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Showing posts from 2006

Hello Folks! Season's Greetings!

An Eye for an Eye...leaves both blind

It is sad. Terrible. A supposedly western styled democracy that behaves like a third world tyrant. Attacking a defenseless nation and reducing it to rubble. Having at its disposal one of the word's finest and most renowned secret service, some of the world’s best military observation satellites capable of spotting an object smaller than a meter right from space - and yet failing to distinguish between a defense post and a 14-storey apartment building, between an enemy gathering and a 40-year old United Nations landmark building, between Kalashnikov branding gangs and white flagged feeing vehicles...

I am angry as I do not expect that a nation of such brave and highly educated people, that have contributed to our civilization two main religions - leaving deep mark in our vision of life, the arts and culture - can be directed by such a weak government. A weak prime minister so much determined to live up to the image of his predecessor that has become blinded by his ambition to establ…

Abortion. Bitter Pill to Swallow as Malta slowly walks out of its Medieval Cavern...

It is sad that Malta, a supposedly Christian haven is so stubborn at accepting that democracy means pluralism of ideas, opinion and, yes, even of religious believes.

In other European countries pluralism of religions means also divergence in what one may define as 'conscience' and what dictates one's dogmas, the 'do's' and 'don'ts' in life.

If a Maltese lady walks in a Teheran avenue in a mini skirt, she may be arrested for improper attire. A Muslim lady with her zealous outfit covering her face and entire body may be looked upon in Malta with curiosity, if not ridicule.

It shows that when it comes to multicultural comprehension and respect, though us Maltese can rank high amongst those who are quick to patronize others on how they ought to behave, talk, protest, live their lives, respect their women, etc. we have still a long way to go to set our own record straight.

No wonder this week's announcement that a Spanish doctor will be offering '…

Catholic Revival?

PRAISING A CATHOLIC DICTATOR. Was he what Europe Needs today?
General Franco: Catholic conqueror of communism

It's not often you hear a paean of praise to the Spanish fascist dictator General Franco these days. Even Catholic Church in Malta is said to have considered him a real hero as fighter of Communism, and it was not alone its support. One certainly doesn’t expect to hear such support in the European Parliament.

So members were shocked when Polish MEP Maciej Giertych got to his feet. He was speaking in one of those debates that seem rather pious and pointless, to mark the 70th anniversary of the beginning of the Spanish civil war - full of MEPs condemning a regime that is long dead and buried, already reviled by most.

Now Mr Giertych is not some marginal figure. He was a presidential candidate and his party is a coalition partner in the Polish government. His son doubles as deputy prime minister and education minister.

Franco guaranteed the maintenance of traditional values in…

Hey Guys and Dolls!

I thank all my readers, amongst them Uwe (from Germany), Keith, Josette(Gozo), Staphania, Anton, Daniela, Raymond, Fr. Ray, Katya, and the many anonymous others that occasionally drop me a comment on my blog here and there.

It's a weird period we are living through right now. Not bad, just a bit strange: Burning cars, disastrous euro concert results, barren political scenarios, lack of national role models, false anti-Da Vinci Code crusades, the absence of a real night life scenario...Well, the list is longer, but it's Sunday and I do not wish to bore you any further.

I came across this poem, written a year ago - that I felt like sharing with you. What is a poem worth if retained hidden saved as binary code (Bill Gate’s word doc)? Worst still, It was not even on 'my' pc, but saved on that of my brother's! Enjoy!

Ray

Feeling poetic. Though Christmas is far...

No! It's not a Clash of Civilizations. It's a clash of...

Iran clergy angry over women fans
By Frances Harrison
BBC correspondent in Tehran


I cannot fathom a comment in reaction to this article. Incredible. Women rights - as seen from a Westerners' stand-point are apparently being trampled upon...Iran appears to be a country of contrasts, modern 'technology-wise' but seemingly medieval in human-rights' terms...

I understand that technology - most prominently the nuclear one - is the main issue that gives the Iranian authorities the feeling of a 'modern’ state. On top of the fact they have all the catches of a modern, independent and proud state, namely a modern army, large air force and top notch scientific research facilities. Iran surely has clout politically. But what about its citizen’s freedom of expression? What about Iran's human rights record?

There is at 'prima face' a cultural wall that separates the West from Iran. But is it fair to say there is incompatibility between the way these two people see l…

'Malta Democratic' my foot!

