Closing the hunting season temporarily

Following the closure of the hunting season for 20 days, from September 20 to October 10, seemed to have led to a reduction in illegal hunting.  Hardly any shots have been heard in our countryside in the last few days, with the exception of some illegalities.  This means that if the autumn hunting season is closed for these 3 weeks of raptor migration, less birds will be targeted and it will be much easier to identify who is shooting illegally on protected birds.

ADZ Malta Green Youth welcomes the government’s decision to temporarily suspend the hunting season, and we urge the government to continue to do this, at least for the next few years.  These 3 weeks of peak migration, especially for birds of prey and other protected birds, are of vital importance, and it is therefore imperative that these birds are given the required protection.

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Black Kite

After closing the hunting season temporarily, the amount of protected bird sightings with gunshot injuries declined drastically, and the amount of shot birds also seems to have decreased.

ADZ Malta Green Youth would like to invite the public to go out and enjoy our countryside, and simultaneously watch migratory birds, since one can now go out without fear of being shot or insulted.

Our message is to urge the public to go out and enjoy our countryside and what it has to offer.

Pascal Aloisio (ADZ Executive Member)

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‘Hunters’ go crazy!

Today, 21st September, which is Malta’s 50th anniversary of independence day, several criminals decided to hold a criminal and illegal protest in Valletta.  These ‘hunters’ shouted and insulted the government over a decision, that was taken yesterday to temporarily close the autumn hunting season.

The season was declared as closed following several illegalities and shooting on protected birds, including white storks, honey buzzards and marsh harriers among many other protected birds.  ADZ Malta Green Youth agrees fully with this decision since during these 3 weeks of peak migration, protected birds will be given more protection and will be less vulnerable of being shot down by criminals.

ADZ Malta Green Youth condemns this illegal protest, the vulgar language used and insults as well as the burning of the labour parties’ flag.  We also condemn the act of aggression on a Times of Malta journalist who was kicked as well as the violence perpetuated after the protest at Buskett when some 30 ‘hunters’ threw stones at birdwatchers.  ADZ Malta Green Youth demands that justice should be meted out to these criminals at the earliest.

The Destruction of Moynihan House

The latest proposal of a 5 storey building at St. George’s Bay, which is part of the Villa Rosa development proposal will result in the destruction of another important historic building in the Maltese Islands.  Moynihan House, as it is called, is set to become another victim of unsustainable development.

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This building is the birthplace of Lord Berkeley Moynihan, a very famous and important British abdominal surgeon.  Moynihan House, together with Dolphin House, which is also said to be destroyed in the same project, are two of the oldest buildings in the area.  It is known that Moynihan House was built before 1860.  The building is known to have an austere Victorian style and therefore makes it a very rare type of building in Malta.

According to a study by Archaeology Services Limited, the building is given a protection value of Grade 2.  This grade allows some internal developments, but prohibits obliteration.  This means that the importance given to this building in the Environmental Impact Statement is totally ignored by the developers and the authority.

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Today, Moynihan House is totally neglected with its interior being used as a rubbish dump.  This is very shameful, since historical sites should be given the highest amount of protection possible and not left in a decomposing state!  But what makes matters worse is the fact that this building, together with Dolphin House, are proposed to be substituted by offices, restaurants and a language school!

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ADZ Malta Green Youth therefore proposes the restoration of Moynihan House to its original state as a cultural site, to be used by the general public and not the demolition of our heritage.

Why are we doing nothing to stop this madness?  Why are we destroying our own cultural heritage?  This project is a disgrace for our nation since it does not only lead to more useless high rise buildings, but it also leads to the total destruction of an important historical place!

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Pascal Aloisio (ADZ Executive Member)

Why are the Greens ‘pro-immigration’?

Even though not really, we aren’t (Part 1)

As depressing as it is to point out the obvious: saying a body is ‘pro-immigration’ makes as much sense as saying one is ‘pro-rain’. Some of us just simply hate the damned thing and batten down the hatches to our burrows during the first rains, others may find it pleasantly refreshing, while still others strip down naked and dance around in the puddles, shaking the ever-accumulating raindrops off their bodily appendages in an ecstasy of joy. Yet rain is something hardly the most passionate rain-hater (that would be me) could prevent if they tried, not without chem trails and Doctor Doom levels of evil. Even if we somehow could, and did, the long-term effects visited on us all might make us rethink our misguided initiative.

