Kien ili ma ninżel Marsaxlokk waranofsinhar għal San Girgor. It-temp dis-sena ma tantx inzerta imma l-folla li nġabret xorta kienet ferreħija u fil-burdata li tieħu gost bla ma toqgħod tfettaq. Ir-ristoranti għamlu negozju tajjeb u l-istess il-bejjiegħa tas-suq. Hawn, bil-maqlub tal-aħħar darba li żort l-inħawi, l-Maltin kienu f’maġġoranza kbira fuq it-turisti.

Erġajt iltqajt ma’ ħafna ħbieb. Uħud minnhom kien ili x-xhur ma narahom, jekk mhux snin. Bejnietna, faru t-tifkiriet ta’ ikliet li kienu nżammu hawn f’ristoranti li llum bidlu isimhom u sidhom u d-dekor, imma baqgħu jispeċjalizzaw fil-ħut u baqgħu tajba.

Dnub li kelli nitlaq kmieni ħalli naqsam Malta saċ-Ċirkewwa biex nattendi għal attività politika fis-Sannat. Kien ili ma nsib ruħi f’ambjent daqstant rilassanti minkejja li miżgħud bil-folol.

ARMATA EWROPEA

Fiċ-ċentru Laburista taż-Żejtun ftit ilu, stennejt forsi li se tqum xi diskussjoni fuq il-kaċċa u l-insib (li qamet) jew oħra dwar l-immigrazzjoni. Biss stagħġibt li l-akbar interess minn dawk preżenti kienet dwar in-newtralità ta’ Malta u l-politika tad-difiża fl-Ewropa.

Aktar ma jgħaddi ż-żmien, aktar din qed tissemma fl-iżvilupp ta’ politika Ewropea “komuni”. Fostna ftit qed tqanqal interess. Jidher li hemm eċċezzjonjiet għal dan.

L-argument li qam kien dwar kif Malta għandha tippożizzjona ruħha waqt li qed titfassal dil-politika ta’ “difiża”? Hi politika li tikkuntradixxi in-newtralità ta’ Malta kif stabbilita fil-Kostituzzjoni?

Imbagħad, jekk se nibqgħu barra mill-politika Ewropea ta’ difiża – se nispiċċaw bla min jista’ jagħtina wens fil-każ li jiżdiedu r-riskji ta’ gwerra? Jew se nispiċċaw inħallsu bil-kontribuzzjonijiet tagħna lill-baġit tal-Unjoni għall-politika ta’ difiża, mingħajr ma nieħdu xejn minnha?

Fuq kollox: in-newtralità għandha valur?

Dawn il-mistoqijiet kollha qamu fl-għoxrin minuta li domt fiċ-ċentru!

PETE BUTTIGIEG

Ħadt tassew gost naqra dwar Pete Buttigieg f’ġurnali u servizzi tal-aħbarijiet Ewropej ta’ stoffa bħal The Economist, Die Welt u l-BBC News. Kollha taw prominenza lir-rapportaġġi li għamlu dwaru. Deher fuq l-ewwel paġna tal-Welt b’ritratt. Ismu kien fuq il-qoxra tal-Economist. It-tnejn “ilmentaw” li diffiċli ħafna tippronunzja kunjomu imma qiesu l-messaġġ tiegħu politiku bħala qawwi ħafna, għalkemm għadu fil-bidu…

Buttigieg bħala teenager, kien jiġi vaganza Malta ma’ missieru u niftakru mal-klikka ta’ ħbieb tat-tifla tiegħi. Darba jew tnejn, ħriġthom jieklu – xi tlieta jew erba’ minnhom – f’restorant il-Belt li kien jismu l-Caccopazzo.

Dejjem qiestu bħala żagħżugħ intelliġenti ħafna, jitkellem bis-sens u soċjevoli. Il-ġurnali Ewropej faħħru l-isforz li qed jagħmel biex jidħol bil-kbir fit-tellieqa presidenzjali li jmiss tal-Istati Uniti. Nixtieqlu kull suċċess.

English Version – St Gregory festa

I had last been at Marsaxlokk in the afternoon for the St Gregory festa quite a long while ago. This year the weather was not so nice but the crowd that gathered was happy and in the mood to enjoy life without raising too many complaints. Restaurants were doing well and the same applied for the hawkers at their stalls. This time here, by contrast with my last visit, Maltese people hugely outnumbered tourists.

I met again many old friends, some of whom I had last seen months ago, if not years. Our meetings sparked memories of dinners that were held in the surrounding restaurants, which meanwhile had changed names, owners and decor, but still specialised in fish and still were good quality.

The pity was that I had to leave early in order to drive across Malta towards Ċirkewwa, since I needed to attend a political activity in Sannat. The last time I found myself in a place that could be so relaxing despite the crowds that had gathered, was far from being recent.

***

A European army

At the Żejtun Labour centre last week, I expected that a discussion could ensue about hunting and trapping (it did) or about immigration. However I was surprised to find that the greatest interest shown by those present related to Malta’s neutrality and Europe’s emerging defence policy.

Increasingly the latter is being touted in the framework of efforts to develop further Europe’s “common” policies. We seem to have been up to now minimally interested in this. But it also seems that there exist some exceptions to such a rule.

The argument that was raised related to how Malta should position itself while this “defence” policy is being constructed. Is it an approach that contradicts Malta’s neutrality as established in the constitution?

Then, another point: if we remain outside Europe’s future defence policy, would we end up helpless in the face of war risks? Or would we end up paying through our contributions to the EU budget for a defence policy that would be of no benefit to us?

Above all: does neutrality have a value and meaning?

All these questions were brought up in the less than the twenty minutes I spent at the Żejtun Labour centre!

***

Pete Buttigieg

I was really glad to read about Pete Buttigieg in highly rated European newspapers and news services like The Economist, Die Welt and BBC News. They all gave top prominence to their coverages about him. One was on Die Welt’s frontpage along with a photo. His name featured clearly on The Economist’s front cover. Both complained it was practically impossible to pronounce his surname but still, they considered that his political message was extremely powerful, even if it had been launched quite recently.

As a teenager, Buttigieg visited Malta on holiday with his father and I remember him in the clique of my daughter’s friends. Once or twice, I took three or four of them out to supper in a Valletta restaurant then called Caccopazzo.

I always considered him as a very intelligent and sociable youth, whose conversation made sense. European newspapers have been full of praise for the effort he has been conducting to make a good impact on the ongoing race to become US President. I wish him all success.