'Malta, Germany, Austria and other nations opposed to EU funding of human embryonic stem cell research proposed an EU funding ban last month in Brussels at a meeting of the EU’s 25 national science ministers, raising concerns that the minority group could force nations to remove this funding from the newest budget, even for scientists in countries where the research is legal.'

Malta vetoes stem cell funding
Source: The Malta Independent


...................................................

Malta (and when I say 'Malta' I mean the authorities) is against abortion and is also against divorce - even for couples married outside the Catholic Church.

I am writing on my behalf, and wish to associate myself with no political entity, but I am of the opinion that us Maltese should have a more open minded approach on such matters. Catholics are free to abide with their teachings. Fair enough. But the same as Islamic Shari-a Law should not be forced on non Muslims where Islam is a majo…

I need a drink.

Gadhafi to Take Part in Democracy Panel
By PETER JAMES SPIELMANN, Associated Press Writer
Yahoo! News

Is this a new form of democracy? a make believe situation where you make yourself believe your country is democratic and then pretend others to believe the same? Are we to believe Libya is a democratic country? Is Libya culturally and socio-economically ripe for democracy? Who is molding Libya's pathway to this political rethink? Is it Libyan popular demand, a dictators way of preserving his (and his family's) status quo? Or is this another scheme of the US agenda for sort-of pacifying the region? Ray de Bono


NEW YORK - In the latest step in Libya's international rehabilitation, longtime leader Moammar Gadhafi is taking on questions about democracy and academic freedom.

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A Columbia University conference billed as the first major meeting of American and Libyan academics and officials in 25 years climaxes Thursday with Gadhafi's participation via live video fee…

An Ever Growing North-South Divide

In Europe we have a growing population at our south, expanding by the hour in deprived socio-economic conditions, and in non-democratic political scenarios. Those who can within these populations seek greener pastures in Europe where they assume they can have a better life. And it is generally, but not always the case.

The US has similar issues at its southern borders with Mexico. Millions of Mexicans and Latin Americans live legally or not in the USA.

US cinema, with films such as The Day after Tomorrow' (2004), and more recently ‘Crash’ (2006), often portrays Latinos as occupying 'poor' jobs such as maids, plumbers, laborers, cleaners or taxi drivers. Such films portray a situation where Latinos have taken over roles traditionally occupied by Blacks. And numerically Latinos already outnumber blacks in the United States. Stories of abuse and political bias against Latinos are rife.

Stories of corruption, poltical unrest and poverty from most Latin American countries are …

"Ejja Nisimghu Qampiena Ohra..." (...Let us hear both sides of the story...)

by Ray de Bono

When debating Arabs in Europe we often get just one side of the argument on regional press and media. The recent cartoon saga has added negative impetus to the rapidly falling avalanche of 'wrong assumptions' and 'negative stereotyped images' forming the concept of 'who the Arabs are', 'what they believe and not' and 'what they are up to'...etc.


For fairness sake, and in respect to Freedom of Expression, I decided to search for writings by Middle Eastern or Arabic professionals. I wanted to read alternative views...

I wanted to see what’s on the other side of the wall. Not just peep through it, but jump and walk to our fellows in North Africa...Reading their opinion columns and analysing their thoughts on the topic.

What I came across was both surprising and sometimes shocking: Muslims in Europe do not feel welcomed. Places like Denmark, France and the United Kingdom have become hot beds breading anti-Arab feelings that existed long…

Heard sad news from Spain today...

by Ray de Bono

Catalonia is seeking separation from the rest of Spain. Full Separation. It wants Catalan (spoken by over 6 million people) to be its official language.

I am not sad seeing Catalonia taking control of its own region, as this its right, but I am concerned about the breakdown, fracturing of Spain. I know Yugoslavia historically differs, but the same fracturing is likely to mirror itself in the Iberian Peninsula. The Balkan states had bitter differences in terms of ethnicity and language, but how will the Spanish other regions take Catalonia’s sense of independence?

The level of autonomy granted to each region in Spain is far from uniform. Catalonia, the Basque Country and Galicia have special status with their own language and other rights. Andalusia, Navarre, Valencia and the Canaries in turn have more extensive powers than some other regions. Asturias and Aragon have taken steps to consolidate language rights. It is a complex and evolving picture.

As emotions run high in M…

Ok People. Should we burn the magazines which printed these cartoons!

