Not in the national interest
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Not in the national interest

One of the most important decades for people my age was surely the 1960s. There was a great awakening as well as a desire for freedom and self-determination.

 

On the international scene it was the decade of student protests and demonstrations which brought down DeGaulle and prevented President Lyndon Johnson from contesting for the second term. 

The Church got more than a breath of fresh air thanks to Vatican Council II. A new era opened up in the relationships of the Church and society. New participatory structures were set up also inside the Church.

Malta become independent. The dream of so many Maltese over so many decades, not to say centuries, became a reality thanks to Gorg Borg Olivier.

The 1960s taught  us to take authority with a pinch of salt. It inculcated in each one of us a yearning for real freedom.  Elected representatives were not gods. They were our servants. They should be resisted when they attempt to boss us and patronize us. We – the common citizens – should be in control.

In the 1980s all these values were challenged in Malta. It was the time when our elected government morphed into an undemocratic regime. Freedom was restricted. Our right to have the government we elected was negated us. The regime became more and more oppressive. It took over the police who started to fraternize with criminals to crush all protests. 

 
We were told that those who criticize the government were the enemies of the people.
 

We were told that those who criticize the government were the enemies of the people. The national interest and the interest of the ruling clique were considered to be the same. The whims of the great leader became the national interest.

Anyone who dissented was accused of tixwix (incitement) and dubbed as the enemy of the people. 

Denouncing corruption was considered to be against the national interest.

Denouncing police brutality was considered to be against the national interest.

 

Denouncing the threats against democracy was considered to be against the national interest. 

Seeking the help of foreign international fora in our fight to regain freedom was considered to be against the national interest. 

Trying to get human rights agencies and the Council of Europe to speak against the erosion of democracy was considered to be against the national interest.

The jargon used by the regime of the 1980s was the same jargon used by the military dictatorships of Latin America. They, like other fascist dictators, believed that criticizing them was against the national interests. Those fascists also believed that if you denounced them overseas you would the working  against the national interest. 

The militaristic fascist dictators of Latin America are no more but their theory of national security is still alive and kicking.

I have over the years developed a deep dislike and disgust for talk about tixwix (incitement) and the defence of national interest. Experience taught me that such talk is a facile cover for incompetence, corruption  and arrogance.

The days when despots believed that ‘I am the state’ should have been long declared dead and buried. Same applies to the belief that what governments concocts is always in the national interest and that other politicians and common folk like me should just toe the line.

Please grow up and be mature.

Your interest is not necessarily the national interest.

 
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