In the same way, migration is a natural phenomenon as old as rain. It is hard-wired in the human species as much as in other species. The simple economy of hunting and gathering evolved into our modern more complex one where migration remains as integral a part of our reality.

Migration will happen, whether one likes it or not. Irregular migration, which differs from illegal immigration due to the fact that asylum seekers are acting completely within the parameters of international law when registering their presence in the host country on entry, is often confused with the second which is also irregular in its nature. It is of little wonder that it is usually, if not strictly exclusively,middle-class people on the right of the spectrum who preach against both (as one and the same) most vehemently. Conservatives dislike change and abhor unpredictable change. It is therefore advisable to investigate the two major ways, socially and economically, immigration, irregular or otherwise, in general affects the host country and examine in which way Greens are likely to respond to each.

The first is socio-cultural. Bypassing issues of race and how genetic diversification is essential in a small island milieu, Class 101 for anyone but bonafide racists who it is not worth the trouble addressing, the objections to a cultural melting pot are themselves a tasteless stew of legitimate fear mixed with irrational fear of change, two cups of paranoia, a good dash of xenophobia, and add a sprinkle of conspiracy theory.

Immigrants change, to different extents, the host country’s culture. Fact. That is certainly one phenomenon no decent Green or Liberal should object to in principle. For me it’s actually the biggest and most important reason why I actually welcome migration, both in and out. First of all it’s just simply nice. Seeing the same black and dark blue suits just doesn’t do it for me. A bit of mixing it up suits me just fine as long as I know the person sitting at the next table me is a human being, not a black pillar box. Give me London with its bizarre mix of gowns, kaftans, silly round or squared or peaked hats, mime-clothes, and suits any day of the week. If anything, that refreshing visual diversity is something we sorely lack.

Secondly, at a deeper level, the changes in attitude immigration brings are for the most part crucial and essential in every Liberal’s little blue book. The hysterics about how immigrants will change our culture is something I scoff at. I do want our culture to change, thank you very much. Yes, given a choice, I do happen to prefer having that ugly obscene violent image removed from public buildings, especially schools filled with impressionable little children. (In reality such administrative decisions are taken at an institutional, not national level. But hey, who cares so long as we demonise the migrants?) No, I don’t particularly care that the current delicate balance of half a million churches to one mosque can be upset. No, I have no love for drunk blue pot-bellied men roaring their throats out to a passing dead (probably bored to death) statue and disrupting major traffic arteries in the process. Yes, I really actually do want that untouchable holy cow of a fundamentalist talentless hack of a priest-poet with mummy issues to be set aside for any one of the many talented poets past and present who actually deserve the name. You see, I’m not an immigrant here for as long as I remember, yet I too want these things changed. Will you order me now to go back to my country and not impose my own culture on you? Oh la di da, sorry for not being an immigrant you can push back or on whose ‘alien culture’ you can blame any opinion divergent from your own bigoted tyrannical view of how things should be.

So as someone, a liberal and an individualist, who is just about Fed Up with the conservatives’ vision of a static authoritarian society, I actually welcome immigrants with open arms. No, I’m not envisioning a rainbow-assortment confrontational revolution where we storm Bastille hand-in-hand. The kind of revolution I envision is a gradual one where the White Patriarchal Catholic will realise that their view of how things should be run is not god-given, whatever their god says. A heterogeneous society would make those who have long got used to getting their way, trampling on others in the process, learn that respect and tolerance are a two-way street. Only a society hosting myriad minorities as opposed to a monolithic monster with a dominant social group, each with their competing values, can truly understand the value of liberty, be it in lifestyle, belief, thought, speech or fellowship, of the individual.

Which brings us to the legitimate concerns.What about importing fundamentalists? What about this threat to our hard-won liberties?

Well, first off, Malta is not exactly a shining beacon of Western Liberalism (or liberalism of any other kind). So I’m completely going to ignore that question whenever it comes from Catholic fundamentalists, since they’re only complaining about having a competing brand, and solely address actual concerned secularists and liberals who might be genuinely worried about a new pitfall in our future.

