Prof. Raymond Mangion receives a literature award from Prime Minister Joseph Muscat in 2013
History and law professor Raymond Mangion delivered a brutal takedown of Maltese society for this year’s official Victory Day ceremony, calling out the public for prioritising material gain at the cost of “raping” the island’s nature and heritage.
“We, the current generations, have strengthened our conviction that we are morally bound to be absolute guardians of our treasures and masterpieces, both in stone and on paper,” Mangion said in his speech to dignitaries in front of the Great Siege Monument in Valletta. “Conversely, we are not taking enough care of our rural houses of yore and their milieu, or the rubble walls and dry-stone huts known as “giren“, as have been bequeathed to us. Our villages with the parish church in the middle are risking disappearance.”
“We have raised blocks of apartments that have chocked our belfries and windmills and hidden their domes and towers. God betide it if we are still living in an era when the grinder would require the blowing of the wind to sound his Triton shell. We have extremely raped our esplanades, panoramas and idyllic sceneries. We are looking on speculation and blocks as more prestigious than our archeological sites, aesthetics and symmetry. Yes, we have entered the catacombs of ignorance and of the lack of appreciation.”
A makeshift memorial to Daphne Caruana Galizia was removed from the monument hours before tonight’s ceremony
“We are riding roughshod over our lives by too many complexities and complexes”
Prof. Ray Mangion
“We rejoice whenever we flourish economically and wealth is distributed according to the principles of social justice. We do tolerate the envy of our adversaries on the competitive markets. We have reached financial success that attracted businesspersons from the four corners of the world. We equally feel sorry for justifying, invariably and without reservation, our performances with regard to the growth of wealth, by way of a senseless greed for money at the cost of raping nature and its creatures on land, in the sea and in the sky.”
“We are riding roughshod over our lives by too many complexities and complexes and we are precipitating our nervous crises because we are living too much a hasty life under pressures.”
Mangion also appeared to take a dig at proponents of the Egrant story and other unproven allegations of corruption and crime.
“Our experiences of the last years are well known to us,” he said. “We have faulted for the umpteenth time. We resorted to hard and offensive words, accusations, violence. We have to be careful to ensure that internal solidarity is not broken up. Why do we recycle allegations of crimes and drag on for months and years without bringing forward a iota of probative evidence with the consequence that we destabilise ourselves, our unity and peace?”
“Why do we recycle allegations of crimes and drag on for months and years without bringing forward a iota of probative evidence?”
Prof. Ray Mangion
“We behaved differently in 1565 and 1940-45 when we strove body and soul against our extraneous aggressors, military or religious, whose descendants are today our friends and allies.”
On the positive side, Mangion toasted progress made by Malta in recent years – including rights to LGBT+ people, the acceptance of emergency contraception, a growing awareness of mental health, an increased emphasis on active ageing, the reduction of the national voting age to 16 and political transparency laws such as the party financing law and the removal of prescription for political corruption.
However, he said the Constitution needs to be updated, including by enshrining environmental rights, appointing a media ombudsman to ensure the press act in line with proper journalistic ethics, and by introducing a mechanism that would see politicians accused of corruption automatically resign and face an enquiry board composed of three senior judges.
“Once we ascertain ourselves on such a machinery, we will restrain ourselves from throwing mud and from drawing on calumnies within the political arena and across the media of communications,” he said. “We will not have excuses and pretences to take to the streets to protest. We must confirm unity and peace rather than quarrel and cause more division and hatred. We must leave the Rule of Law to prevail over partitocracy on the strength of a propitious constitutional infrastructure according to national consensus. Naturally, we are putting such recommendations to the public in the ambit that we really respect the authorities and be pro-active towards them.”