ADZ – Wied il-Ghasel Development Must Be Stopped (Press Release)

ADZ – Malta Green Youth has called on MEPA to halt further development in Wied il-Ghasel during next Thursday’s appeal. As the last remaining natural valley passing through a village-centre, which MEPA itself lists as an area of ecological importance, the valley should be protected accordingly.

Reuben Zammit, chairperson of ADZ, stated: “Irreversible damage has
already been done to the valley. Further incursions would deprive us
of yet another of our few remaining undeveloped areas and of what
little is left of our countryside and natural waterways. We therefore
join Alternattiva Demokratika, Nature Trust and Harsien Patrimonju
Mosti in clamouring for an end to this madness. MEPA cannot possibly
ignore the objections of 24,000 Maltese who hold the valley at heart.”

Last Sunday, around 20 individuals joined ADZ in an extensive tour of
the valley lasting over four hours. The tour was conducted by a
professional guide who pointed out the natural as well as historical
beauties of the valley and contrasted them with the man-made scar that the contested development constitutes.

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Crimes Against Democracy

Crimes Against Democracy

In view of the recent violent attacks on members of Birdlife and CABS activists, Alternattiva Demokratika Zghazagh – the Green Youth would like to bring to attention the seriousness of intimidating people one disagrees with.

Spokesperson for ADZ Dirk Urpani stated ‘four years ago we witnessed arson attacks on people who dared open their mouth on the issue of racism. Now something on the same lines is happening against people who dare oppose illegal hunting by filming it. This is a crime more serious than illegal hunting itself as it sends a message to society that some people can get what they want by the use of physical violence”

“It is even more worrying that the FKNK seems to be watering down these abuses claiming ‘provocation’. It is also making unfounded claims that the activists were trespassing. However, even if against all odds, this is really the case, the violence is unjustified. In that case, the aggressors had the option of calling the police.” Concluded Mr Urpani.

Delitti kontra d-Demokrazija

Alternattiva Demokratika Żgħażagħ tixtieq tiġbed l-attenzjoni dwar l-użu ta’ vjolenza u intimidazzjoni fuq persuni li wieħed mhux neċċessarjament jaqbel magħhom kif ġara fl-aħħar sensila ta’ attakki vjolenti fuq membri tal-Birdlife u l-attivisiti tal-CABS.

Kelliem għal ADZ Dirk Urpani qal, “Erba’ snin ilu rajna attakki fuq persuni li kellhom il-kuraġġ jitkellmu dwar il-kwistjoni ta’ razziżmu. Issa qegħdin naraw attakki fuq persuni li jopponu apertament il-kaċċa llegali u jifilmjawha. Dan ir-reat hu iktar serju minn dak tal-kaċċa llegali innifisha għax jgħati x’jifhem li hemm persuni li jistghu jieħdu dak li jridu billi jużaw il-vjolenza fiżika.”

“Aktar inkwetatni hu l-fatt li l-FKNK qegħdin jipprovaw inaqqsu l-gravita ta’ dawn l-atti billi jsostnu li kienu risposta għal ‘provokazzjoni’ li kaċċaturi ġarrbu meta l-attivisti daħlu fi propjeta privata. Anqas li kieku dak li qegħdin jgħidu l-FKNK hu minnu, dan xorta ma jiġustifikax l-użu tal-vjolenza. F’dak il-każ setgħu ċemplu l-puluzija”, temm jghid is-Sur Urpani

Robert Callus

ADZ The Green Youth – PRO

Jailing reformed addicts

Tuesday, 20th April 2010

Jailing reformed addicts

Robert Callus, Alternattiva Demokratika Żgħażagħ, Mosta

On a regular basis we read of cases where drug addicts get prison sentences for crimes committed four or more years before being found guilty. Some of these have in the meantime rehabilitated themselves and are able to prove it.

Though many times the sentence is of less than a year imprisonment, this is still unjust and the only thing it achieves is to disrupt the life the rehabilitated addict has managed to rebuild.

Prison in this situation invades the person’s life and the new relationships he has managed to build, which many times also includes his job.

