Saturday, 30 May 2009

Times: Video interview: Josie Muscat on his immigration concerns

«Click on the hyperlink above to watch the video and read the comments.»
[P. Attard's Note: [4:24] Dr Josie Muscat is against gay marriage and in favour of civil unions.]

AN leader Josie Muscat says two issues worry him about illegal immigration: sheer numbers and illegality. He says Malta is too small to be divided in a multi-ethnic and multi-cultural way.

"Why should Malta, a country which is so small, be responsible to solve the issue of other people who are creating wars, causing people to escape?"

Times: Video interview: The EP is the art of compromise - [David] Casa
«Click on the hyperlink above to watch the video and read the comments on the Times' website.»

[P. Attard's Transcript: [4:38] In the video Mr Casa says the EU should not dictate Malta on the introduction of civil partnerhsip. He says his opinion on the subject is not relevant. He says that the Prime Minister promised to introduce civil partnerhsip before the end of the current term and that he voted for the motion.]

David Casa says Simon Busuttil and himself worked well in the European Parliament, and he views Dr Busuttil as the best candidate in next Saturday's elections.

He insists that the migration issue needs to be tackled with persuasion, not scaremongering. The EP, he said, had taught him the art of compromise.

Related Articles:

Times: Let's legislate now! - David Casa is in favour of protection to cohabitating couples

Times: Video Interview: Simon Busuttil, my next step...

«Click on the hyperlink above to watch the video and read the comments on the Times' website.»
[P. Attard's Note: In the video Dr Busuttil says he is against gay marriage but is open to discussion on gay civil partnerships.]

If one argues that migrants rescued from the high seas should not be repatriated because they should be given the right to seek protection, then by extension, even migrants still in Libya would have the right to demand protection by other countries, something which was not on, Simon Busuttil has told Mark Micallef in his six-minute interview.

Asked whether he was being groomed to be Dr Gonzi's successor, Dr Busuttil said his "next step, if the people select me, is to be a member of the European Parliament."

Related article:

Times: Video interview: Claudette [Abela Baldacchino] focuses on social justice

«Click on the hyperlink above to see the video and read the comments.»
[P. Attard's Note: Ms Abela Baldacchino is in favour of minority rights.]

Labour EP candidate Claude Abela Baldacchino says that all those who believe in a social Europe “believe in Claudette”. She also says in a six-minute interview that she sees the European Parliament vote as a vote of confidence in the government. “A vote for the PN candidates is a vote for Prime Minister Gonzi, who is not keeping his promises,” she told Kurt Sansone.

MaltaToday: A clean, mature approach

Throughout my electoral experience, I have noticed how negative campaigning in Malta is a double-edged sword.

It may create media ripples, but people’s reactions may not be the obvious ones we expect. There are countless examples of how negative campaigns have rebounded on the parties or candidates conducting them. I would say that people simply want proposals, and scaremongering does not impress anyone anymore, mostly because everyone has the facility nowadays to research the actual facts and form his or her opinion.

We therefore strove to conduct a positive campaign, which makes proposals and gets the message across to the electorate: a campaign built on the credible and consistent voice that Alternattiva Demokratika has been throughout these years, especially on European matters, and the energy and experience that AD, Yvonne Arqueros and myself can bring to the European Parliament.

Our campaign was also a very mature one, with a great emphasis on the economy. The Greens have frequently been criticised for ignoring bread and butter issues and emphasising excessively on the environment. This year, together with the European Greens, we are proposing a Green New Deal that links ecology with economy, in the light of the economic and energy crisis the world is facing, so as to create new green and environmentally sustainable jobs, and to move towards a low-carbon economy and away from outdated and unsustainable traditional heavy industry.

We have tried to communicate through all the ways possible to us, and I am also happy that we are using our resources on the Internet as much as possible. AD’s Web 2.0 campaign relied heavily on social networking sites like Facebook and on our electoral website to keep the electorate up to date with our positions.
Despite the general positivity of this campaign, we are competing against other parties, and we have therefore had to, at times, dispel myths or half-truths, through publishing vote roll-calls of our current MEPs in the European Parliament.

Cases that come to mind are those regarding air quality and emissions, gay rights and discrimination, and illegal immigration. There obviously is a great difference between political arguments that try to expose facts, views and beliefs, and scaremongering and mudslinging that tactically try to alienate the voter.

All in all, I feel happy with the way AD has conducted and is conducting its campaign, and I am confident that this positivity will reap its rewards. While committing myself to keep convincing the electorate by proposing and putting forward our ideas and platforms, I sincerely hope that in the last crunch days, the general campaign keeps engaging in mature discourse and does not resort to cheap last-minute electioneering.

On 6 June the Maltese and Gozitans shall be voting for six Maltese to represent our people in the European Parliament. Voting in an Alternattiva Demokratika Green MEP, together with PN and PL MEPs, will reap benefits for our country.

Arnold Cassola is leader of Alternattiva Demokratika - The Green Party

Friday, 29 May 2009

Bishops' Message for EU Elections/Messaġġ tal-Isqfijiet Maltin dwar L-Għażla tar-Rappreżentati fil-Parlament Ewropew

[Scroll down for English article]

MESSAĠĠ TAL-ISQFIJIET MALTIN: L-Għażla tar-Rappreżentati fil-Parlament Ewropew

29 ta’ Mejju, 2009

UFFIĊĊJU STAMPA Il-Kurja ta’ l-Arċisqof, Floriana Tel: 25906203/21241281 Fax: 21242971
MINN: C. TABONE O.P.; REF: 59/2009

Ftit jiem oħra pajjiżna jieħu sehem fl-elezzjonijiet tal-Parlament Ewropew. Il-ħidma ta’ din l-istituzzjoni tinfluwenza mhux biss il-mixja tal-Ewropa, imma ukoll dik tal-poplu tagħna f’pajjiżna.
Għalhekk dawk li jiġu eletti bħala membri tal-Parlament Ewropew għandhom sehem importanti ħafna f’dan il-proċess. Barra li jħarsu l-interessi ta’ pajjiżna, huma jgħinu ukoll biex l-Unjoni Ewropea tieħu direzzjoni tajba.

Aħna ningħaqdu ma’ ħutna l-Isqfijiet tal-Unjoni Ewropea biex infakkru lill-Maltin u l-Għawdxin li għandhom ir-responsabilità li jużaw il-vot tagħhom biex jagħżlu bħala membri parlamentari lil dawk li jistgħu jagħtu kontribut attiv biex fil-leġislazzjoni, programmi u policies tal-Unjoni Ewropea ikun hemm:
  • rispett għall-ħajja tal-bniedem mit-tnissil sal-mewt naturali;
  • appoġġ għall-familja mibnija fuq iż-żwieġ – kif mifhum bejn raġel wieħed u mara waħda.
  • ħarsien tad-drittijiet soċjali tal-ħaddiema;
  • appoġġ għal miżuri ekonomiċi msejsa fuq valuri etiċi;
  • solidarjetà ma’ dawk l-iżjed dgħajfin u fqar fis-soċjetajiet tagħna (partikolarment persuni b’diżabilità, nies li jkunu qed ifittxu l-asil, migranti);
  • aktar sensibilità favur l-ambjent.

Inħeġġu lill-Insara kollha biex jitolbu ħalli l-Mulej igħina fil-qadi ta’ dan id-dmir, bl-interċessjoni ta’ Ommna Marija

Pawlu Cremona, O.P.
Arċisqof ta’ Malta

Mario Grech
Isqof ta’ Għawdex

Annetto Depasquale
Isqof Awżiljarju


Times: Bishop's advice for EP elections
Friday, 29th May 2009 - 13:27CET

The bishops have called on the Maltese and Gozitans to use their vote to elect representatives in the European Parliament responsibly opting for candidates who could actively contribute for legislation, programmes and policies which respected life from conception to death.

