Monday, 31 March 2008
Monday, 24 March 2008
As the US enters its sixth year of an unjustifiable war, I am posting the trailer of what appears to be a very interesting documentary. President Bush, stop the bloodshed and call for an immediate return of all the US troops in Iraq! Long live peace!!!
Saturday, 15 March 2008
Even though the PN failed to secure an absolute majority of the electorate's votes, the thousands of individuals who cherish leftist principles have to endure another five years of Gonzi PN. I cannot hide my disappointment about the fact that the MLP lost this election; I really believed that the latter was going to win.
During the past few days, I have been able to reflect a great deal about life in Malta, the trends exhibited by the Maltese electorate from one election to another, leadership issues...I must say that there were many lessons to be learned from this election.
One of the first - and probably most important - lessons that I learned is that Malta is still not ready for relatively small political parties. Throughout Malta's political history, a number of parties were formed, but none of them have ever remained active for a long time or managed to win a seat in Parliament. AD has been around for almost 20 years and even though they managed to obtain more than 3000 votes, this is still a far cry from the amount that is needed to be able to carry out substantial changes in the country. In this country, if one wants to take an active part in determining the country's future, I believe that one ought to join one of the big parties.
Whoever has been reading my posts over the last few months knows that I have often campaigned in favour of a political party that would start talking again about Socialism, just as Dom Mintoff and Karmenu Mifsud Bonnici used to do. I believe that one of Alfred Sant's worst faults was that he brushed the Socialist ideology to the side and focused too much on specific issues. When one focuses exclusively on issues, it becomes fairly easy for the other parties to steal ideas and to compete in such a way that makes it hard to identify which organisation is trying to promote which type of ideology. I would not be surprised to find many young MLP supporters who do not have a clear idea of what it means to be a Socialist. I strongly hope that whoever is elected as the new leader of the MLP is able to remind the Maltese electorate about the importance of being a Socialist when trying to build a more caring society rather than one revolving around the greed for profit.
Following the outcome of the March 2008 election, I no longer believe in campaigning for new parties. AN had contacts and truckloads of cash; in spite of having such resources at their disposal, they only managed to obtain a little over 1000 votes. If this happened to AN, just imagine the outcome for a small party with extremely limited financial resources and virtually no contacts!
I am not saying that new political parties should not be created. People should be free to establish new parties if they believe that such organisations can truly lead to a better country for everyone. I am merely saying that I am not interested in being a minor player in Malta's political field. I see little point in devoting countless hours and Euros to an organisation that will probably never be able to contribute substantially to improving the quality of life of the country's inhabitants.
This election has also taught me a great deal about the importance of democracy. At the end of the day, no matter how interesting a person's ideas are, it is essential to have a majority of the country's inhabitants approving of such ideas if they are to be implemented. Some people believe that ideas should be imposed on the members of society, but I believe that such efforts tend to backfire after a certain period of time. If most people do not agree with a number of proposals, these will never be implemented successfully and there will also be widespread unrest.
The March 2008 election has taught me a lot about the importance of persuasion. As we go along with our daily lives, we will all meet several people who disagree with us. This should not make anyone feel threatened. It is important to communicate reasonably and to attempt to persuade using peaceful techniques rather than aggressive ones. Forcing other people to agree with you through, say, fear will never bear long-term or succesful results.
This election has also taught me a great deal about the need for tolerance if we want to build a better country. I enjoyed the fact that there was virtually no violence when the electoral result was announced. When I write about tolerance, I am not only referring to tolerating individuals who belong to a different political party; I am also taking into consideration intra-party tolerance.
Sadly, during the past few days, I have heard many people say very nasty things about some other individuals who belong to the same political party. I find this totally absurd! At the end of the day, we are all highly fallable, flesh-and-blood human beings; it is ludicrous to expect any person to never make any mistakes! Whether the mistakes were committed by a party leader or any other individual within the party's administration, I believe that the most important thing is to identify those mistakes and to devise a plan to avoid repeating them. This should not be a punishing process; it should be an enlightening journey aimed at improving the person and the party to which he/she belongs.
