The Court needs to send out a clearer message

Clearly there is something wrong with our justice system. I cannot, for the life of me, understand why violence never seems to be properly punished, and if it is, it never feels like justice has been made.

I am of course referring to the latest judgement given to an AFM soldier who was violent towards his wife during their separation. This seems to be happening more and more often, but then again what would you expect when we live in times when an affluent, former politician, chair of the Saint James Hospital Group, is quoted as saying that women often provoke men into violence?

Even if provocation is the case, violence is never the answer, and condemning such acts is not enough, the justice system should be sending out clearer messages.

The Times reports; “Before jailing him, Magistrate Giovanni Grixti said Mr Psaila was not a first-time offender and, considering the torture he put his wife through, he would not benefit from any reduction in punishment.”

What about the fact he is also an AFM soldier and that he is duty bound not to offend the peace? And this happened just a few months after it was reported that a policeman fired three shots at his wife at her place of work critically injuring her.

It feels like crimes of violence are being taken very lightly.

Take some of the most recent notorious examples;

  • Punching of protestors in Marsaxlokk – €60 fine (not even taking into consideration priors and turning up to court in shorts).
  • Man runs over another man because of a sexual slur – conditionally discharged

And yet, we still have a person serving a 12 year jail sentence for growing a marijuana plant on his own property, even when a man who raped his 3 adolescent daughters was only given 10 years of jail time.

My point is that, from where I am standing, I cannot seem to understand the weight and measures used by our legal system.

Marijuana IS illegal, and yes I do understand that a person should be punished for possession because they would be breaking the law. But why is possession of marijuana worse than violence and even worse than rape? Violence, of any kind, needs to be properly condemned.

Media manipulation, ethics, and journalism standards

Earlier on today a 22 year old from Cospicua was jailed for seven months for breaching bail and assualting his ex-girlfriend. Not really news if you ask me but let’s move past that. What interests me in this whole story is that whenever the story made the headlines timesofmalta.com kept on using the same photo (shown below).

The photo was lifted from his Facebook and since he posted it in a public domain it can, as far as I know (please correct me if I’m wrong), be shared in the public sphere, but how ethical is it? Problem is that Lydon Cutajar is shown holding up his dog by its legs with a smug look on his face, which left me feeling distraught.

The picture provoked feelings of anger, anger which multiplied when on Andrew Azzopardi’s blog I read Lydon Cutajar wrote “i kill him beacuse she dont livme sleap hehe” on his Facebook wall. I wanted to go find this little shit in jail and give him a whack or two. Thankfully looking through Facebook is easier then taking the car and driving to Corradino so I went snooping around. Admittedly, the guy looks like a right prick in most of his photos, but that is called being 22 years old. However, what I gathered is that this guy would never hurt his dog and the comment posted was a reply to some girl who asked what he had done with said dog.

Don’t get me wrong, I am not defending this guy (there are other ways to impress girls in this day and age), and he may well deserve those 7 months in jail, but I was disturbed by such media manitpulation. Would I have felt the same way if this picture was posted instead?

Or even this?

The answer is, probably not, and what if the court were influenced as I was by seeing that particular picture? I’m not saying the Court is naive or biased but isn’t that the point of wearing decent clothing, to project a certain image of youself (unless you’re one of those bullies from the Marsaxlokk camping site that is).

I want to care about Mintoff but…

Image via searchmalta.com

At long last someone has come to my rescue and penned some of the feelings I have been having about Dom Mintoff. Feelings I have been unfortunately hiding because I thought they were somehow wrong. I was feeling ashamed when I woke up this morning, read about Mintoff passing away and felt nothing. How can that be, he was such a monumental character in the history of Malta, how can I NOT care?

And finally I found solace in a Markbiwwa.com blog which shared a written account of why it’s OK to have these feeling; an article written by Philip Leone-Ganado entitled “Why I don’t care about Dom Mintoff and neither should you (unless you’re over 25)

I’ll be cheating here, I am in fact 28 but I will be counting myself with that age group. Below is the excerpt in question, and if you would like to read the account first hand, then please click here.

I don’t care about Dom Mintoff and neither should you.

You shouldn’t care because you weren’t alive in the 70s and 80s, and by the time you were old enough to form a genuine opinion about politics, Dom Mintoff was 90 years old, and largely senile.

You shouldn’t care because apart from a vote of confidence when you were 8 or 9 years old, Dom Mintoff is history. Why have an opinion on Dom Mintoff when you don’t have one on Philip II of Spain? At least with Philip, you know what happened.

