Joseph M. Cachia                                                             



"Give no bounties:  make equal laws:  secure life and prosperity and you need not give alms."    Ralph Waldo Emerson

Today,  most of us are attracted - usually through curiosity or with some specific task to accomplish - by certain headlines and stories appearing daily in our papers.

There are times when humour may be the best way to deal with a very serious subject, especially when the subject is as divisive, as controversial in many circles, as illegal immigration. 

Doesn't this pertinent socio-comic dispatch make you realize that there is also absurdity in the real life drama we're dealing with?

'Dear Prime Minister,

As an exemplary and faithful citizen, I am writing to ask for your assistance. 

After serious and  exhaustive consideration of the current financial situation in my country, Malta, I have decided to apply for the status of an 'illegal immigrant'.

My primary reason for wishing to change my status arises following my careful and detailed comparison of our different standings.

I considered the following;
i)    No more income tax bills (Maltese citizens will have to cater for that)
ii)  No more water/electricity bills (don't bother if oil prices go sky high)
iii) Free clothing (only latest fashion - no used or rags please)
iv) No worry where my next meal is coming from (will have my own menu and no bother about the high cost of living)
v)  Complete privileges to all free medical and social services (no boring means tests here)

I'm sure you realize that there are various other convincing reasons for my choice but, knowing of your pressing schedule, I'll leave these to your unfailing perception.

I know a good deal when I see one and I am anxious to get the process started before everyone figures it out.

Your loyal citizen,

Till Now (Mr.)

For the sake of clarity and brevity, I imagined that the above missive could serve well enough to depict my contention of the course down which we're heading.

You can smile at my application, but don't just succumb to the implied advice - 'If you can't beat them, join them!'.

Now, don't get me wrong!  Illegal immigration is no laughing matter and I am no racist!  I am not angry at these people and sincerely pity them for the plight they find themselves in.  I do not condone any incidents of discrimination against anybody, even although in this case these may occur solely as isolated incidents.  I am only seriously perturbed by the number of these people invading our shores.    

The main scope of my writing is to strongly counter the criticism and negative flak hurled at Malta and Libya for their part and handling of the situation and to register how, especially in the case of  Malta, we are shouldering more than our fair share of this problem. 

The EU (European Union) has been tinkering with the immigration problem for quite a long time now.  Aren't we all completely sick and disgusted  at the lack of action by the European Union in spite  of talks and still more talks?  Surveying the wreckage - heartbroken families, an underclass of exploited workers and ruined lives - make it clear why the situation has now become desperate for all. 

What cheek do Spain and Italy have to criticize and deplore the attitude of the Maltese authorities in this issue?  "We cannot have countries that do not carry out their duties and pass on the responsibility to others", said Jesus Caldera, the Spanish social affairs minister.  Perhaps Mr. Caldera is here referring to his own country, Spain, which, after draining and ravishing its colonies now expects others to shoulder the responsibilities.

This would also aptly apply to the unjust remarks made by Mr. Franco Frattini, who, moreover, should seriously enough consider the application of the word 'justice' for Malta as delineated in his European Justice Commission.

As Home Affairs Minister, Tonio Borg, quite rightly insisted that Malta "has nothing to be ashamed of" and that "no one should expect that Malta will also take responsibility of other countries' obligations".  Minister Borg did not specify any country and it is hoped that in mind he definitely had the European ex-colonial empires.

Neither was it fair that MEP Simon Busuttil mentions Libya's refusal to participate in the Frontex mission and blaming her for the blocking of this mission in spite of his pointing out Libya's own immigration problems.

Libya, not unlike Malta, is not a country of origin of illegal immigrants but just a transit country.

Malta, as well as Libya, has been colonized by other EU member countries.  Now they are being expected to assume responsibility for other ex-colonies and to act as policemen in their regard.  Both countries have their own, albeit different, problems arising out of these immigration movements.

The EU Border Control agency 'Frontex' (hey, are we going to build another 'wall' here?) will be assessing the situation and evaluating the help needed by Libya to enable her to curb this abuse. 

But don't worry, friends!  Help is on the way!!  A delegation from the  Budgets Committee of the European Parliament will also visit Malta to assess of eventual assistance from the EU in order to cope with the influx of illegal immigrants.  Yes, good work but no hurry as this visit will not take place before next September.  Meanwhile,  enjoy the musical chairs -  Malta, Libya and the illegal immigrants!!

Both Malta and Libya should take a stronger stance towards the EU diktats!

"When I gave food to the poor, they called me a saint.  When I asked why the poor were hungry, they called me a communist."   Dom Helder Camara

May, 2007

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