The threat is always technically there, but hardly credible. Perhaps on a par with, I don’t know, accidentally brushing your teeth with radioactive waste. Any real threat to our freedoms can only come from outright military or commercial invasions from an international cell or cartel. Even discounting the rabid assortment of Catholic fundamentalists and Far Right nationalists foaming at the mouth, which would deter even the most diehard Islamist (that’s really what we’re really talking about isn’t it?) from setting off their turban-bomb and declaring Shakira, it’s hardly credible that any immigrant could even spare the time to entertain fundamentalist thoughts in their situation, let alone actually set to work indulging fantasies, in the economically hostile environment and situation they find themselves in. It is much more likely that an immigrant will work towards a more pluralistic, liberal and secular society for their own sake. Which idiot in those circumstances would promote fundamentalism as long as, as the Far Right clamours, their traditional values are as radically different from the host country’s?

This is reason number one why the Greens have not and are not likely to adopt an anti-immigration stance any time soon. In the aspects discussed here, immigration is actually highly desirable and part of the agenda of any self-respecting secularist, liberal and Green. Reason number two is more about the inevitability of the phenomenon along with other humanistic and economic considerations. But that is to be left for part two of this article.

PS to the Far Right reader: No, we’re not part of the Jewish plot or the EU-Illuminati or whatever conspiracy your brain-fever dreamed up last. Go back to painting the Knights’ eight-pointed abomination on Nazi-red backgrounds for tomorrow’s poorly-attended demonstration.

Reuben Zammit

ADZ Malta Green Youth Executive Member

From Kennedy Grove to Kennedy Grave

One month ago, we from ADZ went to visit the area at Kennedy Grove.  The area we visited includes the destruction of a number of trees taking place at Bugibba where the new road is being constructed at Coast Road, in which part of Kennedy Drive has been summarily destroyed, with Kennedy Grove completely disturbed to make way for a road junction.

We were shocked to see the way several trees have been chopped down, especially close to the junction.

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This is of concern for a number of reasons:

1.) we all know that trees reduce CO2 emissions and pollution at a busy road junction;

2.) the continued destruction of a green area will make the picturesque Kennedy Grove area into another concrete mess;

3.) safeguarding the environment is a citizens’ concern and moral obligation to protect natural beauty – green areas are known to improve quality of life and reduce depression at times;

4.) the tourism industry will receive another dent – what will tourists think of this beautiful area being transformed into a concrete highway?

We would also like to ask a few questions about this project: what will happen to the Kennedy Grove picnic area? Will the project allow for the planting of new trees? What is the actual design – the width of the road? Will the land being bulldozed outside the road confines, be rehabilitated into a green area?

Though the benefits are clear, of a widened safer road design, the environment around it and the destruction of trees and the many unanswered questions are of equal concern. Road planning should include a more ‘green’ approach and address the sensitivities of the environment, which will promote Malta’s tourism, our health and our sense of well-being – more concrete will just reverse our economy and health.

The aim of this visit was to take some photos of the area to raise awareness of what is going on in this green area.  We also sent PRs and a letter to the editor to the media about this issue, however, no one replied and nothing was ever published.

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The Postponement of Democracy

The news that the Government was intending to postpone the local council elections came as a surprise to us. It is a custom that before such a radical idea is proposed all parts are consulted. However nobody was consulted.

Last year we were left with mixed feelings after the vote 16 campaign. We were very happy that young people were finally being given a voice in Maltese politics. This is something we had been campaigning for years to no avail.  The limitation of this proposal for local councils left us a tad bit disappointed. Even then it felt as if this was all but a gimmick to get young people on the Labour bandwagon.

Democracy

This was unfortunately proven right by this proposal. What is the use of holding such a boisterous campaign and then postponing everything a year later? The reason given for this was that these elections were a waste of money and that we would save 2 million euros per election. This would be more credible if the Government didn’t fork out 6.4 million euros more than the previous government to pay for the largest cabinet ever.

It is clear that this is simply an excuse to cover up the real reason for this postponement. The spring hunting referendum comes as a threat to this government. The government needs to reduce votes, meaning that removing the local council elections will reduce votes and increase the chances of the referendum not passing.

This is unacceptable. We as young greens will do our utmost to protect the democratic rights of young people and of Maltese citizens as a whole. One should not ever meddle with democracy.