Apart from that, it is now in the open that drugs manage to enter prison, and how! In fact we have been approached by people who are more afraid of the drugs they find inside than prison itself. This goes completely against what they learn in rehab programmes, that in order to remain clean they should avoid people and places that are related to drug abuse.

Alternattiva Demokratika Żgħażagħ suggests that depending on individual circumstances, these people are either pardoned (with certain conditions if necessary) for the crimes they had committed as a result of their addiction or are given a substitute punishment such as community work.

Such measures are not only fair to drug addicts and their families, but are also beneficial for the rest of society, which is more interested in having people who can give a positive contribution than making sure that everyone pays the pound of flesh.

http://www.timesofmalta.com/articles/view/20100420/letters/jailing-reformed-addicts

Roadblocks and Civil Liberties

Press Release 5/04/10

Roadblocks and Civil Liberties

Alternattiva Demokratika Zghazagh spokesperson Dirk Urpani said that while there may be circumstances in which road blocks may be necessary these circumstances and the procedures used should be well defined.

Dirk Urpani said: ‘The use of road blocks should be the exception rather than the rule. Law enforcement resources should be put to better use. The reasons on what constitutes ‘reasonable suspicion’ should be clearly defined. Stopping people who are driving dangerously or are using a vehicle unfit for the road – such as lack of proper lights is one thing; just pulling up people because of their looks is another. Organized crime will not be stopped through road blocks where most of the time young people are targeted because of the way they dress or look.’

To make sure that road blocks are only used when really necessary and in exceptional circumstances ADZ proposes that a report is filed for every person stopped. Filming the procedure to safeguard individuals stopped and to make sure that the procedures are followed should also be considered.

Serious checks and balances will guarantee the general public that their rights are respected, and will help restore back the faith in our law enforcement agencies, which in recent times has been tarnished.

Roadblocks u l-Liberta Civili

Il-keliem ewlieni ta’ Alternattiva Demokratika Zghazagh, Dirk Urpani, qal li waqt li jezistu cirkustansi fejn road blocks huma neccesarji, dawn ic-cirkustansi u proceduri ghandhom ikunu definiti iktar ahjar.

Dirk Urpani qal: ‘L-uzu ta’ road blocks ghandhom ikunu eccezzjonijiet, u mhux rutina. Ir-rizorsi tal-infurzar tal-ligi ghandhom jigu uzati b’mod aktar ahjar. Il-klawzula li juzaw l-ufficjali tal-infurzar tal-ligi ta’ ‘suspet ragonevoli’ ghanda tigi defenita iktar cara. Mod jigu mmwaqfa nies li qedghin isuqu perikoluz, jew isuqu karrozza li mihiex posta fuq it-toroq minhabba affarjiet bhan-nuqas ta’ dawl li taghti l-karrozza; u mod jigu mmwaqfa nies minhabba kif jilbsu. Il-kriminalita organizata mhux ser titwaqqaf bil-hila tar-road blocks, meta hafna mid-drabi jigu mmwaqfa zghazagh minhabba t-tip ta’ hwejjeg li jilbsu u kif jaghzlu li jidru.’

Biex ir-road blocks jintuzaw biss meta jkun neccessarju u f’cirkustansi eccezjonali, ADZ qed tiproponi li ghal kull persuna mmwaqfa jinkiteb rapport mil-ufficjal. Ghanda wkoll tigi konsiderata li l-procedura shiha tigi ddokumentata fuq film biex l-individwi li jigu mmwaqfa jigu salvagwardati u biex jigi impost li l-procedura t-tajba tigi mharsa.

Mizuri bhal dawn jiggarantixxu lil pubbliku li d-drittijiet taghhom jigu mharsa, kif ukoll jghinu lil forzi tal-ordni jergghu jiksbu l-fiducja mal-publiku li dan l-ahhar naqset gmiela.

Robert Callus

PRO ADZ

Contact no 79307622

ADZ representative serving in the newly elected KNZ executive team for 2010/2011

During last Saturday’s (20th March) Annual General Assembly of the
National Youth Council (KNZ) elections were carried out for the new
KNZ executive committee. A total of sixteen nominees contested these
elections, all coming from various member organizations. Finally
eleven youths were elected to be in the executive committee. Like
years before, including 2009/2010, a member of ADZ was elected. Mr
Dirk Urpani, who is only seventeen years old was elected fifth in his
first running for the executive. He now holds the role of Deputy
Secretary within this new KNZ executive.