In a statement, they said voters should choose candidates who supported families based on marriage between men and women, safeguarded workers' social rights, promoted economic measures based on ethical values, were in solidarity with the weak and poor, and were sensitive towards the environment.

[Click on the hyperlink above to view the comments on the Times' website.]


Times: Bishops call for responsible voting
Saturday, 30th May 2009

The Bishops of Malta and Gozo are urging people to use their vote responsibly to elect MEPs who could actively contribute to policies that respected life from "conception to a natural death".

Archbishop Paul Cremona, Gozo Bishop Mario Grech and Auxiliary Bishop Annetto Depasquale issued a statement saying those elected could actively contribute to ensure the EU's legislation and policies took the right direction. Voters should choose MEPs who supported a family built on marriage between a man and woman, protected workers' social rights and sought economic measures built on ethical values.

It was also important to show solidarity with the weak and poor, especially disabled asylum-seekers and immigrants, and have a greater sensibility towards the environment.

[Click on the hyperlink above to view the comments on the Times' website.]

Times: Video interview: I am winning my battles - Emmy Bezzina

«Click on the hyperlink above to view the video and the comments on the Times' website.»

Lawyer Emmy Bezzina, a candidate for the Alpha Liberal Party, says he is winning the battles he launched 30 years ago because the people are now more broad minded and refuse to be manipulated by others.

He also tells Mark Micallef that there could be circumstances which would see him consider a return to the Labour Party.

Thursday, 28 May 2009

BBC News: Gay ministers get backing of Tutu
Archbishop Desmond Tutu with the Moderator Bill Hewitt
Archbishop Desmond Tutu with new moderator Bill Hewitt

Archbishop Desmond Tutu has voiced his support for including homosexuals in the church, in an address to the Kirk's General Assembly in Edinburgh.

The South African archbishop insisted every kind of person, no matter what their race, class or sexuality was part of God's family.

Earlier this week the Church of Scotland agreed a two-year moratorium on the ordination of gay ministers.

The decision came after the appointment of a gay minister in Aberdeen.

On Saturday, the General Assembly, the Kirk's supreme court, said the Reverend Scott Rennie could become the minister at Queen's Cross Church.

The minister said he was open about living with his male partner and his appointment was backed by a majority of the congregation.

Obscene amounts

The General Assembly's decision to appoint Mr Rennie - in a 326-267 vote - raised fears among traditionalists of a possible split in the Kirk.

But on Monday, a two-year ban on the ordination of gay ministers was announced while a special commission considered the matter and reported back in 2011.

The Archbishop said he was aware of the debate over whether the body would agree to endorse the gay minister's appointment, adding that "mercifully" this was done.

He said: "For my part, I was involved in the struggle against a system that penalised people for something about which they could do nothing - their race - and I could not stand by when people were being penalised again for something about which they could do nothing - their gender.

"For quite a while our church did not ordain women to the priesthood. I joined the struggle and this is a non-issue in our church now. We haven't yet consecrated a woman bishop but we've called our first woman Dean and any number of women are Archdeacons.

"So, under this rubric, I would find it impossible to stand by when people are being persecuted for something about which they can do nothing - their sexual orientation."

Archbishop Tutu added: "In this family there are no outsiders. All are insiders - lesbian, gay, so-called straight - we are family."

As well as advocating the inclusion of all kinds of people in the church, Archbishop Tutu argued vociferously for an end to poverty.

He questioned how obscene amounts of money could be spent on weapons when only a tiny fraction of defence budgets would feed the hungry.

The archbishop received a standing ovation before departing for Edinburgh University where he was awarded an honorary degree.

Times: Video interview: 66 votes, but [Cecil] Jones to try again [KUL Ewropa]

[P. Attard's Note: Cecil H. Jones, KUL Ewropa, is in favour of gay-rights according to the video interview - 5:30: Cecil Jones has nothing against homosexuality and believes gays are sensitive and valid people and should not be discriminated against.]

«Click on the hyperlink above to watch the video and read the comments on the Times' website.»

Cecil Jones got 66 votes at the last European Parliament elections but that has not discouraged him from trying once more as a candidate of KUL Ewropa.

He said he particularly wishes to propose his own vision for the political and humane solution of the immigration problem, while also renewing the political tradition of the 1950s Jones Party, which is still remembered in Gozo.

EDRC: The Catholic Church in Malta and Membership of the EU - Fears; Challenges; Hopes
European Documentation & Research Centre

Rev. Dr Joseph P. Ellul O.P.

In many ways Maltese society is in a state of constant flux on both the social and the religious level. This is due to the country being an island that has steadily emerged from a position of isolation to one that is in continuous contact with the outside world through travel, tourism and mass communication. It has yet to come to grips with this new situation and its collateral effects.

Right up until twenty years ago there was only one national television station; today the number of radio stations is rising rapidly. This phenomenon has obviously brought about an increased participation of the public in the programmes they produce. In itself pluralism has come to mean that issues of all sorts are constantly being discussed and that everybody has a say, irrespective of whether his or her opinion is informed and worth reflecting upon, or even taking up.

There is an increasing danger that such an approach to pluralism will lead to the possible misuse of the public forum, the possible forming of strong subversive pressure groups, and the possible promotion of strident and well-organised minority movements that are high on demagoguery but low on constructive dialogue. These could not only make for a collapse of traditional values, but also stall development of every kind. It is a well known fact that some sections of the Maltese media do hold talk shows in which religious or moral issues are discussed without the required respect for or deference to the knowledge, culture or social standing of those who are in a better position to speak about them. It is indeed a pity that such shows are intended more to boost the number of viewers or listeners than to enhance an informed public opinion.

One of the results has been a steady increase in criticism of  the Church as an institution (it being equated with civil institutions) as well as regarding its teachings. This is leading towards an increasing marginalization of religion from the public domain and mounting anti-Catholic rhetoric marked by a sharp drop in Church attendance, a steady flow of articles and letters in newspapers with an obvious hostility towards the local Church hierarchy, and the constant accusation that Church teachings are a threat to one's individual freedom and to progress.

These attitudes have sought and have indeed found support from various European movements. Entry into the European Union has speeded up this painful process, which is at once inevitable and dramatic. It is inevitable because, as already mentioned above, Maltese society is no longer isolated and, for better or for worse, it has to catch up with Europe and with the rest of the world.

On the other hand it is also dramatic because the speed with which these changes are taking place has left no possibility for them to be slowly absorbed within the fabric of Maltese society. The past twenty years have proved to be a classic example of shock therapy. Already Pope John Paul II, in his address to the representatives from the world of culture delivered (27th May, 1990) during his first pastoral visit to Malta, gave this timely warning which has lost none of its freshness: 

The exercise of freedom must be accompanied by a growth in moral and spiritual maturity. Unfortunately Our dominant culture shows signs of a weakening moral commitment and a narrow sense of spiritual inspiration. People are often more sensitive to feelings, emotions and impressions than to thought, reflection and discernment. To act without reason is not worthy of man, whose freedom is based on knowledge of the truth, which enlightens his judgement.”

In the next few years the Church in Malta will have to face the same challenges that European societies have faced for the past fifty years or more: the challenge of divorce (which is now becoming increasingly a question of when rather than if, given the fact that both political parties have agreed to discuss the issue), the challenge of co-habitation, of same-sex marriages, of adoptions by parents of the same sex. The promise given by the European Union on the eve of Malta's entry that legislation on the introduction of divorce and abortion is left to the single member states to decide has proved to be nothing less than an illusion. Pressure is mounting from bodies of the European Union is subtle and in not so subtle ways.

