President Marie Louise Coleiro Preca pulled no punches today. Marking Republic Day in the presence of the Prime Minister, the Opposition leader and the rest of Malta’s other politicos, she shut down everybody who’s been pissing the country off for a while now. Here’s a breakdown of how it went down.
1. First she casually listed everything that pisses us off every day
“Social exclusion, threats to quality of life as a result of unsustainable development, overcrowding in residential zones, the lack of public spaces, noise and traffic, and the lack of political honesty and truth in politics. These are some of the issues worrying Maltese people…”
2. Then she slammed the government for wanting to deport failed asylum seekers who have lived in Malta for years
“As the guardian of the Constitution, I believe Malta should continue hosting with love and respect all the people who live among us and visit us. Morally we should not punish those who have spent years contributing to the prosperity of our country and being part of our society by sending them back rather than appreciating them. We should continue living our vocation as an international bridge for intercultural dialogue and peace.”
3. If only this was catchier, it could replace the famous peace prayer of Saint Francis
“If we take to the streets, we should walk for reconciliation, hope, solidarity and oneness. If we protest, we should protest against xenophobia, racism, social exclusion and the exploitation of workers for profit. If we celebrate, we should celebrate more civil rights, less discriminatory laws, laws that protect the quality of life, with human dignity, economic, cultural and social inclusion and equal opportunities for all.”
4. Then some classic Maltese finger-non-pointing
“He who says he’s on the side of righteousness cannot be the one to sow hate. He who says he favours democracy, cannot stifle democratic participation. He who says he’s on the side of social justice cannot exclude people from the common good. And he who says he cherishes quality of life, cannot trample on all the creations that sustain it.”
5. Followed by a slight jab on our education system
“Despite the investment in education, the scientific analysis of education experts in Malta and abroad continues to show we’re getting results that we normally do not associate with countries aiming to be among the best in this sector.”
6. And this beautiful assessment of why the economy is doing well and who should not be taking credit for it
“The industriousness of the Maltese, the work of the international community in Malta that learnt how to generate wealth with us, the direct investment of foreigners who made this land an extension of their own, the stable political and economic climate, led to this country generating wealth faster than many other European countries.”
7. Followed by a warning shot to the Planning Authority
“Not all legal development can be deemed acceptable development when measured against quality of life and the protection of biodiversity… I appeal for more wisdom and integrity when it comes to planning and for us to be guided by the principle that people should come before profit.”
8. And some good old-fashioned discipline of politicians setting ‘terrible examples’ for young people
“I confess that the behaviour in politics as it is development in our country is worrying me. It is children and young people themselves who are telling me that they are fed up of the terrible examples our politicians are giving them in the way they interact with each other.”
9. The media and bloggers included…
“It is morally and ethically unacceptable for sections of the traditional media and bloggers and other individuals to make use of social media to attack the private lives of people and their families, whether they are in public life or not… This is nothing but psychological violence…”
So Happy Republic Day everybody! Enjoy the warm sunshine.
You can read the full speech in Maltese here.