Whilst thanking last year’s KNZ executive team for the work they did,
ADZ congratulates the newly elected KNZ team. ADZ PRO Robert Callus
commented that ADZ were looking forward to the activities and projects
KNZ will be carrying out this year. ADZ looks forward to seeing KNZ
working closer with all youth organizations and whilst ignoring
partisan politics looking to represent all youths even if not being
represented by youth organizations.

***

Rapprezentant tal-ADZ fit-team tal-ezekuttiv gdid tal-KNZ ghal 2010/2011

Waqt l-Assemblea Generali Annwali tal-Kunsill Nazzjonal tal-Zghazagh
(KNŻ) saru l-elezzjonijiet ghal kumitat ezekuttv gdid fil-KNŻ.
B’kollox sittax il-kandidati ikkontestaw dawn l-elezzjonijiet, kollha
gejjin minn ghaqdiet differenti. Hdax il-żaghżugh/a gew eletti
fil-kumitat eżekuttiv. Bhas-snin ta’ qabel, inkluz 2009/2010, membru
tal-ADŻ gie elett. Dirk Urpani li ghad ghandu biss sbatax il-sena gie
elett il-hames persuna f’din l-ewwel darba li kkontesta
ghall-eżekuttiv. Dirk ghandu l-irwol ta’ deputat segretarju
fl-eżekuttiv il-gdid tal-KNŻ.

Waqt li tirringrazzja t-team tal-eżekuttiv tas-sena l-ohra ghax-xoghol
li ghamlu, ADZ tikkongratula lit-team gdid tal KNZ. Il-PRO tal-ADŻ
Robert Callus ikkummenta li ADZ thares il-quddiem lejn attivitajiet u
progetti li l-KNŻ ser tkun qed twettaq din is-sena. ADZ theggeg lil
KNZ biex tahdem aktar qrib mal-ghaqdiet taż-żghażagh u tinjora politka
partiggjana waqt li tfittex li tirrappreżenta ż-żghażagh kollha,
inkluz dawk li mhumiex rapprezentati f’ghaqdiet taż-żaghżagh.

Robert Callus
Alternattiva Demokratika Zaghzagh

What about eco-Gozo?

Robert Callus, PRO, Alternattiva Demokratika Żgħażagħ, Mosta

If there is one thing that keeps young people away from politics it is hypocrisy: the feeling of being lied to, of being told that things are being done in your own interest when you know it was never like that.

After decades of rampant abuse and overdevelopment in our beautiful island of Gozo, the PN came out with the concept of eco-Gozo only during its electoral campaign after the Greens had been already proposing as such.

Though the eco-Gozo buzzword is still being used, no concrete action is taking place to stop the rape of this island. What is happening with the proposed development at the pristine land at Ta’ Ċenċ?

Why is the Mepa appeals board still dragging its feet on the Ramla l-Ħamra villas? This not to mention the eyesores at Fort Chambray, the concrete block at Dwejra and the destruction of small hamlets such as Santu Pietru in Għarb by replacing the countryside with even more flats. What is happening about the proposal of the new village to be built at Ħondoq? Moreover, what is happening with regard to the fact that one in every three properties are empty in Gozo?

An honest commitment towards a real eco-Gozo would be a win-win situation in terms of preserving our natural environment, promoting health and, above all, attracting tourists.

In places such as the UK, millions of pounds are spent to create synthetic places like our beautiful island.

They crave for something like that and, even if it’s artificial and expensive, they want to have it in their own backyard. Yet, our government is foolishly destroying what we have for free in the interest of the few.

No cruelty in use of guide dogs

Robert Callus, ADŻ- Green Youth, Mosta

After a coalition of organisations, including ours, started a campaign about animal cruelty in circuses, some felt they should excuse the circus and punish the protesters.

Apart from the ridiculous libel suits filed, a few tried to apologise for this cruelty on this newspaper, both on the online version as well as through a letter to the editor.

Their tactic comprised of comparing circus practices with other practices such as dolphinariums and bull-fighting in Spain, both of which we definitely condemn. However, comparing circus animals with pets is unbelievably absurd.