The Church in Malta must likewise face the challenge brought about by advances in the field of biotechnology posed by a new poverty that has become a constant presence in European societies and to which Malta is not an exception. This consists of a haunting emptiness that lies at the heart of modern society where human life is being progressively viewed as a commodity from the moment of conception through the crises of a terminal or irreversible illness, where public opinion is being persuaded that the human being is master of his or her own destiny and that whether one's life should continue or not is a matter that even human relationships suffer.

These present and future challenges lead to a question of vital importance, namely, will the Church still be considered relevant to Maltese society now that our country is a full member of the European Union? This means that the Church must first and foremost face the question of its own identity and role in Maltese society in order to be capable of addressing the challenges posed on our country by a greatly expanded and continuously evolving European Union. 

In order to respond to this daunting task the Church in Malta must draw inspiration from the prophetic words of Pope Paul VI: “The Church must enter into dialogue with the world in which it lives. It has something to say, a message to give, a communication to make”. This implies a complete overhaul of the way this communication is taking place.

Another challenge that needs to be addressed in the context of Malta's membership in the European Union is the one concerning ecumenism and inter-religious dialogue. The question of ethnic, cultural and religious diversity that has faced the European continent and, in our particular case, the European Union is also one that needs to be dealt with by Maltese society. Inter-marriage between Maltese and people hailing from other countries, cultures and religions has now become a constant phenomenon in our country. Here again, the Church in Malta is called upon to address the issue with sober realism and with fidelity to its identity and role as a Catholic community.

The Church in Malta today does not and must not which for a return to the ways of the past, but neither is it condemned to remain bogged down in the present. Nostalgia of “better times in the past” does not bode well for a Church that needs to be forward looking and which requires leaders capable of realizing its aspirations and hopes. The Church must never agree to allow itself to be relegated to the sacristy or to have its role restricted to liturgical functions; nor should the Church's pastoral planning reduce itself to a reaction to government agendas and legislation.

A fundamental step forward has already been taken by the convocation of the Diocesan Synod in 1999 (and which was concluded in 2003), which has painstakingly worked on the basic issues facing Maltese society and how the Church is called upon to respond.

As is the case with other European countries, the Church in Malta has much to say to Maltese society in the European Union. The society that is now emerging is becoming increasingly individualistic, pluralistic and secular. It has a word to say to civil society. If it wants to live up to its vocation as Church it must be first and foremost a prophetic community. In a society that is undergoing a crises of values it has a duty to affirm and restore ideals, such as the dignity of the human person, the centrality of reason, social solidarity, and society as community. The project of Malta as a full member of the European Union is not exempt from the temptation of Babel. Europe is not the Promised Land nor is it the heavenly Jerusalem.

Although Malta is one of the smallest countries in the European Union, it has a right to voice its grievances, especially at times when this same Union appears to adopt policies that are suggestive of a super-state rather than a union where unity in diversity is cultivated. The Maltese language and the Catholic religion lie at the very roots of our country's identity. European Union policy makers are called upon to respect Malta's uniqueness as expressed by these tow elements instead of attempting to eradicate them in the name of a false European secularism.This holds true especially as regards divorce, same-sex marriages, euthanasia, abortion, cloning and so forth.

Maltese society should beware of throwing out the baby with the vathwter, of denying its Christian, or in this particular context, its Catholic past, limited it solely to the events of the sixties. By pretending to flee from what some would dub “the tyranny of the past” it would simply be floating aimlessly into the tyranny of the present, without roots, without any fixed goal, precisely as a result of having disowned its identity. Instead of accepting in  humility the past with all its glories and tragedies it would end up taking an attitude of arrogance by creating a collective amnesia, pretending to start anew and ending up living in a historical vacuum. This tragic error has already been committed by those who drafted the so-called European Constitution and who opted to do away with any mention of the Christian roots of Europe.

The Church in Malta needs to be vigilant in order to avoid ambiguities that have, alas, become the hallmark of much of European Union policy. Malta in the European Union needs the Church in order to avoid the extreme pitfalls of losing its identity or of making of its identity an absolute to the detriment of other peoples and falling into the clutches of an extreme nationalism.

On the other hand Maltese civil society s called upon to give serious consideration to what Church authorities have to say. Church leaders, be they bishops, clergy, religious or lay people involved in pastoral work, have a right and a duty to act as the conscience of Maltese society without having to go through the indignity of being stereotyped as fundamentalists, Talibans or latter-day inquisitors. As free and responsible citizens of the Republic of Malta they have a right to voice their concerns on issues that effect the moral standing of the country; as leaders they have a responsibility to “preach the word, be urgent in season and out of season, convince, rebuke and exhort, be unfailing in patience and in teaching”. Civil society must listen and evaluate their opinions; it must live up to its name, that of being truly civil.

In the not too distant future Malta will undoubtedly produce its fair share of Theo-Cons or clerical atheists who in their writings and public speeches will strike a chord in Catholics who feel aggrieved by the wave of an already present secular fundamentalism, but who no doubt have its own agendas. The Church in Malta would do well to avoid being associated with such currents of thought.

The role of the Church in Malta should not be reduced to that of a tenacious apologist obsessed with preserving Christianity from extinction. In this environment of spiritual and moral poverty it is called to demonstrate that the human being is not reduced to what he or she shows or produces; that the family is the natural environment in which one learns how to love; that simple gestures are enough to restore hope to those who consider themselves marginalized or, even worse, forgotten.

The role of the Church in helping a more humane Maltese society is to be an attentive listener to the cries of anguish which betray a sense of the meaninglessness that lies at the heart of humanity today, as well as impassioned and coherent witness of a faith that is forever new, dynamic and relevant. Maltese society is also suffering from a deficit of hope, that hope which enables its citizens to give meaning to their lives and history, and to look ahead and continue on their way together.

The Church in Malta has a unique opportunity to live up to and renew its mission of giving a coherent and courageous message of hope in an age of anxiety and uncertainty characterized by the long-term prospects of economic crises and decline leading to unemployment and the rise in property prices that is taking its toll on both established families as well as prospective ones.

The witness of the Church in Malta must therefore be manifested as a life in all its fullness and freedom, a love that does not experience the bonds in terms of dependence and limitation but rather as an opening to the greatness of life. The Church in Malta has a future because it has always risen to the occasion whenever the Maltese population was in dire need of inspiration and hope. Participation in the life of the European Union should not be a cause of fear, but a call to one¹s faith and find in it the realization of human dignity and purpose.

As the Archbishop of Malta and the Bishop of Gozo clearly stated in a jointly written pastoral letter last year: “Our society expects from us, as a Christian community, an answer that is first and foremost one of true and authentic witness. It is our authenticity, which makes our words and our deeds credible, and to be relied upon when we speak about what is the true meaning of life and what is most important in life”.

At this crucial moment in the history of our nation as a member of the European Union the Church in Malta is called upon to respond with courage and determination, with compassion and love, with joy and hope. I is called upon to show the same leadership that has made the population of our islands seek its guidance in times of crisis and danger throughout the centuries. It is this role that has made Church the backbone of Maltese society.


- Rev. Dr. Joseph Ellul O.P. is a Professor in Eastern Christianity and Muslim-Christian Dialogue at the `Pontifical University of St Thomas Aquinas (Rome); Lecturer in Islamic Thought at the Pontifical Institute of Arabic and Islamic Studies (Rome); Lecturer in Muslim - Christian Dialogue at the University of Malta; Archbishop of Malta's delegate for Christian - Muslim Relations; Consultor to the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue.

(This is an edited version of the same titled article published as part of the Civil Society Project Report 2009 on Malta in the European Union: Five Years on and Looking to the Future (Edited by Profs. Peter G. Xuereb (Project Co-odinator). The report, published by the European Documentation and Research Centre, Jean Monnet European Centre of Excellence, University of Malta, will form the backdrop to a public discussion and debate in a National Confrence organised by the EDRC in May of this year.)

