Wednesday, 26 August 2009

MaltaStar: The courage of their convictions

26 August 2009 by Sandro Mangion

A gay network and an Independence celebration: it’s not so easy for a mind that’s been shaped in Malta’s predominantly conservative and politically bi-polarised environment to believe that they’re both initiatives coming from within the Labour Party.

One might ask: Why should a major political party on its way to power waste its time with minorities when vote-wise it makes more sense to woo the mainstream voter? Why should Labourites celebrate a feast that ‘belongs’ to the Nationalist Party when the PN doesn’t mark Freedom Day, which is a ‘Labour’ event?

Fortunately, these initiatives are coming from the Labour camp. It’s indeed a breath of fresh air, in a country which desperately longs for a new way of doing politics.

The Forum Zghazagh Laburisti (Labour Youth Forum) should win plaudits for making every effort to act as a catalyst for a much needed change. In so doing, it is – fortunately – positioning itself on the “progressive” side of the “coalition of progressives and moderates”.

Well done FZL for being the only political organisation in Malta with an active LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender) network within its structure. As I write, you’ve been the only political organisation to publicly condemn the recent act of vandalism, where homophobic threats were sprayed on the inside walls of a gay man’s private residence.

Thumbs up to you also for having mustered enough courage to break the mould and opt to celebrate Independence Day for the very first time next month. This should be the start of a process at the end of which different national days will cease ‘belonging’ to one political party or another. Whoever was in government when Independence Day, Freedom Day and the rest of the milestones in Malta’s political history took place, the beneficiary was one: the Maltese nation. So thank you for triggering what will hopefully be a break with a mediocre way of celebrating occasions of national significance. Don’t allow those who are still living in the past dishearten you. Just stick to your progressive vision and march on.

(Check out the press release of FZL LGBT Network’s condemnation of the homophobic incident:

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

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