One person went completely overboard by comparing them to dogs guiding the visually impaired (Charles Camilleri, December 17). Justifiably, individuals as well as advocacy organisations for the blind felt offended.

While I can speak on behalf of my organisation, I feel confident that all coalition organisations disagree with Mr Camilleri’s ill and unreasonable comparison. Circus animals live a life of horror and pain while guide dogs live a most fulfilling life.

I believe anyone who owns and cares for a dog clearly understands what I mean.

Apart from this, unlike circus animals, these dogs are helping people live independently and are not in the profit-making business. Although one cannot assume Mr Camilleri’s intentions, his message surely was to justify animal cruelty in circuses rather than to denounce the use of dogs by the visually impaired.

However, just in case he is really worried about guide dogs, we would like to advise him to get his facts straight. We refuse to accept both Mr Camilleri’s implication that the use of guide dogs is a form of animal cruelty and the idea that the circuses’ exploitation of animals could in any way be justified.

Corruption: The Most Underrated Crime

As young boy I remember my father mentioning the word korrotti (corrupt). I used to laugh at him thinking he was saying karrotti (carrots) in slang. I was too innocent to realise he was talking about a heinous crime that has become so much socially accepted we’ve learn to live with. A crime which has different implications according to the merits for each situation. Nearly always they are dead serious. A crime that makes trafficking of drugs as well as humans across borders possible, that is the main cause for famine in third world countries as well as being usually implicated in projects ruining the environment. An act so powerful than was not only one of the main factors of bringing down the USSR, but together with fanatic Nationalism is the reason why neither Russia nor most of its former satellite states ever really recovered. (A saying in Russia goes: After Lenin we had de-intellectualisation; after Stalin de-stalinisation; but after Brezhnev we never had any de-corruptisation).

Corruption has such a devastating effect because it infiltrates every sector of society, and hinders law enforcement as well as any real reform, be it economic, legal or environmental. How can one, for example stop human trafficking when the traffickers move innocent people across borders for purposes of slavery if the former haven’t got protection from some of those who are meant to be there to protect the victims? Why would dictators leave thousands of overworked humans live with less than 2$ a day if multinationals were not pumping them millions to turn a blind eye?

Despite all this, compared to other crimes, on both a local and international level we rarely see people convicted of corruption, and when we do they rarely get serious penalties. I attribute this to mainly two reasons. First of all, corruption is invisible. Unlike a small time thief or even a bank robber, those most responsible do not break into houses themselves, or hold a gun towards a person’s head. Though they might be responsible for thousands of deaths, they are rarely if ever seen with blood on their hands. Due to this, their crime seems a minor one. It rarely creates public outrage. It has become socially acceptable. Lately we’ve seen the violent attack on Italian leader Silvio Berlusconi. The perpetrator, Massimo Tartaglia, a person with mental health problems, is seen as one of the most dangerous people in Italy. We’ve all seen the blood on Berlusconi’s face. Yet, in reality, Tartaglia’s crime is a minor one compared to the six charges against the same leader. The latter’s charges of bribery are easily forgivable. They left no blood or broken noses. At least not directly.

The second reason while corruption rarely sees the light of day is that the corrupt are usually wiser than the common thief. We believe that a person bribes another for only one reason – getting from him the particular thing he wants. Yet there is another, less obvious albeit more sinister reason. The big time corrupter not only gives a bribe to the small time corrupt, but knows it. Now that you’ve taken your bribe you are an accomplice. Maybe you accepted a small cheque to close your eyes for a seemingly innocent deviation from the law. However if the person who bribed you is making big dirty money, from say drug trafficking, you are afraid to report him. If you do so, that little cheque you accepted will come to light. And the higher he is, the more he can harm you for your little escapade. You are now under his thumb. You might be disgusted with what he is doing, your guilt feelings might be killing you, yet you have to remain silent. Otherwise he’ll ruin you.

If we, as a society make a genuine effort against corruption we might not stop it, but we could give it a very significant blow. I suggest three simple steps:

1) Realise and convince ourselves this is a serious crime hurting ourselves and our society from every angle possible. The aim of this article is towards this step.

