Il-pjazza quddiem il-knisja ta’ Santa Marija (“l-Qadima”) f’B’Kara tista’ tispiċċa xbieha-mudell tal-pajjiż kollu kemm hu, jekk ma noqgħodux attenti. Semmejtha drabi oħra f’dal-blogg.

Messha kienet pjazza sabiħa mifruxa quddiem waħda mill-aktar knejjes qodma ta’ Malta, li qed tipprova tistabilixxi ruħha bħala parroċċa. Il-knisja nnifisha, kif sirna nafu dan l-aħħar, għandha problemi kbar. Il-pedamenti qodma tagħha qed iċedu.

Niftakar il-pjazza bħalha art għammiela tal-biedja. Illum, miż-żewġ naħat tagħha, tinsab imdawra b’garaxijiet. Pjazez oħra quddiem knejjes ta’ prestiġju, Malta u barra, għadhom immarkati b’binjiet qodma jew moderni li jagħtuhom karattru. Mhux hawn.

Forsi bħala rimedju għal dan, fi żmien il-gvern ta’ Gonzi, b’ħafna fanfarri, iċċangaw il-pjazza bi blatiet suwed. Malajr bix-xita dawn inqalgħu. Issewwew għal darba tnejn. Kull darba jerġgħu jinqalgħu.

Fil-mument li qed nikteb, mill-ġdid jinsabu f’qagħda diżastruża. Il-blatiet qed jinqalgħu minn kullimkien. Inutli nwaħħlu fl-għargħar. Bħallikieku l-binja ta’ pjazza ma jmisshiex tkun imħarsa mill-għargħar.

***

GĦODOD GĦALL-EWRO

Ikolli nammetti li jħallini biered ħafna mid-diskors entużjast li jsir fi Brussell, anke minn nies ta’ rieda tajba, dwar xinhuma l-miżuri li jmisshom jittieħdu biex tissaħħaħ iż-żona tal-ewro. Ta’ spiss jieħdu l-argumenti tagħhom ’il bogħod wisq, għalkemm fondamentalment, għandhom raġun f’li jipproponu.

Ħlief fuq punt wieħed li għalija hu l-aktar fondamentali. Intesa fis-saga kollha ta’ kif inħmiet ir-riċetta tal-ewro.

Mhux biżżejjed li tħassel b’mod tekniku, għodod għat-tmexxija tal-ewro u tistenna li għax l-għodod jinsabu hemm, se jitħaddmu f’direzzjoni li hi politikament u soċjalment aċċettabbli.

Mela le, hu importanti li jkunu jeżistu l-għodod ta’ tmexxija. Imma qabel jiddaħħlu, irid ikun hemm qbil politiku dwar kif se jintużaw. Jekk le, aħjar li ma jkunx hemm għodod. Imma din fehmti hi minoritarja…

***

RACHEL CARSON

Fil-blogg ta’ qabel dan, ktibt dwar l-istorja kerha tar-rebbiegħa siekta li qed tolqot lil Franza minħabba l-qerda hemm tal-popolazzjoni tal-għasafar, li naqset b’terz fl-aħħar ħmistax-il sena.

Ħabib tiegħi ċempel biex jgħidli kif qies dak li ktibt bħala plaġjat. Ma ddejjaqtx insir naf li jaqra dak li nikteb imma ħadtha miegħu dwar l-akkuża li għamilli.

Fakkarni fil-ktieb klassiku li kienet ħarġet Rachel Carson fl-1962, “The Silent Spring”. Fih, Carson għamlet l-istess argumenti li tqanqlu fi Franza dwar kif il-pestiċidi qed jeqirdu l-ambjent meħtieġ biex l-għasafar u annimali oħra jsostnu ħajjithom.

Ħafna ħasbu li Carson kien irnexxielha tqajjem kuxjenza effettiva kontra t-taħsir ambjentali. Jidher li marru żmerċ. Il-problemi hemm għadhom. Ħaġa ovvja anzi, li minflok, qlielu.

English Version – Misadventures of a square

Unless we watch out, the square that fronts the church of St Mary (“the old church”) in B’kara could end up as an image, a model, for the island as a whole. This is not the first time I’m referring to the state it is in.

It should have been a beautiful square laid out before one of the oldest churches in Malta, which is actually trying to establish itself as a separate parish. The church edifice, as has recently become public knowledge, is itself in danger. Its ancient foundations are collapsing.

I remember the area as fertile agricultural land. Today, the square is bounded on all sides by garages. In Malta and abroad, squares that lie in front of prestigious churches are still highlighted by old and/or new constructions that give them character. Not here.

Possibly as a remedy for this, under the Gonzi administration, with much fanfare, the square was paved with black stones. Soon after the first rains came, the stones broke loose. Repairs were undertaken once, twice… They got loose again and again.

As I write this, they are in a disastrous state. Paving stones are buckling all over the square. There’s no point in blaming the flooding for this. When a square is being planned, inbult mechanisms to contain floods should be part of its design.

***

Euro tools

I must admit that I remain less than impressed by much of the enthusiastic talk that one hears in Brussels (even when it comes from people who act in good faith) about the measures that should be taken to strengthen the euro. Too often they take their arguments too far, though fundamentally they are correct in the proposals they make.

Except on the one point that I consider as the most fundamental. It has been simply forgotten in the saga that we have followed to develop the euro recipe.

It just is not enough to specify the “technical” tools required to manage the euro in the belief that once those tools are there, they will be used for ends that are politically and socially acceptable.

Of course, it is important to have such management tools at hand. But before they are put inplace, there should be a political agreement as to how they will be utilised. If not, it is best not to have them at all. My view on this is however a minority one…

***

Rachel Carson

In the blog previous to the present one, I mentioned the dismal story about the silent spring that is threatening to hang over the French countryside due to the elimination there of the bird population. In the last fifiteen years it has dropped by a third.

A friend phoned to accuse me of plagiarism. It was good to learn he was reading what I write but I had to contest his claim.

So he reminded me of Rachel Carson’s classic book, published in 1962 “The Silent Spring”. In it Carson made the same arguments now being put forward in France about how pesticides are destroying the environment that birds and other animals need to survive.

Many believed that Carson was successful in raising a proactive awareness about the deleterious effect of pesticides on the environment. It seems like they were wrong. The problem is still with us. And obviously, it has worsened.