Whilst acknowledging the fact that every political party represents a general set of beliefs, I disagree that any constructive criticism within the party should be stifled. As human beings, we are always searching for new ways and techniques to improve our lives; innovation should, therefore, not be discouraged.
When focusing on a specific political party, I believe that all its supporters should be considered as useful. Every person can offer something to the party and to the country. Hence, NOBODY should be ostracised. A party should act like a caring family. Elitist or intolerant attitudes should be avoided at all costs.
This election has changed me very much. I am still a Socialist because I still believe that Socialism is the best tool to build a much better world for everyone. When it comes to certain issues, I might have been misled in the past by certain things that I read, but the undeniable reality of an election's outcome is more than enough to encourage a person to change one's thoughts about many matters. At this stage, my biggest hope is that during the next 5 years, the MLP will act as a Socialist organisation. The MLP must be able to show the Maltese electorate how different its vision is from that of the PN. It must avoid scaring people. Most importantly, it must persuade this country's inhabitants that every person is extremely important in order to create a better world.
Sunday, 9 March 2008
Saturday, 8 March 2008
Sunday, 2 March 2008
After identifying a beautiful three-bedroom apartment in Ta' Xbiex, we decided to go to the bank to see how much we could get as a mortgage. The owner was willing to sell us the place for Lm50,000. All those people who have never been engaged in the purchase of property should realise that the property cost price is the starting point of one's expenses. On top of that, one must add the notary fees, bank fees, etc. The bank usually gives a loan amounting to 90% of the property's cost price; the remaining 10% should be forked out of the pocket of the person interested in buying. This 10% is normally referred to as the deposit. When talking about a property that costs Lm50,000, the amount of money that the purchasing party would need to come up with is Lm5,000!!!
Over the last few years, given our particular circumstances, it was not possible to save any money. There was a fairly long period of time during which my sweetheart was unable to work since she was not an EU citizen and we were not married. The dependence on one salary crucified us; I often had to ask one of my colleagues at work to lend me some money in order to make it to the end of the month! By the way, my sweetie and I do not smoke or drink heavily, meaning that we never spent any money on such things.
Things have changed a great deal since then. My partner and I are now married and we are both working in the financial services sector, which is said to be one of the fastest-growing areas in Malta. Having said this, in spite of having two salaries, it has never been possible to put aside a considerable amount of money. When we went to the bank, it became extremely clear that unless we were going to receive some help, it was not going to be possible to get the desired mortgage. We were short by a few thousand pounds! We eventually managed to obtain the mortgage plus the money required to cover most of the additional fees by begging a close relative for a guarantee!
Although we were very happy when the bank issued the sanction letter, we soon realised that the expenses were far from over. While still at the bank, both of us were taken to a room to talk to a financial officer about the insurance policies that would have to be purchased as part of the process. We will be paying the premiums later on this year given that they are relatively expensive!
We should be moving to the new apartment in April. At the moment, we are still paying rent (Lm250 per month) to our landlady in Sliema. Before signing the convenue, we seriously believed that we could just give notice to our landlady and she would allow us to leave. That was not the case. She informed us that our rental agreement binds us to pay rent until the end of he contract (October 2008). While talking to her on the phone, she kept insisting that she already has commitments related to our rent money; she needs to keep sending her daughter to guitar, karate, and ballet lessons!!! Yes, we were foolish to think that she would show any mercy towards us, but the bottom line is that unless we manage to find somebody to start renting the Sliema apartment as soon as possible, we will have to continue paying her Lm250 every month until October!!!
The whole situation makes me want to scream! I still find it so hard to believe that one should undergo so much pain in order to have a decent home! I am quite sure that there are many other people out there who believe that all human beings should have the right to live in a decent home without having to pay a cent! A true Socialist government would ensure that every person would be able to live in a decent home for free. That is why every country in the world needs such a government!