2) Refuse it. Many of us will have one or more opportunities to accept bribes, no matter how small they are. If we categorically decide to refuse any bribe we will not only doing what is legally and morally right but we are free. We are under no ones thumb.

3) Enforce the law and increase punishment. This is only possible if the first two steps are accomplished. If we as a society realise how serious this is, even to the extent of letting its crackdown affect our voting in elections, rather than run after the Party leader that makes the most charismatic speeches, the law makers will start putting it on their agenda. We can only do this if we are free from it ourselves.

(While following these steps will definitely harm this malady, other measures have to be taken. A case in point is a clear and enforceable Whistleblower Act.)

El Sadi’s comments deemed out of line

Alternattiva Demokratika Zaghzagh would like to show its disapproval of Imam El Sadi’s views he displayed on a local television program, especially his condoning of physical violence on people who committed a criminal offence and his explicit homophobia.

Dirk Urpani, spokesperson for ADZ stated “while we are all out for freedom of speech, it is highly irresponsible for a religious leader to promote anti-social policies. Though he was referring to non-European countries, certain rights are universal and acts such as cutting off hands of people convicted of theft should be condemned by anyone living in a democratic country. Mr El Sadi’s homophobic references are equally disgusting and we believe he should apologise to the LGBT community, especially for ridiculing same sex marriages or unions by comparing them to ‘marrying a cat or a dog’.”

“One should also keep in mind that in this country, there are refugees who have fled from the oppression of Muslim regimes. It is very offensive, to say the least, to a person who left his/her country because of such persecution only to find a religious leader condoning the same practices that caused their oppression.

 

Robert Callus
ADZ – Green Youth

Strange Bedfellows

Despite all odds, the Catholic church and the extreme right in Italy (and similarly in Malta) seem to be forgetting their differences. Silvio Berlusconi seems to be temporarily absolved from everything, be it sex scandals, corruption and even his opposition to the value of life of foreigners.

 

The reason for this truce is the European Court of Human Rights’ decision to remove Crucifixes (not crosses) from public places. What they have in common is actually fear. However if one scratches below the surface he will realize that while the Catholic Church is afraid, the extreme right is just enjoying the spoils of its fear.

 

The Catholic church has been afraid for quite a while. Europe is becoming more and more secular. People, including most moderate Catholics are asking for the church to keep its distance from the state. Many are asking for civil rights such as that of divorce, while homosexuals are coming out of the closet at a much faster rate then predicted. While I welcome all this, I don’t blame the church for feeling afraid. It knows it is losing its grip, and the Crucifix decision is just adding insult to injury.

 

The extreme right does not really care about the Crucifix. Some of them consider themselves as secularists, while others claim they embrace Christianity (which includes a local branch of the Ku Klux Klan, the same organization that in the U.S. has persecuted both Catholics and Italians in the previous century). Secular or not, the Italian right, including Members of Parliament in the outgoing government, is conveniently capitalizing on the church’s fear by spinning a tale about migrant Muslims and Jews out there waiting to swallow Catholic Italy.

 

Needless to say all this is based on a lie. The Court decision involves a case filed and won by an Italian citizen of Finnish descent who is an atheist. Muslims, Jews and migrants have absolutely nothing to do with this. However the fear spinning machine never found it hard to spread its message even if this was either based on lies or severely modified truths (ironically a sin according to the Catholic Church).

 

Fear, rational or not is an extremely powerful force that has been able to achieve practically everything, from overturning governments to justifying genocides.

 

The Catholic Church is in my opinion doing a grave mistake, both in Italy and in Malta. Its voice against the removal of the Crucifix is loud as one expects it to be. However, by omitting to mention the fact that migrants, Muslims and Jews are not behind this it is leaving open terrain for the much less noble right.

 

Maybe digging a little bit of history might help the church take the right decisions. It is not an isolated event that the Catholic church has been used and then conveniently disposed of. Most outstanding is obviously Nazi Germany. If the church wants to control this tide of secularism it needs to be closer to its people, and listen to them rather than dictating. Making an alliance with the devil will definitely backfire, probably much sooner than they expect.

 

Robert Callus

http://robertcallus.wordpress.com/