L-argument hu, jew kien, li la Malta għandha spazju konsiderevoli fiċ-ċentru tal-Mediterran taħt is-sorvelja tagħha fl-ajru u l-baħar, trid tieħu responsabbiltà kbira hi wkoll fis-salvataġġ u ż-żamma tal-immigranti llegali li jgħaddu miż-żona.

Waqt li cħadna dit-tieni esiġenza, bqajna żguri li ż-żona ta’ sorvelja għandha tinżamm kif inhi, taħt direzzjoni Maltija.

Ftit hu ċar f’moħħi xinhuma l-vantaġġi li qed nieħdu b’dis-sorvelja, ħlief bla dubju l-ħlas għas-servizz li qed nagħtu biex inżommu r-rotot miftuħa. Biss, lil hinn mill-ħlas…? Forsi l-informazzjoni li jkollna dwar iċ-ċaqliq ta’ bastimenti u ajruplani għandha xi siwi strateġiku jew ta’ sigurtà għalina? X’kapaċità għandna mbagħad biex ninqdew b’din l-informazzjoni?

L-ispazju ta’ sorvelja li qed nitkellmu dwaru mhux bħall-meded tal-baħar li jdawruna, li barra mill-ħut, jistgħu qed iġorru provisti kbar ta’ żjut u minerali prezzjużi. Id-drittijiet fuq dawn tal-aħħar bl-ebda mod ma nistgħu nċeduhom.

L-ARTI F’GĦAWDEX

Kienet fost l-aktar okkażjonijiet fil-Parlament li ħadt gost nattendi kemm ili membru: l-inawgurazzjoni minn Justyne Caruana ta’ wirja ta’ pitturi minn erba’ artisti Għawdxin – Anthony Caruana, Manuel Farrugia, Rachel Galea u Christopher Saliba. Biha ridna nuru kif l-artisti Għawdxin qed jesploraw b’suċċess idjomi ta’ żminijietna u b’hekk jagħtu xhieda tal-bidliet li qed iġġarrab il-gżira tagħhom.

L-aktar li għoġbitni fl-okkażjoni kienet id-dehra tal-pitturi nfushom – kull waħda ħajja, b’laqta kontemporanja diretta jew ambigwa, toffri sfida. Mhux ta’ b’xejn li l-ħidma artistika f’Għawdex tinsab għaddejja b’rankatura, tant li issa anke artisti Maltin qed ifittxu li jkollhom preżenza f’Għawdex.

Dan hu żvilupp mill-aktar interessanti u għandu joffri opportunità wkoll għat-talenti ta’ kuraturi bħal Manuel Grima, il-moħħ wara l-wirja fil-Parlament Ewropew.

CHARLES MICELI

Kien ili nafu sa mill-ewwel żmien li bdejt naħdem mill-qrib mal-Union Print, fl-ewwel nofs tas-snin tmenin.

Kien differenti minn ħafna oħrajn – għalkemm “tax-xellug”, dejjem lest li jimmodera l-fehmiet tiegħu biex jagħti kont ta’ dak li qed jaħseb u jemmen ħaddieħor, waqt li bil-kwiet isostni l-ġudizzju tiegħu. F’dan, kien jiġbed lejn il-fehma ta’ min jinsab minn taħt.

Fil-kalma u fil-ġentilezza tiegħu, kien sod fid-deċiżjonijiet li jieħu, kif ukoll fl-għażliet. Stagħġibt ftit meta qatagħha li jitlaq minn ġurnalist. Ma stagħġibtx bl-għażla tiegħu li minflok imur jaħdem mal-Caritas, fost dawk li qed jiġu kkurati mill-vizzju tad-droga. Għamel xogħol fejjiedi hemm. Wara, bqajt isegwi b’ammirazzjoni l-impenn tiegħu favur il-foqra.

Inħsadt ħafna bl-aħbar ta’ mewtu. Dawk li jinsabu minn taħt tilfu difensur qalbieni u intelliġenti. Kondoljanzi profondi lil Pauline u lill-familja kollha.

English Version – Airspace

The argument is, or was, that since Malta is responsible for air and sea surveillance over a huge area in the centre of the Mediterranean, it should also assume reponsibility for the rescue and safekeeping of “illegal” migrants that penetrate the area.

While refuting this second obligation we have remained convinced that the monitoring zone should remain as it has been, under Maltese “control”.

To be sure, it is not quite clear what benefits we do get as a result of this surveillance chore, apart no doubt from the payments for services rendered to keep travelling routes in order. However, what comes over and above these payments…? Could it be that the information we obtain about the movements of ships and planes has some strategic or security value for us? What ability do we then have to deal usefully with any such information?

The monitoring “rights” to the space we are responsible for apparently do not have the same overhang as rights over the seas that surround us, which apart from fish stocks, can be carrying huge supplies of oils and rare minerals. On these, it would be inconceivable to give up any rights, actual and potential.

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Art in Gozo

It was among the occasions at the European Parliament since I became a member that I liked best going to: the inauguration by Justyne Caruana of an exhibition of paintings by four Gozitan artists – Anthony Caruana, Manuel Farrugia, Rachel Galea and Christopher Saliba. We wanted it to affirm how Gozitan artists are exploring successfully contemporary idioms and thereby giving witness to the changes that their island home is experiencing.

Then, what I liked most at the occassion was the display itself of the paintings – each one with a live and contemporary statement, whether direct or ambiguous, presented as a kind of challenge. It is hardly surprising that artistic endeavour in Gozo is gathering pace, so much so that now even Maltese artists are reaching out to have a presence in Gozo.

This is a very interesting development and should also offer further opportunities for the talent of curators like Manuel Grima, who was the brains behind the exhibiton at the EP.

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Charles Miceli

I had known him since when I started working closely with Union Print during the first half of the eighties.

He was different, unlike many others – though on the “left”, he would always be prepared to moderate his views to take into account what others would be thinking and believing, while quietly reaffirming his own judgement. In this, he would take the part of the underdog.

While calm and gentle in his approach, his decisions – his choices – were hard. I was surprised when he decided to quit journalism. I was not suprised by what he chose to do instead, work with Caritas in the division that ran anti-drug addiction programmes. There he did sterling work. Later, like others, I followed with admiration his commitment to anti-poverty action.

The news of his death was an unexpected shock. Underdogs have lost a courageous and intelligent champion. Deep condolences go to Pauline and all his family.