The M&M snubgate

A video surfaced on Youtube showing German Chancellor Angela Merkel not including Maltese Prime Minister Joseph Muscat in a conversation. The discussion on social media quickly descended in the pits of partisan politics with one side laughing at what had happened to the Prime Minister and the other side saying they were offended by Merkel’s rudeness.

The video was uploaded to Daphne Caruana Galizia’s new Youtube channel called the Running Commentary so it can be deduced that the reason for the upload was to ridicule the Prime Minister. However, after seeing the clip many a times I still cannot find anything humiliating or even noteworthy about what happened.

Was the clip awkward? Yes definitely! Did it mean anything? I very much doubt it.

Who in the history of civilisation has never found themselves in such a situation? From the clip Merkel acknowledges Muscat and continues to show a piece of paper to someone else. Muscat senses he is not welcome within that particular conversation so he moves on. I have been in a couple of those situations myself and is the reason why I loathe networking.

Merkel did not blank the Prime Minister or even given him her back. She merely pointed out at the other person and mouthed something to the effect of ‘I want to speak to him’. There is nothing to take away from the clip, yet in the space of less than 24 hours this particular video has been viewed over 6,500 times.

Where is all this interest coming from? Why is such an insignificant clip given so much importance and why are so many people so quick to take a position on it? It might be easy to point a finger and laugh but I cannot understand why many took it upon themselves to condemn Merkel’s actions.

If there is anyone in the European political sphere who deserves our condemnation this week it’s UK Prime Minister David Cameron after a decision was taken saying Britain will no longer support migrant and refugee search and rescue operations in the Mediterranean. Their excuse? That it would encourage more migrants to cross. This is shameful, appalling tactic by the British government who is trying to appease the UKIP vote.

This of course directly impacts Malta and our resources and surely it is way more important than Merkel wanting to speak to someone else other than our Prime Minister.

48 hours left! Keep GM out of Europe Commissioner Tonio Borg.

source: Twitter

source: Twitter

This morning I received an email from avaaz.org – an online activist community which promotes activism on several issues like climate change, human rights and in this instance genetically modified food.

The email explained how Commissioner Tonio Borg will be, in the coming days “granting approval to the first new genetically modified crop across Europe in 16 years despite serious doubts about GM’s long term health and environmental impacts.”

The motion is set to approve Du Pont’s Maize 1507 which is a crop designed to produce its own pesticide. Deputy Prime Minister Louis Grech has already rejected the crop because of scientific evidence which concerns safety of GM crops. These include “contamination of organic crops and the environment; their impact on climate due to the excessive need for pesticides; the destruction of biodiversity and local agriculture; and the effects of GM food on public health” says azaaz.org.

Malta together with another 18 EU member states have already given the thumbs down to this crop. However, Tonio Borg has pushed through a compromise. This will let each state decide for itself whether to allow cultivation. Thos goes against EU wide policy and would open up countries to lawsuits from companies who want to push this crop.

It is well knows that Tonio Borg listens to us Maltese and that is why you need to write an email to him and let him know what you think of this.

Here is my message to EU Commissioner Tonio Borg;

To EU Commissioner Tonio Borg,
Former Maltese Commissioner John Dalli approved a GM potato and his decision was reversed. Please don’t make the same mistake. I have personally really admired your work especially in the height of the Libya crisis and I was rooting for you when you were being grilled to become EU Commissioner. So far you didn’t disappoint (especially after you halted the use of bee killing pesticides)! Please do not approve Du Pont’s GM corn.

Kindest regards,
Mel Hart
(ID card number)
Malta

The unacceptable face of racism

Norman Lowell - Imperium EuropaNorman Lowell has been seen at the forefront of a far right movement in Malta for years now. Him and his party are the Maltese equivalent of another swivel-eyed loon in the UK – Nigel Farage and the Ukip party. But while Farage has been dubbed the acceptable face of racism (as if something as horrible as racism can ever have an acceptable face), listening to Norman Lowell speak will unearth everything that is wrong about racism.

With the MEP elections coming up, Imperium Europa have stepped up their PR to try to get more votes. How do they do this? By scaring people and presenting their opinions as facts. Their YouTube channel has a running theme of “Informa ruħek” (inform yourself) and presents nothing but scaremongering.

Just in case you really want to inform yourself about migration of non EU nationals have a look at this infographic drawn up by the European Commission which, unlike the arguments of Imperium Europa, is based on actual number and statistics.

The recently banned Imperium Europa MEP advert is what you would expect from a far right party. The advert uses fear and sweeping statements to influence and is filled with racist undertones. Even though the advert says that Imperium Europa are against illegal immigration it uses images of refugees and people of colour fighting in Paceville. There is also a picture of a patient’s hand suffering from Ebola, a disease whose symptoms start within 2 days after infection. Why am I mentioning this? Because it is unlikely that anyone with this virus survives such a journey but since it looks scary and only parts of Africa are hit with this horrible virus then IE’s reasoning seems to be “might as well stick it in the advert”.

Imperium Europa saying they are against illegal immigration is misleading, especially when seeing the imagery used in the video which is meant to incite hate and fear. Many have argued against the decision to ban the video saying this is curtailing freedom of speech, but freedom of speech is not universal and hate speech does not fall under it.

What is really worrying about the story is the fact that the Broadcasting Authority approved the video and only after public outcry did it decide to ban it.

The video is available elsewhere, on Facebook and YouTube. I’m sharing it (and I have given this a lot of thought) because anyone with two brain cells can find it and because I cannot stand this having 15 thumbs up on YouTube and only 2 thumbs down. Comments are also disabled on the video (surprise, surprise).

Below is the banned advert, however if you do choose to watch it and feel like Imperium Europa might have a point then you owe it to yourself to have a look at the picture and video further down.

The picture is a screen grab from a video released by an Italian newspapers La Repubblica. In it you can see two victims of the sunken boat off Lampedusa, a man and a woman hugging each other. Death is what migrants from Africa face when crossing the Mediterranean sea. Pushbacks, which is what Imperium Europa stand for, is a barbaric act.

Lampedusa tragedy

The images in the video below are disturbing so please proceed with caution.

Finally, I know I will probably get bombarded through the comments section by Imperium Europa fans for this post. I will be removing any comments which break the rules of common decency. Remember that your freedom of speech is not universal.