You shouldn’t care because you didn’t get to read a single reliable history book or article or watch a single reliable documentary to help you understand who Dom Mintoff was or what Dom Mintoff did. Instead, you had to learn everything you know about Dom Mintoff through hearsay, anecdote, and rumour.

You shouldn’t care because you can’t form a reliable opinion by some perverse averaging process – reading things about Dom Mintoff heavily skewed in both directions and finding the mean – you can’t. You can only regurgitate an opinion handed to you by one of Dom Mintoff’s friends, Dom Mintoff’s enemies, or people who benefited or suffered as a result of either.

You shouldn’t care because they want you to care. They want to make their problems your problems, to distract you from the fact that you have problems of your own.

You shouldn’t care because Dom Mintoff can’t change the state of your job prospects (limited), the security of your pension (afflicted), your civil liberties (threatened), your cultural legacy (assaulted), your environmental heritage (blasted). Dom Mintoff is your parents, these things are you.

You shouldn’t care because while the newspapers run pre-prepared praises and damnations of DomMintoff, your friends in Israel are planning an immediate attack on your friends in Iran. While they tweet #perit, your friends in Syria are dying in Aleppo, and your friends in the UK and Ecuador are planning measures that may rewrite laws of diplomacy, freedom of information, big things that matter. While they use their blogs to fight over a man who never touched the world beyond this happy half-a-million,you are connected to a world beyond parochialism and mediocrity.

You shouldn’t care because these are beautiful, terrible times, and they’re going to pass us by if we’re busy arguing about whose parents suffered more.

You shouldn’t care because Dom Mintoff is dead, because whether he was good or bad, all he is now is dust.

Good or bad? Listen to us, it’s starting again.

You shouldn’t care because you’ll never know.

While blogging about the Dear Dom movie I remember writing “the education system has failed me and many others my age”. Whilst I don’t agree with the notion that we shouldn’t care – because I believe we are where we are today thanks to (or despite of) Mintoff – no one my age was ever offered the opportunity to read, digest and form an independent opinion of this person. Decades have passed since Dom Mintoff came into power but no one has ever sat down and written an unbiased account. Worst of all is that we have a gap in our history books, and there needs to be someone mature enough to fill this gap.

I now know why I don’t care, as Philip perfectly put it, I am more interested in what’s happening now, around this planet of ours, but that doesn’t mean this is the way I should be feeling. It shouldn’t be the be all and end all but I want to know, I want to care, I want to understand.

Do murders and Style on Sunday really go together?

Reading through my twitter feed this morning I came across something which made me feel a little uncomfortable.

 

Weirdly enough it didn’t immediately click, as most of us do when going through Twitter you skim through your feeds. What I got from the tweet was that Claire Zammit Xuereb will have her 2 pager interview section on The Sunday Times tomorrow. Even though that still makes me a little uncomfortable, I would understand it. If Ms Zammit Xuereb wants to go public with what happened on that night, the interview section on The Sunday Times would be the perfect stage. After all, plenty of interesting things were revealed since its inception. However, continuing through my feed I come across the following;

 

This is where it all went a bit crazy for me; are we talking about murders and offering “sneak peaks’ to the audience? Am I the only one who finds this unethical?

I’m not going to go into the merits of Style on Sunday being a good venue where the only surviving person, of one of the most gruesome murders which ever happened in Maltese history, is going to spill the beans or break her silence. Style on Sunday is a magazine inundated with paid advertorials, pretty pictures and the odd article. No disrespect to the magazine, it does its job well but it definitely isn’t the right place where something as delicate as this is discussed.

Again I mean no disrespect, but I need to understand how such a shocking murder can be discussed in a style magazine and how people can be so nonchalant about it. Am I the only one who thinks this is wrong?

Why I will not be watching the Eurovision tonight


Last Thursday I felt alone. Normally, on nights such as the Eurovison semi-final I’m on fire. A TV and a laptop with an internet connection is all I need for what I consider to be a fun night in, interacting with followers and friends on Facebook and Twitter. This year, it will be different – I am boycotting the 2012 Eurovision song contest which is being held in Azerbaijan. 

The reasons are plenty. I will not go into the long discussion of why Malta even bothers to take part in such a pointless contest. Year after year the song quality simply goes downhill as countries seem to send their worst acts to the finals, hoping their song won’t win for fears of having to host next year’s edition because it would simply be too expensive and not worth the money spent. Ireland are sending Jedward for heaven’s sake, doesn’t that ring any bells?