Please note that all rights are reserved by the EDRC and Peter G. Xuereb.

MaltaToday/Illum: PN agrees to sign gay rights petition

«Ara ftit iktar l-isfel għall-artiklu bil-Malti.»
24.5.9 by David Darmanin

At a meeting held among five PN candidates for MEP and members of the Malta Gay Rights Movement (MGRM) yesterday afternoon, incumbents Simon Busuttil and David Casa, and candidates Roberta Metsola Tedesco Triccas, Alan Deidun and Edward Demicoli all agreed to sign a petition endorsing formal recognition of same-sex couples, among other things.
The MGRM is now hoping that all PN candidates sign the petition, as seems to have been promised at yesterday’s meeting.

Until yesterday, the candidates who signed ILGA-Europe’s petition were AD candidates Arnold Cassola and Yvonne Ebejer-Arqueros, Liberal candidate John Zammit, and Labour candidates Sharon Ellul-Bonici, Claudette Abela-Baldacchino, Marlene Mizzi, and Joseph Cuschieri.
For the PN yesterday’s move marks a different direction in its campaign. According to the International Lesbian-Gay Association (ILGA-Europe), PN frontrunner Simon Busuttil has the worst track record on gay-friendly resolutions and reports in the European Parliament.

On seven items listed by ILGA on its website, Busuttil and Casa did not vote in favour of any of the resolutions and reports. Busuttil and Casa abstained on the Lynne report for a new anti-discrimination law to outlaw discrimination outside employment on access to goods and services on grounds of sexual orientation, amongst others.

Busuttil also abstained on the Buitenweg report calling for a law to enforce equal treatment between persons, irrespective of religion or belief, disability, age or sexual orientation, while Casa was not present for the vote.

In the petition, the MGRM [Correction: ILGA-Europe made the petition] is calling for stricter laws regarding homophobic and trans-phobic violence and bullying; legal protection against discrimination in the delivery of goods and services to homosexuals; an extension in the remit of the National Commission for Protection of Equality to cater for the grounds of sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression; as well as the inclusion of gender reassignment surgery and hormone therapy for transgender persons as part of the public health services.

Speaking to MaltaToday, MGRM spokesperson Gabi Calleja described the meeting with PN candidates as “fruitful”.

“Although we disagree with the PN on same sex marriage and all the rights that go with it, there were other things we agreed upon,” she said. “We agreed, for example, that transsexuals should not have to go through gender reassignment surgery to change their documents.”

PN MEP Simon Busuttil said the PN will work to combat discrimination against people over their sexual orientation, but there were issues with which the party did not agree with the gay rights movement. Busuttil said the PN was not in favour of same-sex marriages and child adoptions by same-sex couples, but it was ready to discuss issues such as rights for same sex cohabiting couples.

Asked to comment on the PN’s voting patterns in the EP vis-à-vis gay rights, Calleja said that “the PN said that they voted against certain issues on gay rights because they disagreed with details in reports that were behind the vote itself, as these seemed to have carried an impact on family values and implications favouring divorce. Regardless, what we see is the vote – as this is what determines the final result.”

The MGRM has already met up with individual candidates from the PL camp – namely Sharon Ellul Bonici, Claudette Abela Baldacchino and Marlene Mizzi; as well as both Arnold Cassola and Yvonne Aqueiros Ebejer from AD.

Asked whether the MGRM has identified more with a specific party in the run up to the June 6 elections, Calleja said that “although the Socialist camp seems to defend gay rights more than others, it is not the actual party that matters for all we are concerned”.

“Our aim is to get as many candidates as possible to sign the pledge, and this what we are pushing for most,” she said.


Illum: Forsi pass ’il quddiem għall-MGRM
24.5.9 minn Franica Pulis

Ilbieraħ il-Moviment Malti għad-Drittijiet tal-Gays (MGRM) iltaqa’ ma’ għadd ta’ kandidati għall-Elezzjonijiet Ewropej fosthom Simon Busuttil u David Casa. Fl-2007 iż-żewġ Membri Parlamentari ma kinux iffirmaw ir-Riżoluzzjoni dwar l-Omofobija fl-Ewropa li kienet tikkundanna diskriminazzjoni jew moħqrija ta’ omosesswali.

Waqt il-laqgħa l-MGRM staqsiet lill-Membri Parlamentari Ewropej tal-PN għaliex kienu vvutaw kontra jew astjenew f’dan il-każ. Huma wieġbu li dan ġara minħabba li fir-riżoluzzjonijiet kien hemm frażijiet ta’ kundanna ta’ pajjiżi partikulari jew kontra l-Papa. L-MGRM, filwaqt li fehmet dawn ir-raġunijiet, qalet li l-aktar li jibqa’ jinteressaha hu l-vot finali.

Waqt il-laqgħa kien hemm preżenti wkoll Roberta Metsola Tedesco Triccas, Alan Deidun u Edward Demicoli, li flimkien ma’ Busuttil u Casa, qablu li jiffirmaw il-petizzjoni tal-MGRM [Korrezzjoni: Il-Petizzjoni hi ta' l-ILGA Europe] li tiġbor fiha anki l-għarfien ta’ koppji tal-istess sess. L-MGRM qed jittamaw li l-bqija tal-kandidati Nazzjonalisti jiffirmaw il-petizzjoni bħalma twiegħed ilbieraħ.

Mill-partiti l-oħrajn diġà ffirmaw il-petizzjoni erba’ kandidati Laburisti, iż-żewġ kandidati tal-AD u John Zammit mill-Alleanza Liberali Demokratika Malta.

Il-petizzjoni, li saret speċifikament biex tittratta kwistjonijiet Ewroparlamentari, qed titlob li jkun hemm aktar liġijiet stretti dwar vjolenza omofobika u transfobika u bullying; protezzjoni legali meta ma jingħatawx servizzi jew oġġetti b’diskriminazzjoni lill-omosesswali; estensjoni tal-kompetenza tal-Kummissjoni Nazzjonali għall-Ugwaljanza biex tibda taħdem ukoll fuq orjentazzjoni sesswali, identità u espressjoni ta’ ġens kif ukoll taħdem biex is-servizzi tas-saħħa pubblika jinkludu wkoll interventi kirurġiċi biex jinbidel is-sess u t-terapija tal-ormoni għal nies li huma transgender.

Gabi Calleja, il-koordinatur tal-MGM, iddeskriviet il-laqgħa mal-kandidati tal-PN bħala waħda li “tħalli l-frott”.

“Għalkemm ma naqblux mal-PN dwar żwieġ bejn l-istess sessi u d-drittijiet kollha marbutin miegħu, kien hemm affarijiet oħrajn li qbilna magħhom. Pereżempju qbilna dwar il-fatt li t-transesswali m’għandhomx għalfejn jgħaddu minn operazzjonijiet biex ibiddlu s-sess tagħhom biex jinbidlulhom id-dokumenti,” spjegat Calleja.

Mistoqsija jekk il-Moviment jidentifikax ruħu aktar ma’ xi partit partikulari minnhom għall-elezzjonijiet li ġejjin, Calleja tenniet li “minkejja l-kamp Soċjalista donnu jiddefendi aktar id-drittijiet tal-gays aktar mill-oħrajn, għalina mhux il-partit jgħodd. L-għan tagħna hu li nippruvaw nilħqu kemm jista’ jkun kandidati biex jiffirmaw il-petizzjoni u dan hu li qed naħdmu għalih l-aktar.”

L-MGRM diġà ltaqgħet b’mod individwali mal-kandidati tal-PL Sharon Ellul Bonici, Claudette Abela Baldacchino u Marlene Mizzi; u mal-kandidati tal-AD Arnold Cassola u Yvonne Arqueros Ebejer.

