It was not my intention to launch the new year with a negative post. I had such grand plans for kicking off this year with positive vibes after the season of good cheer, but it seems that it was not to be. Going through the local news and commentary boards over the past few days has left me feeling uneasy and with an unshakeable feeling of regret. What the hell has happened to my country and to its purported sense of fairness, empathy and circumspection? It seems that now, more than ever, we are somewhat languishing in what I can only describe as a gory Schadenfreude-fest. Strangely, Malta is apparently also the same country which has once again broken all records over the Christmas period, by raising millions for charity.
Comparing the Malta which gives so freely and generously to the less fortunate, to the one which vents its vicious opinions regarding other people’s personal misfortunes on a variety of platforms feels tantamount to comparing fire with water; ours is a country which seemingly exists on two parallel dimensions. I grew up in another time, not exactly a gentler time by any stretch of the imagination, but still, the unprecedent amount of vitriol currently pervading our daily lives has reached peak levels. And one of the underlying reasons for this needless cruelty, or at least as I see it, is none other than the struggle for political power, in a country where we already live and breathe politics 24/7.
The Adrian Delia domestic dispute debacle has hogged the headlines for the past couple of weeks, greatly dividing opinion (as if this needs even more division) on whether the details of the Leader of the Opposition’s acrimonious separation battle should be fodder for the masses or not. Domestic violence accusations are serious accusations indeed and when levelled at a Prime Minister-in-waiting, even more so. I am all for the resounding need of informing the public of their politicians’ moral soundness or otherwise but reading through the commentary boards and some shockingly depraved comments and opinions, it takes no Einstein to question whether it is truly wise to mill such news through the media’s grisly machines…
Whatever happened to basic human kindness? What has happened to the inviolable merit of shielding innocent children from the scrutiny of strangers, regardless of who their parents are or whatever battles they are struggling with? Instead we quickly resort to creating a horrific media circus, wherein anyone with access to a keyboard and the internet can vent his spleen on what would have been, in other circumstances, a very private tragedy. But patience is not our forte and dispensing judgement comes easier than withholding it, at the very least until the unembellished truth is known. So off we go, baying for blood, without one iota of caring for the trauma we may be inflicting on five very innocent children.
And speaking of innocent children, it seems that the Prime Minister’s daughters are still featuring highly on some people’s ‘flavour of the month’ list. It was a shameful and despicable move when these same children were dragged and ridiculed once again through some purportedly upstanding individual’s Facebook post; perversely on Christmas Eve in time for midnight mass (the timing says a lot about this man’s understanding of seasonal goodwill). Why all this obnoxious aggro levelled at two very young children? Oh, they happen to be the Prime Minister’s daughters s’all…
I earlier mused, ‘what the hell has happened to my country?’, but in retrospect this contemptible malaise which has gripped our nation is not exactly a recent occurrence… Ah, what a seductive liar nostalgia is!
For years on end, the late blogger was infamous for wreaking havoc with people’s lives, airing families’ misfortunes (regardless whether real or imaginary) for the degustation of those who lapped up these salacious morsels to give meaning to their depraved existence. One might argue that speaking ill of the dead is only perpetuating the circle of hatred, but the facts and the very real damage she inflicted on so, so many, remains undisputable.
Is this the legacy we must be lumbered with? Is this the legacy that defines us? She made it seem so easy and so normal to simply tear people’s lives apart without any consideration for innocent bystanders including children. But just because the vilification of an individual, any individual for that matter, may be viewed as bold and heroic in some circles, it should never be allowed to become our national pastime. As a country we are bigger than that, much bigger actually.
In much the same way we can for a few hours come together, forget our differences and pour our hearts and souls into worthy causes, we can also restrain ourselves and be prudent, especially when opining publicly about other people’s misfortunes… otherwise we sorely run the risk of this blessed island of ours becoming nothing more than just ‘Hypocrisy Central’!