However, this doesn’t seem to be the case for Malta. Maybe it’s the lack of “patriotism” which we can celebrate. I mean Maltesers love nothing more than a local making it abroad; Joseph Calleja, Michael Mifsud, some shooter at the Olympics. We don’t have football teams we can eagerly support, and few events where we can fly the Maltese flag. The Eurovision is one of them, so I understand its popularity, amidst its mediocrity.

Held in Baku, Azerbaijan, the Eurovision this year unwillingly opened up pandora’s box. For those of us willing to read about the hard truths around us, the stories about Azerbaijan have been, to say the least, shocking. A country which, before now, I knew little about, suddenly became a country which has no regard for human rights, kills stray animals in a bid to “cleanse” the streets and releases countless reassurances that, no they are not homophobic, as long as you don’t live in Azerbaijan.

So yes, those are the reasons I will not be watching the Eurovision tonight. I will not recklessly forget about what I’ve read the past months, and while I know this stance will probably amount to nothing, I just hope some people will read this blog and open their eyes to the realities around us.

Image source; http://www.armenianow.com/

Dear Dom – The movie

I went to see the movie with an open mind.

My knowledge of those decades is pretty scarce. This is because of two reasons; firstly because the education system has failed me and many others my age. Mintoff was never mentioned in our Maltese history lessons. All lessons came to an end once the second world war was resolved.

The second reason is because I grew up in a family which was divided; one part was pro Mintoff, one part was anti Mintoff and another part was all for Malta going back under British rule (or at least that was my impression of it).

Dom Mintoff the movie

This is the reason why I’m not going to delve into how accurate the movie was. I’m 28 years old, I didn’t live through those times so I don’t feel like I have the right tools or knowledge to judge. What I am going to say is that, if, like me, you have a gap of such an important time in Maltese history then you’re in luck. I do feel like the movie tried its best to document Mintoff’s life.

Being narrated in an open letter style you do expect a little bias and if you get your knickers in a twist because of this then you should really get out of that bubble you’ve been living in. One thing is sure when the movie comes to an end and the curtains are drawn; Mintoff was human –  with his many faults and blessings.

To conclude, the movie is impeccably produced, the animations are stunning and I wholeheartedly agree with Teodor Reljic when he says that this movie is a milestone in Maltese film making.

Watch the trailer below…

The weekend that keeps on giving

Apart from the tedious laundry and cleaning of the house, the weekend seems to be a time where I sit down and catch up with whatever there is in the RSS reader and the latest articles I favorited on Twitter during the week.

Saturday was Kony 2012. I spent the whole week seeing both positive and negative comments about Kony2012 and Jason Russell on Facebook and Twitter, so I was curious. I first read how Jason Russell was caught masturbating and vandalizing cars whilst under the influence of whatever (not that it really matters once you’re found masturbating in public). At that point I was ready to forgive the guy for being so stupid, at least he was trying to do something with his life  Then I watched the documentary. I was disgusted; an ego-centric, narcissistic video, all about me, me, me (I also do believe the kid will loathe his father in the future for parading him in the so called documentary).
#Kony2012

But what shocked me most was the viewership. The video on YouTube reached the 100 millions views in 6 days, which led me to think; are we that thirsty for something to fight for? Is this all we need? A cause which is presented to us well enough, in easy to consume video form? But of course it is easy to be “an activist” when all you need to do is share a video, and there you have it, you’re part of a cause. A cause which is probably doing more harm than good, but who cares, as long as that share made you feel good about yourself for the rest of the week, right?

If you’re one of those who shared the video, I urge you to read the article by Adam Branch “Dangerous ignorance: The hysteria of Kony 2012“. Dangerous ignorance, what a beautiful phrase.

Sunday, I finally had the chance to read all the reflections penned by the first generation of Maltese bloggers for the 7th year anniversary of J’accuse. I do believe that with this series Jacques managed to capture a slice of local internet history. And I really hope he doesn’t castigate me for saying that.

Ma che Franco!

After reading the countless articles written about Franco Debono I decided to do this little mock up. Take it at “face” value… But please don’t forget your sense of humour when setting your eyes on this image.

Pro-FDs will probably see it as a reflection of his character, Anti-FDs will see it as a disgrace to Che who was a true revolutionary.

Thoughts?