Wednesday, 27 May 2009

N.Y.Times: Diplomats’ Same-Sex Partners to Get Benefits
Published: May 23, 2009

WASHINGTON — The State Department will offer equal benefits and protections to same-sex partners of American diplomats, according to an internal memorandum Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton sent last week to an association of gay and lesbian Foreign Service officers.

Mrs. Clinton said the policy change addressed an inequity in the treatment of domestic partners and would help the State Department recruit diplomats, since many international employers already offered such benefits.

“Like all families, our Foreign Service families come in different configurations; all are part of the common fabric of our post communities abroad,” Mrs. Clinton said in the memorandum, a copy of which was provided to The New York Times by a member of the gay and lesbian association.

“At bottom,” she said, “the department will provide these benefits for both opposite-sex and same-sex partners because it is the right thing to do.”

A senior State Department official confirmed the new policy, though he did not say when it would take effect.

Among the benefits are diplomatic passports, use of medical facilities at overseas posts, medical and other emergency evacuation, transportation between posts, and training in security and languages.

Gay and lesbian diplomats have lobbied the State Department for these benefits for several years. Under current policy, they note, diplomats with domestic partners could be evacuated from a hazardous country by the American government while their partners were left behind.

The State Department had declined to provide some benefits to the partners of diplomats, invoking the Defense of Marriage Act, which limited federal recognition of same-sex unions.

Mrs. Clinton was asked about the issue in February at her first town-hall-style meeting with department employees. “I view this as an issue of workplace fairness, employee retention, and the safety and effectiveness of our embassy communities worldwide,” she said, to applause.

Influential lawmakers also pushed for the changes — even drafting legislation requiring the State Department to offer these benefits — until Mrs. Clinton assured them that she would address the issue.

At a hearing last week on financing for the State Department, the chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Representative Howard L. Berman, welcomed news of the planned change in policy. Mr. Berman, Democrat of California, introduced a former ambassador to Romania, Michael Guest, who left the Foreign Service in 2007, citing unfair treatment of his partner, Alex Nevarez.

Mrs. Clinton’s husband, former President Bill Clinton, appointed the nation’s first openly gay ambassador, James C. Hormel, to serve in Luxembourg. Opposition by Republican senators blocked a vote on the appointment, leading Mr. Clinton to appoint him eventually during a Congressional recess in 1999.

Times: Video interview: [Alan] Deidun feeling comfortable in the PN

[P. Attard's Note: Dr Alan Deidun is in favour of civil partnerships. Watch video here 4:26.]

Nationalist candidate Alan Deidun believes that both main political parties are financed by contractors and other big businesses. There is nothing wrong in that, he said, but the parties need to make such donations public. The PN, he told Kurt Sansone in a six-minute-interview, should take the initiative in this area.

Dr Deidun said he felt comfortable in the PN because no one was restricting him in what he said, although he did not agree with everything that the party did.

[Click on the hyperlink above to read the comments at the Times' website.]

Related article:

MaltaMedia: Who'll get the pink vote?
27.5.9 by Gattaldo

My British government acknowledges my same sex relationship. My Civil Partnership certificate is worth nowt in Malta. 

In view of the MEP elections, will someone enlighten me as to who in Malta is promising the best legal recognition of my relationship? It all seems much of a muchness to me. The only difference I have noticed so far is that, in contrast with the rest, the Nationalist MEPs seem to be more reticent and have taken a longer time to sign ILGA-Europe's pledge. The same MEPs were also clearer in stating they were against same sex marriage and child adoptions by same-sex couples. 

This does not mean the others get off scot free. Correct me if I am wrong but the other MEP/MEP hopefuls never said they were in favour of same sex marriage and child adoptions by same sex couples. All they promise is to put us all in one multi-purpose basket along with all flat-sharing mates. I find that insulting. I have promised to love, respect and have amazing sex (OK, the last is just wishful thinking) with my partner, taking in the responsibilities that come with such a commitment and I get to be lumped with people who's only thing in common is their address. 

Here we are thanking them profusely for the privilege of having met us just prior to asking us for our vote. They'll have to do better than that.

The way I see it is they all feel they're being charitable, whilst retaining at the same time that a love between a man and a woman is way superior. You know what? You NEED my vote and although I'm not a one issue voter (I have already voiced my concern at why each MEP has placed the immigration issue before that of the economy), I might just this one time make sure you never get close to that gravy train.

I don't expect anything better from a closet case who can't resist a boogie amongst bare chested same-sex loving hunks and his "won't dare criticise the Pope" mate, but my respect for those who claim to be liberal is fast disappearing.

Although this is one truly emotional piece on my part, I do hope you will send in your comments about this issue. In principle, I am against throwing away my vote, but I simply don't have the foggiest who's for real in this game.

Times: No to divorce and to values à la carte [Alan Deidun]

“I am proud to be called a conservative or a traditionalist, even though I am still 30 years old, and to call for respect by all candidates of Christian values, such as those of marriage, which is indissoluble”

Much has been forthcoming from candidates on the thorny issue of divorce, with many pandering to the masses and stating that one should not ignore the new social realities mushrooming around us. Without specifically calling for an introduction of divorce in these islands, such statements are perceived to be in clear support of such an introduction. The same candidates then speak of family-friendly measures as if the introduction of divorce and such measures could coexist, in order to pander to both anti- and pro-divorce camps by sitting snugly on the fence.

In this sense, I fully endorse the Catholic Manifesto drawn up by local bishops, composed of eight points, which include the need to respect the family model founded on marriage, the need to respect life from conception to a natural death, the need to advance the social rights of workers, the need to introduce economic governance based on social values and the need to protect creation by fighting climate change and promoting a moderate lifestyle and the need to promote justice in relationships between European partners and peace in the world through a judicious foreign policy.

I am proud to be called a conservative or a traditionalist, even though I am still 30 years old, and to call for respect by all candidates of Christian values, such as those of marriage, which is indissoluble.

While couples currently facing difficulties should be helped in every possible way, even those who choose not to get married, the family model should remain a natural choice for young people today, since the dissolution of such a model abroad has hailed in an era of unprecedented social problems. The proposal of social values to rake in votes in simply not on - values do not change with the times.

[Click on the hyperlink at the top to view the comments. An interesting one is pasted below:]

C Attard (8 hours, 31 minutes ago)
Let me clear - you never had my vote ihn the first place because:

1. As a self-described 'environmentalist' I find it unbelievable how you would choose to contest with the party with the worst environmental record of all, the EPP. That speaks volumes about you since, as Busuttil and Casa have shown, if faced with a choice between doing what's right and going along with the EPP, the PN MEPs will choose the latter. I have no faith you'd be any different.

2. As a gay man I could never vote PN or EPP on the basis of their negative track record (not to mention bare faced lies) on gay issues.

However, reading this piece really sent shivers down my spine. How can young politicians in this day and age fail so miserably to distinguish between religion and politics. I'd like to hear what you think about people like me and our place in society. Thank god you stand no chance in hell of being elected.

