Are we not protesting because there’s literally no space left to march?
When small talk at a housewarming party involves you literally saying the phrase: “It’s nice here – you have a roundabout in front of your window, so at least you know they’re not gonna build directly above you,” – you know there’s a problem.
As a second building collapses in Malta in as many months, you really start to worry that not even a tragic death as the result of negligent-yet-incessant construction would shake things up (and I use the word shake lightly to avoid any unnecessary vibrations to my home).
While online outrage continues to build with every new construction-related tragedy (this doesn’t cover just building collapses; it also includes the destruction of any open space deemed too green to be up-to-code with Malta’s secret beige-and-or-concrete-only agenda) – nothing ever seems to change.
This probably has a lot to do with the amount of money being pumped in by construction lobbies (think of the Ira’s-dress-was-so-expensive drama from 2016 and multiply that number near infinitely), to keep politicians on all sides of the spectrum happy. But it also comes down to us, the people who are at risk every day, not showing nearly enough resistance to our island looking like a Sim City nightmare come to life.
This is basically what’s happening, but please disregard the beautiful lake and all that pesky green.
“Picture a Bond-esque villain stroking a cat (which probably has asthma) and laughing at their successful plan to sow enough discord to get away with anything.”
Whenever you see the phrases “għax inthom għamiltu ħafna agħar (you guys did a lot worse)” or “għamilna żbalji, imma xejn daqsekk gravi (we made mistakes, but nothing this bad)”, please picture a Bond-esque villain watching the whole exchange go down through CCTV footage, stroking a cat (which probably has asthma) and laughing at their successful plan to sow enough discord to get away with anything.
If you happen to picture him as a bald man with glasses on, so be it.
The point is, the powers that be know that if we’re too busy fighting among ourselves about which primary colour we should wear to stand in the hot sun and dance to a beer-soaked version of We Are The Champions, then we’re not going to have enough time to realise it doesn’t matter if you’re more of a Claudette Pace or Mary Spiteri fan as your building literally collapses on top of you.
Let’s keep it real; if the government (past or present) really cared about construction site safety, or the mental well-being of people who need more than concrete blocks to be happy, or children not getting potentially-deadly lung diseases, they would’ve done something faster than Tonio Fenech shares homophobic trash on his Facebook page.
OK, maybe not that fast (even Usaine Bolt checks Tonio Fenech’s page like: “How do I get me some bigot sneakers, bro?”), but over the span of two lengthy tenures for either party, how was nothing concrete (see what I did there) achieved?
Developers looking at literally any empty space in Malta (and soon Gozo).
If a dozen elections and at least one major governmental overhaul wasn’t enough to stop the rampant construction crisis in our country, what will?
Hopefully the answer will be the people who are most at risk, which is a phrase that used to give the privileged a false sense of security.
But as even the richest of the rich are forced to hear workers yelling over reversing trucks’ beeps and jackhammers at 7am like the rest of us plebeians (earnings mean nothing when the whole island is a quarry), maybe we can all band together and shout: “Jesus Christ, just stop!”
On second thought, perhaps we could whisper it (in person though; a Facebook share won’t cut it this time), because we really can’t risk loud voices adding any more forceful vibrations into our already-weakened foundations. Either way, if there’s going to be a rally against an actual concrete jungle, let’s make it a big one – we can even crowdfund to buy a bunch of communal inhalers ahead of time.