Living in glass houses?

Glass Houses

A statement by the most inspiring Charlie Beckett during a lecture organised by the Strickland Foundation really made me think. Beckett stated that as a result of Social Media we are now living in glass houses. I don’t personally agree with this statement as I am of the opinion that on the internet we are free to share what we want to share, so it might seem like we are living in glass houses, but the glass is very heavily tinted.

However, while browsing Facebook, there are a few profiles which feel fabricated. Of course I am not one to point fingers and judge since the more time goes by the more I find myself self-censoring, choosing which picture to upload, and untagging more and more drunk pictures of myself.

Is this a symptom of getting closer to 30? It is but 6 months away now.

But I think I can trace this fear of sharing and self-censorship to the election campaign. I am very liberal, pro-choice and believe in the live and let live mantra, I have lived by this since I was able to form an opinion. My family is of mixed political colours and I have cross voted ever since I can remember.

During the last election I found myself on the side of the Partit Nazzjonalista. My belief was that they were the party which were most fit to govern in the 5 years coming and I was reasonably happy with the direction Malta had taken, especially during the economic crisis. As any party in government, the PN weren’t perfect and I was furious after issues such as the Divorce vote and the position on ACTA, but in today’s financial climate I believed the PN were a better choice.

I understand that a liberal such as myself is not aligned with a party such as the Partit Nazzjonalista but I wasn’t convinced by the alternative, even though I am more than happy for the Partit Laburista to prove me wrong.

During the campaign, I found myself blogging, posting, updating content which was more pro-PN and I found myself being called all sorts of things and being accused of being a Nazzjonalista with blinkers. I loathed such a stamp; I couldn’t even understand how people can simply put you in a neat little box because of an opinion. I never had anything to gain by the PN winning the election and neither did my family, yet I was accused of coming from a long line of Nazzjonalisti and that I had no idea about what was going on in Malta.

The worst thing is that I found myself not having the energy to rebut such statements, and found it much easier to not post anything. Why should I share my thoughts if some people out there are pricks who cannot accept that different people have different opinions, and there is always more sides to one story.

So now, here I am once again, wondering if I should hit the PUBLISH button on the top right corner. I once read that the older you get the more conservative you become, could that be happening to me? I shudder at the thought! But for now I am posting this and I will try to go back to being more of a ‘sharer’.

And in the meantime, a song which kind of relates;

Consciences, resignations and a whole lot of tosh

My last post about Divorce was back on March 16th, when the referendum was approved in Parliament. Since then I kept quiet… why? Well firstly because I don’t enjoy seeping down to idiotic forms of so called discussions and secondly because I always thought that such a matter should have been decided, maturely, in Parliament. So I took my vow of silence, which was incredibly hard, because let’s face it, those billboards (from both sides) should have been dedicated a blog post – what an utter disaster!

This weekend I broke my vow and now here I am writing about divorce one more time. What moved me? It was this article from The Times; “Nationalist MPs confirm they have free vote in Parliament”. I just couldn’t get over the fact of how many times the word conscience was used. Edwin Vassallo and Dolores Cristina were very quick to exclaim how they will be voting “according to [their] conscience”. Politicians with a conscience? I thought that was an extinct species.

And what about Austin Gatt, who seems to have forgotten the mighty power of Google? Yes he never did declare he would resign if the yes triumphed in the referendum but he did say and I quote;

“If [the party’s] decision goes against what I conscientiously believe in, I would resign from Parliament since I would not be able in all conscience to back a pro-divorce party and I cannot ever expect my view prevails over the majority view.”

Thing is, the Prime Minister has already been quite frank about how Parliament should respect the people’s view, so the question really is, is he going to resign now or when divorce eventually goes through? I guess only time will tell.

In the meantime we should just sit back, pat ourselves on the back (the yes vote did go through and there was no carcading) and just wait for this interesting story to unfold.

D Day (first hurdle)

No I’m not referring to the Normandy landings back in 1944. Today in Malta, the Parliament is currently debating the Divorce Motion. Later on in the day MPs will be asked to vote on the Opposition’s motion for the holding of a referendum. Unfortunately my connection to the House of Parliament’s stream wasn’t the best and wasn’t able to listen to the whole debate. Luckily @maltatoday is keeping a live text of all the happenings.

From what I read, Jeffrey Pullicino Orlando was seriously kicking some butt, and good for him, seeing such energy and passion is refreshing and makes someone like myself, who is sometimes alienated by local politics, a lot more interested. What ticked me off was the fact that apparently he started the sitting by saying “Let me start off by saying that I disagree with divorce… I hope to see a strengthening of the family unit”. Now I don’t know if something got lost in translation here (Parliament sittings are held in Maltese) but that does raise some eyebrows. Not to mention that being in Malta you hear about every one’s dirty laundry and surely I’m not the only one who knows about JPO’s situation. So why would you say you disagree with divorce, when you’re at the forefront of such an important battle? What’s wrong with saying you agree with it?

Other than that I must say JPO was in top form and I’m not ashamed to say he wowed me with his arguments, so I thought I’d share my favourites here, courtesy of course of MaltaToday:

“Civil separations and ecclesiastical annulment exists, and children will always suffer from the trauma of separation in any process of marital termination.”
“Labour MP Adrian Vassallo and Nationalist MP Jason Azzopardi should understand that prevalence of social problems are informed by marital breakdown not by divorce itself, a situation already existent among us… children will only suffer more by being forced to live in unhappy family and not in new family of spouses rebuilding lives and families.”

One of the main sources of ammunition the Against Divorce movement has used is the kids of divorced couples. Let me call bullshit on this one, kids suffer with or without divorce. My parents separated when I was 17, it destroyed me, and the worst part was seeing them at each other’s throats before one of them decided to move out. At that time separation had just started to creep in and I had no one to talk to who could understand what I was going through. If you’re really worried about the kids, set up proper channels which can be easily found.

“Being a Catholic politician is well and good… but putting the temporal interests of the Church before the interests of the citizens is wrong.”
This is a simple one really, Church and State should be separate, or in this instance divorced if you may.  

“The PN believes in family, but is it just the family that has had a serene history? Or do second families who live in harmony and have had children not worthy of this appellation?… Is it just the people who got it right at the first go who are entitled to a family? Are we perpetuating a caste system?”
Well said JPO, everyone deserves a second chance.

And of course, last but not least, my favourite:
“Was rallying cry of Xoghol Gustizzja Libertà (Work, Justice, Liberty) solely reserved for toothpaste and chocolate?”

Thankfully the motion passed, even though it was no surprise at all. I guess we will just have to wait and see until the 28th of May 2011. Maybe then, Malta will get to catch up to the rest of the world.

And to lighten up the mood:

Don’t forget to check out a previous post of mine about JPO and divorce.