Related Article:

Illum: Intervista - Louis Grech
Intervista | 24 ta’ Mejju 2009 Nr 134; Karl Stagno Navarra

Fl-interess nazzjonali u Ewropew

Karl Stagno-Navarra jintervista lid-Deputat Parlamentari Ewropew Louis Grech

Għall-Partit Laburista Louis Grech jista’ jitqies bħala wieħed mill-pedini importanti fil-proċess kollu tat-tisħiħ tal-partit wara snin fl-Oppożizzjoni. Il-bniedem għandu kariżma u jgawdi r-rispett tal-Laburisti u tan-Nazzjonalisti. Louis Grech mhux xi wiċċ ġdid għall-Maltin u l-Istorja turi li fejn kienet fdata f’idejh ċerta responsabbiltà rnexxielu jikseb ir-riżultati u fuq kollox kompla saħħaħ ir-rispett lejh.
Forsi mhux persuna li wieħed jista’ jfisser bħala ‘Laburist tipiku’ minħabba l-istil ta’ ħajja tiegħu. Iżda Louis Grech iħaddan il-kredenzjali taċ-Ċentru Xellug jew aħjar ta’ Soċjal-Demokratiku.
“In-nies tista’ tarani kif trid, iżda l-verità hi li jien Laburist, Soċjal-Demokratiku, jien progressiv … ” jinsisti meta staqsejtu kif jara lilu nnifsu fil-kwadru politiku lokali fejn il-preġudizzju tan-nies jagħmel tiegħu.
Jirrakkonta li ħames snin bħala Deputat Parlamentari Ewropew tawh esperjenza unika għall-fatt li fi ħdan il-Parlament Ewropew ħadem u qed jaspira li jkompli jaħdem f’qafas ta’ politika f’sens mill-aktar wiesa’.
“Veru li taħdem biex tħares l-interess nazzjonali, iżda fil-Parlament Ewropew taħdem ukoll f’kuntest aktar wiesa’ minn dak li hu esklussivament lokali. Fi Brussels taħdem għall-interess tal-ġid komuni Ewropew.
“Flus l-Ewropa, li fuq kollox jitqassmu wkoll għal Malta, huma fuq kollox flus li jinġabru mit-taxxi taċ-ċittadini Ewropej kollha, irrispettivament jekk humiex Maltin, Ġermaniżi, Taljani jew mod ieħor.
“Bħala Deputat Ewropew naħdem biex niddefendi l-interessi tal-Ewropej kollha, u fl-istess ħin inservi bħala tarka għall-interessi tal-Maltin,” jispjega.
Ħaġa interessanti li laqtitni f’Louis Grech hu l-fatt li jirrakkonta kif bejn vjaġġ u ieħor minn u lejn Brussels, jiġrilu xi ħaġa partikolari kull meta l-ajruplan jibda l-inżul tiegħu lejn Malta hekk kif jiskorri Sqallija.
“Għax aħna kif aħna f’Malta, kif jibda l-inżul nidħol fil-psikoloġija tad-difiża u jiġri l-kontra hekk kif inħalli Malta biex inkompli b’xogħli fil-Parlament.”
Jekk tieqaf u taħseb Grech qaxxar il-klima politika b’riflessjoni innoċenti, fejn minħabba l-istorja twila ta’ pika partiġġana f’pajjiżna, min hu fil-politika jħossu mġiegħel ikun dejjem fuq id-difiża flok ma jitħalla ħieles li jesprimi ħsibijietu u jwettaq ix-xogħol politiku meħtieġ.
“Mhux qed ngħid li xogħol il-politiku m’għandux ikun imkejjel mill-opinjoni pubblika, anzi dak hu importanti. Iżda l-fatt li l-politika partiġġana f’Malta hi bbażata fuq l-attakki personali u mgħammda b’aġendi u tidwir tal-verità, din iddejjaqqni ħafna,” isostni Louis Grech.
Il-ħajja ta’ Membru Parlamentari Ewropew mhix xi passiġġata. Hi impenjattiva ħafna u hu mgħobbi b’ħafna responsabbiltà, partikolarment meta jkun fdat bil-badġit tal-Unjoni Ewropea.
“Kif għedtlek, dawn huma flus it-taxxi taċ-ċittadini Ewropej u għalhekk ir-responsabbiltà ta’ kif u fejn għandhom jintefqu biljuni ta’ ewro kien jeħtieġ ġimgħat u xhur twal ta’ laqgħat u negozjati ma’ ħafna politiċi,” spjega Louis Grech li żied jitkellem fuq is-sodisfazzjon tiegħu għall-fatt li l-baġit kien approvat u l-konklużjonijiet dwaru kienu mfaħħra mill-istituzzjonijiet kollha.
Fil-Parlament Ewropew Grech jagħmel parti mill-Grupp Soċjalista (PSE), iżda minkejja dan – għaliex ma teżistix il-pika partiġġana – diversi kienu d-drabi fejn ħadem id f’id mad-deputati tal-PN fl-istess Parlament.
“Ma’ Simon Busuttil, li ġej mill-Partit Popolari, ħdimt u kburi li ħdimt miegħu fl-aħjar interess nazzjonali, l-aktar meta ġejna biex nitkellmu u nsostnu pożizzjoni fuq l-immigrazzjonin klandestina u l-Frontex, fejn flimkien ġbarna l-appoġġ tal-gruppi politiċi rispettivi tagħna u ksibna vot unanimu mill-Parlament,” sostna Louis Grech, li reġa’ nsista fuq kif qatt ma ta kas il-preġudizzji iżda jagħti kas biss dak li hu fl-interess nazzjonali u Ewropew.
Nistaqsi lil Grech jekk iħossux Soċjalista Progressiv – tifsira politika moderna għaċ-Ċentru Xellug – u jwieġeb li għalih din il-kelma li l-Ingliżi jfissru bħala ‘buzz word’ ma tantx tolqtu.
“Noqgħod attent ħafna mill-buzz words … nippreferi nqisha sew il-kelma ‘progressiv’, bħal ħafna buzz words oħra li tul ħajti ġew quddiemi u telqu bl-implikazzjonijiet ovvji li jġorru magħhom…”
Nidderieġi lil Grech jekk iħossux ‘Zapaterista’ kif inhi t-tendenza ta’ ħafna Soċjalisti tal-lum.
“Il-Prim Ministru Soċjalista Josè Louis Zapatero jħaddem il-politika tiegħu għaċ-ċirkostanżi ta’ Spanja. Issa Spanja għandha r-realtajiet u l-ħtiġiet speċifiċi tagħha….”

Ninterrompi lil Grech biex nirreferih għall-fatt li l-Partit Laburista f’Malta qed jimbotta l-għajta ta’ ‘progressiv’ u meta jgħid dan, diversi kummentaturi politiċi jsostnu li dan jimplika xaqliba lejn direzzjoni politika li tiffavorixxi l-introduzzjoni tad-divorzju u l-għarfien ta’ drittijiet ċivili għall-omosesswali.
“Huma temi reali għas-soċjetà Maltija. Huma temi li wieħed ma jistax jinjora u nistenna li l-pajjiż jadotta dibattitu serju u matur dwarhom. Malta ma tgħix f’bozza u żgur li mhux se nkun jien li ninħeba wara l-ipokrezija li sfortunatament huma ħafna l-politiċi li konvenjent jinħbew wara l-maskra tal-ipokrezija,” jwieġeb Grech.
“Jien bniedem li nobgħod u nibqa’ ’l bogħod kemm nista’ mill-preġudizzji u nittama li xi darba nifhmu lkoll li anqas ma jkollna preġudizzji, dan il-pajjiż jimxi aħjar. F’dan il-pajjiż flok niddiskutu u nfasslu politika tajba fl-oqsma kollha, moħħna biss fil-ħajjiet privata tan-nies, tal-politiċi, u din iddejjaqni ħafna. Jalla jasal iż-żmien li ħadd aktar ma jisserva bil-ħajja privata ta’ xi politiku biex mingħalih se jikseb xi vantaġġ politiku,” sostna.