I have had enough! This was a phrase I uttered all week by many reasonable people in the media. OK. They came to Europe leaving their ravished towns and cities in the Middle East and North Africa. They came here to work. They have been welcomed. But now, for decency's sake, they have no right to break into our basic rights, limiting our freedom of expression. Let alone having fuelled the creation of fear and paranoia in many of our cities to levels seldom seen before in recent history. We are today subjected to go through quasi-full body searches prior boarding any plane for fear that some zealous believer might feel called to blow all up to pieces for whichever cause. We are afraid to board busses, trains and now even to speak up, to express ourselves... Remember Van Gogh the Dutch Film maker? Now it’s the Danish cartoonists' time to be punished for touching the Holy Grail, the sancti sanctorum, crossing the dreaded red line of one's expressions rights in Europe.

If they c…

Believe in Jesus?

Imagine this Happening in Malta? No Comment...

Priest told to prove Jesus lived

Father Righi says it is not his fault if the atheist cannot see the light
An Italian court is to decide whether a priest should be called to face questioning over whether or not Jesus Christ actually existed.
A court in the town of Viterbo, north of Rome, is considering a case brought by Luigi Cascioli, a devoted atheist.

Mr Cascioli sued Father Righi in 2002 after the priest attacked him in print for casting doubt over the legitimacy of the Christian gospels.

The atheist contends that Christianity relies on purely anecdotal evidence.

Lawyers for the priest and Mr Cascioli appeared before the judge on Friday to learn whether or not the case should be thrown out, the AP news agency reported.

"The point is not to establish whether Jesus existed or not, but if there is a question of possible fraud," Mr Cascioli's lawyer, Mauro Fonzo, told reporters.

Mr Cascioli, 76, was once a trainee priest, bu…

Hijack of AIR MALTA flight to Germany

Many would have forgotten about this story, but the man who shot the pope (Ali Agca) is today a free man...and has just been reported 'missing' in Turkey (today: 14.01.06)...what a coincidence.... Ray de Bono, Dmaxmalta



Hijack of Maltese airliner to Germany ends safely...

Terrorists demanded freedom for Turk who shot pope
June 9, 1997

Read on...

COLOGNE, Germany (CNN) -- The hijack of an Air Malta airliner ended peacefully on Monday when two men demanding freedom for the man who shot Pope John Paul II in 1981 gave themselves up at the airport in Cologne, Germany.

The Boeing 737, originally bound for Istanbul, Turkey, had 90 people aboard. None of the hostages was harmed, police said.


The hijackers had said they had a bomb and demanded the release of Turkish gunman Mehmet Ali Agca, who is serving a life sentence in Italy after trying to assassinate Pope John Paul II in 1981.

Three hours after landing, the men left the plane with their hands in the air, police spokesman Werner Schmid…

From Patriotism to Common Sense

No Comment...

The fall and fall of English in Malta
by Lino Bugeja
The Times of Malta of Thursday, January 12, 2006


The fall and fall of English in Malta
Lino Bugeja

About a decade ago I made a solemn vow that I would never write again about the state of the English language in the Maltese islands... and from time to time I feel compelled to break this holy pledge and reiterate my views on the subject.

This change of heart has been prompted by the recent spate of letters in The Times which may somehow put the brakes on the teaching of English in order to reserve more time for the Maltese language. And this at a time when this universal language is growing bigger everyday thanks to the internet and the hard fact that the internet (of which a I am a novice) is overwhelmingly an English language medium, an estimated 85 per cent of its pages being in English. The language has conquered the net and presently e-English rules the waves.

Undoubtedly, this contribution will open a Pandora's box.…

To hell with Neutrality!

New Year, New Threats

IRAN SET TO RESUME NUCLEAR WORK


We all say that we love peace and refuse to accept war as sometimes an unavoidable solution to guarantee life on earth...But the events evolving in Iran are scary...And if the matter is not sorted out diplomatically (as we all hope it is) one can foresee a possible mayhem in this already turbulent region of the Middle East. Our sympathy goes to the millions of law abiding people that live in the area, but with the military intimidation and wild statements repeatedly being made by the Iranian President one is reasonably inclined to be concerned about what is happening next.

Many claim this Islamic Republic ought to be granted the 'right' to adopt nuclear power for peaceful purposes...Others insist Iran cannot be trusted in view of its historic links to terrorists...

We should keep our fingers crossed and as we worry about the infiltration of Avian Flu in Europe, the rising cost of oil and the growing tide of illegal migrants from Africa we ponder a …