strasburg, minn fejn qed nikteb din. Hi belt sabiħa u hu pjaċevoli żżurha… meta tkun wasalt fiha. Il-bużillis hu preċiżament dan: għalkemm tippreżenta ruħha bħala l-“kapitali” tal-Ewropa, ta’ spiss diffiċli tasal fiha b’mod konvenjenti, jekk ma titlaqx minn qribha. Il-konnessjonijiet bl-ajru xejn mhuma tajba. L-ajruport innifsu mhux organizzat tajjeb. Mid-dehra, iċ-ċittadini ta’ Strasburg ma kinux lesti jinvestu fl-infrastruttura għat-trasport bl-ajru. Ħafna sal-lum jitilqu bl-ajru għall-vaganzi tas-sajf minn Frankfurt.

Il-paradoss imbagħad hu li għat-trasport publiku fil-belt innifisha, l-awtoritajiet tal-belt ma qagħdux lura. Is-servizz tat-trammijiet u tax-xarabank hu modern u impekkabbli fl-operat tiegħu – barra milli fit-toroq kollha, jingħata priorità sħiħa, ħaġa li tagħmlu aktar effiċjenti minn kull servizz ieħor.

English Version – NGOs to the rescue

Many in Europe consider as heroes members of those NGOs which are organizing the rescue at sea of immigrants in the Mediterranean. They believe that this is a humanitarian job and deserves full support. Such NGOs are battling to save people from drowning.

I happen to be one of those who disagree with this judgement although I find that with his way of describing the NGOs, Italian interior Minister Salvini is boosting popular approval for what they do.

The truth however is that with their activities these NGOs are effectively giving support to traffickers of people out of Africa. If fear of the dangers attaching to a sea crossing could have served as a deterrent to the unchecked and illegal movement of persons, the presence and interventions of the NGOs with their ships are clearly weakening it. Indeed, the NGOs have been creating a sweetener that helps traffickers when they come to “market” the sea passages they have on offer.

One can also note how the NGOs organizing these rescues originate from countries outside the Mediterranean and that the majority of their members are not citizens of countries within the area. They do not transport the immigrants they “rescue” to their own country.

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Heritage

Many stories are on tap about developers who in order to deliver fast on construction jobs, rush them by brushing away the measures intended to preserve remains disovered on their site that have historical or other value. The calculation is that once such remains are liquidated, everybody is forced to accept there’s nothing that can be done about the problem.

A friend who knows how such matters pan out, explained that the services charged with the protection of our historical and environmental heritage cannot be blamed for what happens. They do their utmost to monitor all ongoing construction. Even when an old residential buidling is being modernised structurally, planned changes must wait till inspectors have carried out their visits. Work can only be continued after they have given their go ahead.

However he failed to reply when I enquired whether this meant that protection is successfully taking place for works being conducted by smaller fry, but perhaps not when fat cats are in charge.

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Strasbourg

For the last four years now, every month, I have been visiting the city of Strasbourg, from where I am writing this. It is a beautiful place and a pleasure to visit… once you’ve arrived. The trouble is precisely that though it likes to present itself as “the capital of Europe”, it is frequently difficult to get to Strasbourg if your point of departure is not close to it.

Air links are less than good. The airport itself is badly organized. Apparently Strasbourg’s citizens were not prepared to invest in the infrastructure that air transport requires. To this day, many still leave by air for their summer holidays from Frankfurt.

The paradox then is that the city authoriites did not keep back when it came to public transport. The tram and bus services are modern and have an excellent operating record – not least because in all thoroughfares, they are given full priority, which makes them more efficient than any other transport service on offer.