Grech hu konxju li t-taqtigħa f’din l-elezzjoni hi waħda aktar ħarxa minn dik ta’ erba’ snin ilu. Isostni li minkejja l-kompetizzjoni iebsa minħabba l-kwalità u n-numru ta’ kandidati oħra li qed jikkontestaw fuq it-tikketta tal-Partit Laburista kif ukoll tal-Partit Nazzjonalista, hekk kif mit-tendenzi li joħorġu minn elezzjonijiet bħal dawn joħroġ ċar li l-elettorat iħobb jesperimenta u jaqleb il-preferenzi.
“Dan hu vot nazzjonali u l-kwoti huma għoljin. Hawnhekk nistqarr li l-ħidma li bdejt matul dawn il-ħames snin li għaddew donnhom ħolma, għad fadlilha ħafna biex titwettaq, u beħsiebni nkompli nwettqħa sakemm Alla jagħtini s-saħħa.” Żied jgħid kif matul din il-kampanja elettorali qed jieħu ħsieb li jisma’ ferm aktar minn qatt qabel dak li qed jinkwieta n-nies.
“Il-poplu Malti għandu problemi kbar. Hawn faqar ġdid li jien irrid nindirizza bis-saħħa kollha, u nemmen ukoll li bħala poplu Ewropew jimmerita l-istess opportunitajiet daqs il-popli Ewropej l-oħra.”
Hawnhekk Grech jirreferini għall-ħidma tiegħu fil-Parlament Ewropew kif ukoll fl-istitizzjonijiet tal-UE meta faqqgħet il-kwistjoni dwar il-VAT fuq ir-reġistrazzjoni tal-karozzi.
“Dak li hu bi dritt għaċ-ċittadini Maltin, sew jekk kollettivament, sew jekk individwali, dak id-dritt jeħtieġ li jkun imħares, u dan hu xogħli bħala Deputat Parlamentari Ewropew u dan hu fuq kollox l-aktar prinċipju fundamentali għaliex Malta ssieħbet fl-Unjoni Ewropea.”
Fost l-affarijiet l-aktar impenjattivi għal Louis Grech jekk ikun ikkonfermat bħala Deputat Parlamentari Ewropew hemm li jkompli bil-ħidma diġà mibdija lejn aktar ħarsien għall-jeddijiet tal-konsumatur.
Bl-esperjenza tiegħu fis-settur tal-kummerċ u l-imprenditorja, biex ma nsemmux ukoll l-esperjenza tiegħu bħala ekonomista, Grech hu impenjat li l-Ewropa tħaddan il-leġiżlazzjoni li tippermetti ħarsien veru tad-drittijiet tal-konsumaturi.
“Qed nipproponi li titwaqqaf awtorità awtonoma u indipendenti li tagħraf tkejjel b’ġustizzja l-prezzijiet jew t-tariffi li jkunu mposti fuq il-konsumaturi, speċjalment minn dawk l-entitajiet li jipprovdu s-servizzi essenzjali bħad-dawl u l-ilma li l-lum jistgħu jkunu kemm tal-Gvern jew tal-privat. Hemm awtoritajiet li huma diġà mwaqqfa, iżda spiss jaqgħu servi tal-gvernijiet tal-ġurnata. Li nixtieq nara jien hi Awtorità li tkun l-għassiesa fil-veru sens tal-kelma għall-ġid tal-konsumatur.”
Grech hu konvint li l-Partit Laburista hu lest biex jiggverna f’Malta u minkejja s-snin fl-Oppożizzjoni jemmen li l-proċess ta’ bidla fi ħdan il-Partit, li tinkludi l-bidla fit-tmexxija, il-PL hu mimli impenn biex imexxi l-pajjiż u jkun tassew l-alternattiva ġusta.
Grech isostni li għalkemm mhux fl-istil tiegħu li jfittex il-glorja, jemmen iżda li l-karriera twila tiegħu fi ħdan kumpanniji tal-Istat, fosthom l-Air Malta, huma l-akbar sodisfazzjon tiegħu.
“Meta kont fdat fit-tmexxija tal-Air Malta wettaqt ħidmieti bl-akbar impenn lejn il-pajjiż. L-akbar sodisfazzjon tiegħi hu li l-għixien tal-Air Malta llum f’dawn iż-żminijiet diffiċli huma riżultat tal-fatt li rnexxieli nwettaq riforma fil-flotta tal-kumpannija u ksibna l-prezz tassew vantaġġjuż għal-linja tal-ajru li ppermetta l-vijabbiltà tal-ażjenda,” spjega.
“B’kollox nemmen li t-tmexxija tiegħi fl-Air Malta wasslet għal ristrutturar totali f’kull settur, fejn b’kollox hu stmat li ntqatgħu bi kważi 80 miljun f’dejn li kellha l-kumpanija.”
Bejn telefonata u oħra, Grech jurik li hu impenjat ħafna, u jispjega li se jkollu jtemm l-appuntament tal-intervista minħabba esiġenzi elettorali oħra madwar il-pajjiż.
“Ħajti saret dik li hi, iżda mhux qed naqta’ qalbi. Dejjem ilqajt l-isfidi, u din oħra li nikkunsidra bħala esperjenza ta’ maturità tul it-62 sena kemm ili ħaj,” itemm jgħid.

Tuesday, 26 May 2009

MaltaStar: Gay rights: MEPs should be judged on their voting record – LGBT network
[You need to log in a Facebook account to read the note.]
25.5.9 by Daniel Jose Micallef

The LGBT Network of the Labour Youth Forum (FZL) said that MEPs should be judged on their voting record in the European Parliament.

The FZL said that the Nationalist party has an abysmal voting record when it came to gay rights. Nationalist MEPs candidates abstained or voted against when it came to extending or safeguarding gay rights in the European Parliament.

In 2007 David Casa abstained in a vote on a resolution, which condemned homophobia on the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transsexual community. Simon Busuttil went a step further, when in 2006 he voted against a resolution against violence on the gay community.

Moreover, the Nationalist MEPs voted against or abstained on four other resolutions on gay rights, namely, the Catania, Buitenweg, Lynne and Zdonka reports.

The FZL also noted that that no PN candidate has yet signed the ILGE petition. The youth network also said that the LGBT community should keep in mind those who have always been consistent on gay rights.

[Click on the hyperlink at the top to view the comments on MaltaStar's website.]

Interesting comment on the MaltaStar website:
martin borg - 26 May 2009 06:28

Gays should keep in mind that it was a labour government throught the turbulent times of the 70s who decriminalised homosexuality and homosexual acts in private.

It was a labour government who broke down the doors for thse people to come out of their closets.

It is time you showed some appreciation.


It-track record tal-PN fir-rigward ta’ nies LGBT u id-drittijiethom xejn mhu tajjeb

Forum Żgħażagħ Laburisti

• L-LGBT Network tal-Forum Zghazagh Laburisti temmen li l-MEPs kollha ghandhom jigu ggudikati fuq ir-rizultati li kisbu u/jew kif ivvotaw tul dawn l-ahhar 5 snin. Sfortunatament it-track record tal-PN ma tantx huwa wiehed tajjeb fir-rigward ta’ nies LGBT u d-drittijiet taghhom.

Lil hinn mill-paroli ta’ qabel l-elezzjonijiet ir-rizultati juru li l-MEPs tal-PN huma li dawn astjenew u sahansitra ivvutaw kontra diversi rapporti u rizoluzzjonijiet dwar nies LGBT! Fl-2006 kif ukoll fl-2007 David Casa hasel idejh minn rizoluzzjonijiet li kkundannaw l-omofobija u l-vjolenza kontra nies LGBT waqt li Simon Busuttil mar pass iktar u ivvota kontra ir-rizoluzzjoni ta l-2006 li trattat il-vjolenza kontra nies gay.

Aparti minn hekk, iz-zewg MEPs Nazzjonalisti astjenew u/jew vvutaw kontra 4 rapporti ohra li ttrattaw nies LGBT jigifieri ir-rapporti "Catania", "Buitenweg", "Lynne" u "Zdonaka".
LGBT network b'dispjacir innota ukoll li lanqas wiehed mill-kandidati tal-PN ma ffirma il-pledge li qieghda taghmel l-ILGA Europe fejn qieghda titlob lill-kandidati ghall-elezzjonijiet tal-PE biex jweghdu li jahdmu kontra vjolenza fuq nies gay kif ukoll li jaraw li l-ebda pajjiz fl-UE kif ukoll gar taghha ma jikser drittijiet fundamentali tal-bniedem u li jirrigwardaw lil nies LGBT b'mod specifiku.

