Lil hinn mis-solidarjetà bla riżerva li nuru lejn Franza u l-poplu Franċiż wara t-tieni attakk barbaru ta’ terroriżmu f’sena mmuntat f’Pariġi, wasal iż-żmien għal riflessjoni aktar profonda dwar kif għandna nirrispondu għat-terroriżmu modern.

L-ewwel riflessjoni: X’inhuma r-raġunijiet li qed iwasslu biex irġiel u nisa żgħażagħ jilqgħu s-sejħa tat-terroriżmu ħalli jkunu lesti joqtlu bla ħniena lil nies innoċenti waqt li huma stess imutu “għall-ġid tal-kawża”?

It-tieni: L-Ewropej jeħtieġ jirrevedu l-modi kif jissettjaw il-proċeduri ta’ ħarsien fl-Ewropa. Sa issa, ħafna mill-proċeduri kienu dominati minn kriterji dwar libertajiet ċivili li fi żmien ta’ emerġenza iridu jitqiesu mill-ġdid. L-arranġamenti ta’ Xengen jiġu quddiem nett f’dan l-eżerċizzju.

It-tielet: Wasal iż-żmien għal konfront sħiħ mal-organizzazzjonijiet bħal Daex li qed jimmuntaw it-terroriżmu. Kontra Saddam u Gaddafi ma kien hemm l-ebda skrupli fl-użu tal-mezzi, imma fir-rigward tat-terroriżmu tal-lum donnu li hemm aktar titubar.

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Pensjonijiet tas-Servizzi

Il-parir legali tal-Avukat Ġenerali Ewropew Bot dwar il-kwistjoni tal-pensjoni taż-żewġ terzi għall-pensjonanti Maltin tas-servizzi Ingliżi hu dettaljat, tekniku u preċiż. Se jkun diffiċli għall-gvern Malti biex jippreżenta każ kontra.

Forsi m’għandux jagħmel hekk.
Moralment, il-pensjonanti tas-servizzi Ingliżi ilhom li rebħu l-każ tagħhom. Ħallsu l-kontribuzzjonijiet u allura għandhom jingħataw il-pensjoni kollha li ħallsu għaliha.

Fl-1997, solvejna l-kwistjoni. Bdejna fuq temp ta’ tliet snin, sena wara l-oħra, inġibu lil dawn il-pensjonanti f’linja li jieħdu l-pensjoni kollha dovuta lilhom. Kieku dan l-eżerċizzju twassal sal-aħħar, illum ma kien ikun hemm l-ebda problema.

Imma l-gvern ta’ Fenech Adami, wara li wiegħed li se jkompli bis-sistema matul il-kampanja elettorali tal-1998, abbandunaha.

Tal-mistħija l-isforz tal-“ġurnalista” Ivan Camilleri f’The Times biex jgħawweġ il-verità u jgħid li kien l-istess gvern (ta’ Fenech Adami) li pprova jirranġa l-problema. Gidba.

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Helmut Schmidt

Kif wieħed seta’ jistenna, il-mewt ta’ Helmut Schmidt ġibdet prominenza kbira fil-Ġermanja. F’pajjiżi oħra, ingħatat attenzjoni anqas.

Schmidt kien l-aħħar kanċellier tal-Ġermanja tal-Punent; warajh, Helmut Kohl “spiċċa” l-kanċellier tal-Ġermanja magħquda. Għal nies tal-ġenerazzjoni tiegħi, Schmidt kien il-mexxej li daħal minflok Willy Brandt meta dan irriżenja minn kanċellier wara li l-Ġermaniżi tal-Lvant irnexxielhom idaħħlulu spjun fost il-kunsilliera fdati tiegħu.

Schmidt wera li kellu l-ħiliet kollha biex ikun kanċellier mill-aqwa u żviluppa stil ta’ tmexxija deċiżiv u mmarkat bil-personalità tiegħu. L-intelliġenza u r-rieda samma li wera f’kull ma għamel kienu impressjonanti, anki meta mar żmerċ. Meta spiċċa minn kanċellier, telaq għal karriera oħra ta’ opinjonista. Fiha kompla jikseb l-istima tal-Ġermaniżi, kif rajna fit-tributi lejh li fawru minn kullimkien ma’ mewtu.

English Version – Terrorism

In the wake of the second barbarous attack in less than a year carried out in Paris, beyond the unbounded solidarity we need to show towards France and the French people, we also need to accept that the time has come for a deeper reflection regarding the proper response to modern terrorism.

A first question: What are the real reasons that prompt young men and women to follow the terrorists’ calls for them to kill innocent people mercilessly, while being themselves ready to die “for the good of the cause”?

Secondly: Europe must revise the methods by which procedures for public security are devised. Up to now, many of these procedures have been deployed according to criteria regarding civil liberties that at times of emergency should be reconsidered. Arrangements adopted under the Schengen system must come first in such an exercise.

Thirdly: The time has come for a total confrontation with organizations like Daesh which are spearheading today’s terrorism. When Saddam and Ghaddafi were being targeted few scruples came in the way; there seems to be a greater hesitation now that terrorism is the target.

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Service pensions

The legal opinion of the European Advocate General Bot concerning ex-British servicemen’s rights to a full two thirds pension in Malta is detailed, technical and precise. The Malta government will find it difficult to marshall a contrary opinion.

Perhaps it should not even try.

Morally, ex-Services pensioners won their argument long ago. They made all the relevant contributions and should therefore receive the full pension they paid for.

In 1997, we had settled the matter. Over a period of three years in annual steps, we began to align pensioners towards a situation where they would have received at the end, all their dues. If that exercise had been completed, there would be no problem today.

But after having promised during the 1998 election campaign to continue with the arrangements, the Fenech Adami administration reneged on its commitment and abandoned the process.

In a shameful attempt to spin a twisted version of the truth, “journalist” Ivan Camilleri in The Times claimed that in fact it was the same (Fenech Adami) government which had tried to fix the problem. That’s a lie.

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Helmut Schmidt

It was to be expected that the death of Helmut Schmidt would be extensively covered in Germany. Elsewhere it got less attention.

Schmidt was the last chancellor of West Germany. His successor Helmut Kohl “ended up” as the chancellor of a united Germany. For people of my generation, Schmidt was the leader who took over from Willy Brandt when the latter had to resign as chancellor after the East Germans infiltrated a spy among his most trusted advisors.

Eventually Schmidt showed he had all the qualities required to perform as a superb chancellor while developing a leadership style that was decisive and truly his own. The intelligence and strong determination he demonstrated in all his initaitives were impressive, even when he got things wrong. At the end of his stint as chancellor, he embarked on a career as opinion maker. In this he continued to strengthen the esteeem the German people held him in – as shown by the flood of tributes once his death was announced.