I am proud that last Tuesday I participated in the appeal we made in front of Parliament for our representatives to vote against the sale of our citizenship for cash.
We could not remain passive faced with this insult to our Maltese identity and what citizenship signifies. We appealed to our representatives on both sides of the House to choose common sense, and reach a consensus for a scheme that is based on long-term investment and residency, such that Maltese citizens are people who have a relationship with our country and participate in its social and economic life. We also appealed for this scheme to be more transparent and not have citizenship applicants hide behind anonymity. A Maltese citizen should be proud to be a Maltese citizen. The lack of disclosure does nothing but harm our long-term reputation.
We ironically used Labour's same campaign theme visual of painted-faces and 'Kburi li jien Malti' placards, to remind the Prime Minister that this scheme goes completely opposite to what he harbored and promised in Labour's campaign.
It was disappointing to be stopped by Police officers on our entrance to St. George's Square on the simple basis that they had "orders from above". Other citizens were in the square, and no explanation was given as to why they could be there and we couldn't. We weren't cited any law that prevented us from being there, and we weren't disclosed who the "people above" who gave this order were. After some phone-calls (to whom, we don't know), we were allowed to enter the square and appeal in silence while delivering a fake passport holding a letter to each and every MP.
It was disappointing that some Labour MPs refused to even accept the letter. It was disappointing to see the Prime Minister refuse to answer the journalist asking him questions, and instead telling her that "I don't want to speak with you, I want to speak with them". It was disappointing to see him arrogantly reply to MEP candidate and MZPN President Kevin Plumpton, whom he certainly knows, with a "who are you?" It was more disconcerting to see him turn to the protesters and try to intimidate one of them. The young protestor was quick to give his reasons as to why he opposes Maltese citizenship being sold. The Prime Minister replied with one of his usual argument-obfuscating illogical fallacies: "so you don't want foreigners married to Maltese to be given citizenship?" The young man replied without hesitation that the Prime Minister was using a completely different argument, foreigners married to Maltese were becoming part of the community, selling it for cash was a different kettle of fish because citizenship was not something that should be given a price. It meant much more.
Unfortunately, our appeal fell on deaf ears, and government went ahead with bulldozing through with a law which, according to surveys, the majority seem to be against, with a much bigger majority being against its current form. But this disappointment has to be converted into courage to keep making our voices heard, in front of a government that believes that a nine-seat majority gives it the mandate to do whatever it likes and disregard all standards and ethics.
On the black day in which Labour has de-valued what being Maltese means, it might have valued what standing up for your country means. Let us not allow the culture of fear Labour is instilling in the civil service, the police and beyond, to silence us from making our voice heard and standing up for what's right.
A single decision has tarnished Malta's reputation abroad for years to come. But let the world know that a big part of the Maltese population does not reason and behave in the greedy, selfish, egocentric and valueless manner of our Prime Minister.
And it is ready to stand up and show it.