L-LGBT Network qieghed iheggeg lil peersuni LGBT biex izommu quddiem ghajnejhom dawn ir-rizultati meta fis-sitta ta' gunju jitfghu il-vot taghhom ghal dawk li jixtiequ li jirraprezentawhom fl-UE, b'hekk biss jistghu jassiguraw li d-drittijiet ta nies gay ma jigux minsijin u mitfughin f'xi kexxun sakemm tasal l-elezzjoni li jmiss!


Independent: PL youths rubbish PN’s record on sexuality

The LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender) Network of the Labour Youths, commenting on a meeting between Nationalist MEP Simon Busuttil and the Malta Gay Rights Movement, said MEPs should be judged on their record, and unfortunately the PN’s track record in LGBT and their rights was not a good one.

Ignoring the rhetoric which precedes elections, the LGBT Network said, the results PN MEPs had at the EP showed they had abstained or voted against various reports and resolutions about LGBT people. In 2006 and 2007 David Casa ignored resolutions condemning homophobia and violence against LGBT people and Simon Busuttil went one better by voting against the 2006 resolution against violence against gays, the Network said.

The two PN MEPs had also abstained or voted against four other reports, “Catania”, “Buitenweg”, “Lynne” and “Zdonaka”, about gays. Neither had any of the PN candidates for the EP election signed the pledge made by ILGA Europe asking EP candidates to promise to work against violence against gay people.

Saturday, 23 May 2009

Times: PN candidates meet gay rights movement

The PN will work to combat discrimination against people over their sexual orientation, but there were issues with which the party did not agree with the gay rights movement, PN MEP Simon Busuttil said today.

Speaking at a meeting between Nationalist EP candidates and representatives of the movement, Dr Busuttil said the PN was not in favour of same sex marriages and child adoptions by same-sex couples, but it was ready to discuss issues such as rights for same sex cohabiting couples.

Gaby Calleja, who led the Gay Rights Movement's delegation, agreed that there were issues the two sides did not agree upon. She said the concept of discrimination was taken to mean an absence of equality, and equality did not come in pieces. One was either equal to another, or not.

[Click on the hyperlink above to view the comments on the Times' website.]

[P. Attard's Note: Well done to the Malta Gay Rights Movement for holding the meeting. The should publish a press release on the other meetings they had with the other candidates. They should endorse a candidate or a political party noting not only their promises but their past work too. Click here to view articles related to the EU Election.]


Times: PN candidates meet gay activists

Sunday, 24th May 2009 by Claudia Calleja

Nationalist MEP candidates would work to combat discrimination against people based on their sexual orientation, Simon Busuttil said yesterday.

However, the MEP said the party was not in favour of same-sex marriage or adoption by gay couples even though it was open to discussion on other issues such as granting rights to cohabiting same-sex couples.

Dr Busuttil clarified the PN's position over gay issues in a meeting with members of the Malta Gay Rights Movement.

"This is a sensitive issue and there are things that we will agree on and others we will disagree about," Dr Busuttil told the movement's members during a meeting yesterday.

The movement's chairman Gaby Calleja said that to her and her movement, the concept of discrimination meant lack of equality.

"Equality is not something that comes in bits and pieces. You are either equal or not," she said.

The first minutes of the discussion were open to the media before the two parties continued in private.

Earlier this year the two PN MEPs, Dr Busuttil and David Casa, voted in favour of amendments recognising the need for laws on cohabitation, including those of gay couples, and the recognition of same-sex marriages performed in other EU member states.

This vote was part of a non-binding resolution to harmonise fundamental EU human rights' laws and showed a marked shift in the position of the party.

Traditionally, the PN - a party rooted in Christian Democratic values - preferred to steer away from these hot social issues. The change was in line with promises made by the PN before last year's general election to legislate on cohabitation, including same-sex couples.

A recent EU report shows that gay, lesbian, bisexual, transsexual and transgender people in Malta still feel they are victims of discrimination, particularly in areas such as health services and education.

The report, drawn up by the EU's Fundamental Rights Agency, found that many in Malta still conceal their sexual orientation from relatives, fearing a negative reaction. However, the majority of those who decide to be open are generally met with acceptance within their family.

Nearly a third of LGBT people in Malta say they conceal their sexual orientation when accessing health services, again fearing discrimination.

[Click on the hyperlink above to view the comments on the Times' website.]

Times: PN's rainbow of clashing colours
Saturday, 23rd May 2009 by Albert Gauci Cunningham, Buġibba

Lawrence Gonzi calls it a rainbow of colours but I'd rather think of it as another political strategy in the PN's frantic run to win the June 6 MEP elections by hook or by crook, so that they could pat themselves on their backs afterwards for how well they think they're governing this country.

For those who are not blinded by their own naïvety it is very clear that far from the team spirit the first PN billboard seemed to imply, most of the PN candidates are saying different things, in different places, to different people promising things that are diametrically opposed to what the PN here in Malta and the EPP in Strasbourg and Brussels have always propagated.

We have Frank Portelli (who sounds more like an AN candidate to me) saying that Libya should be reprimanded and promising to "stop" illegal immigration to Malta (how he plans to do so is still a bit of a mystery). Meanwhile, Minister Carm Mifsud Bonnici says that we shouldn't blame Libya!

We have Roberta Tedeso Triccas "four square" behind Joseph Muscat's arguments about the VAT issue on cars while the government tries its level best not to give these refunds and accuses those clamouring for it of being "irresponsible".

We have the PN which has traditionally always been very reticent on issues like divorce, and even worse on gay issues, fielding a candidate who speaks of gay civil rights and the introduction of divorce.

We have a government which throughout this last year taxed the self-employed, did absolutely nothing to give the much vaunted "red-carpet treatment" to people who want to invest, and to boot sent armies of civil servants with rulers and inch tapes who performed public theatrics forcing these self-employed to look like heartless criminals. So what does the PN do? They take Vince Farriuga, a man I had thought was above petty politics, and use him to win the votes of the many incensed business people who feel so cheated by the PN.

Then we have Alan Deidun, a respected environmentalist, who says that we need the EIA of the Ghadira road assessed by experts and those opposed to it and that the development at Wied il-Ghasel in Mosta should be stopped while on the other hand the Minister in charge pours cold water on the first issue saying that Dr Deidun "should know better" and the Prime Minister says that he cannot act on the latter "because the government respects Mepa's autonomy".

This is not what I call a rainbow of colours complementing each other but a "cacophony" of colours all intent on one singular purpose so eloquently "revealed" by Mr Farrugia - that the PN "gets its biggest electoral victory ever"! It's just plain unbelievable that after taking everyone and his brother for a ride this party expects to obtain a "huge victory". Unbelievable how these people are convinced that throughout this year they governed the way they promised, so much so that they still deserve not only our vote but also our loyalty. Unbelievable how instead of eating humble pie and admitting that they have made a mess of the country and of the PN these people persist in thinking that we're all fools who will happily vote PN come what may because we're afraid of big, bad Joseph.

Be not mistaken and foolish to think that the election in June is just about electing five or six MEPs; politically it is far more than that. Every vote to the PN candidates, as well meaning and reliable and friendly as some of these may be, is nothing more than a carte blanche for this government to keep bulldozing over everyone and to make a mockery of its own promises before the last election. As hard as it may sound for those who still believe in the PN, this is the truth and nothing but the truth.

[Click on the hyperlink above to read the comments on the Times' website.]