A Tale of Two Religions

A Tale of Two Religions

The Maltese pride themselves on being Christian Catholics, and at the same time, very nice and welcoming people. It’s almost as though we have a booklet entitled ‘Being Maltese’ with all the cultural laws we need to follow on a day-by-day basis. Unfortunately, it also seems as though the fine print in this booklet says “except with Muslims”.

Every time people of the Islamic faith group up and pray somewhere in public, it will surely end up on the media – followed by comments of “I’m not racist but…” where the person would then list all the non-sensical reasons why Muslims shouldn’t be allowed to pray in public. Recently, the Muslim community has been praying in front of the church in Imsida. And instead of being glad that at least some prayer is going on there, people started complaining that it was disrespectful. Because a Muslim praying anywhere but in a Mosque is blasphemous to the all-mighty, true, Christian god. But you know – at least from this uprising the Muslim community may finally get a place it can pray in that can withstand the growing needs of that community.

 

 

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Look at how threatening they are! Image courtesy of tvm.com.mt

 

But to make things worse, the self-named Maltese Patriots (Ghaqda Patrijotti Maltin), started handing out ham sandwiches during a protest they held at the very site which was being used by Muslims to pray (pictured above). According to one member of the group, some Muslim parents were complaining in a particular school about Christian children being given ham sandwiches for lunch. This turned out to be a complete lie, with the Principle of that school and various Muslim parents setting the record straight.

So not only did the group lie about an entire community, as a why of riling up the Maltese (because let’s face it, the only way to really wake up this nation is to somehow awaken their “but not my children” side), but they also completely disrespected the beliefs held by this community. It’s like it’s Ash Wednesday or Good Friday and someone is throwing meat and chocolate in your face.

Though, most of the time, that wouldn’t affect you. But it would affect someone who actually takes their religion seriously.

Is journalism still ethical?

Is journalism still ethical?

There are so many great things about journalism. It strives to be investigative, and factual. To deliver news swiftly and accurately (hopefully) to the readers. But somewhere along the way we lost this amazing thing. Journalism became a competition of who can create the flashiest headline – which most of the time would just be clickbait. The information is frequently inaccurate and misinformed. Like when according to a particular local newspaper, which was obviously not up with the times, Kurt Cobain loved the new Star Wars Movie. Kurt-dead-for-years-Cobain.

Last year, a three-year-old Syrian child died at sea. His lifeless body, washed on the shore, became an image that changed the way we discussed the migration crisis. That’s great, right? Something good came out of his death. Well, he wasn’t the first child to die on those kinds of journeys, and he won’t be the last, discussion or no discussion. The problem is that his body was used for propaganda, not respect.

When there was that mass shooting at a Kenyan University, no one thought to blur out the warzone-like images that were captured. When did we forget that they are human too? That they have families, who really did not need to see those images? And when did we become so desensitized towards these horrors?

Yesterday, a bomb exploded inside a car, engulfing it and the driver in flames. The photo which was uploaded on a local news site did not blur out the numberplate. The daughter of the owner of that car saw the photo, recognized the numberplate, and was convinced that her father had died engulfed in flames. It turned out that her father hadn’t been the one driving, but it doesn’t eliminate the fact that that photo was still uploaded containing identifying factors – before the police could identify the victim to notify the family. In the rush to be the first to release such dramatic news, on an island which is generally quite uneventful, those journalists forgot that the person inside that car has loved ones, and they deserved to be told the news by the appropriate authorities in a gentle manner.

 

There may not be any clear laws in Malta to prevent these situations, but it should just be common sense. Or at least, common courtesy to respect each other – regardless if that other person is living or dead.

The Social Work Profession Act

The Social Work Profession Act

At some point in the past few months, the Government of Malta decided to amend the Social Work Profession Act. It was slightly outdated so hoorah! Unfortunately, the process itself wasn’t that…well…great.

As with any decision to change a law, people are going to complain. It’s difficult to appease everyone. But what we saw in the past few days was an uprising by local NGOs and professionals. Why? Because the proposed changes were bordering on the ridiculous.

First off, the definition of who a social worker is was going to be changed. Unfortunately, the proposed amendment was not the international definition – instead it was some made up definition which was not even discussed with the Maltese Association of Social Workers. You know, the actual organization which knows what the role is about. The good news is that the Government has agreed to change the definition. Though one has to wonder why it wasn’t done properly in the first place, especially when considering that other professionals do have their international definition in their legislation.

The second very big change was that all newly graduated social workers would have to work for two years with a state agency before they could apply for their warrant. This would ruin NGOs in the long run because they would end up with a shortage of social workers. And let’s face it, after two years within an agency, where you would have got used to the system, you’re not likely to leave that agency unless you’re going to continue studying for a Masters. Definitely not to go work at an NGO – which incidentally, would give you a lower wage, and less concrete hours.

Two points I’d like to make here:

  1. By working within an NGO, social workers are still serving the state. NGOs do the work that the government cannot afford to. Imagine if all the abuse rehab centres had to be taken care of by the government? And all children’s homes? And let’s not mention the fact that the state doesn’t actually have an agency which deals with LGBTI+ issues.
  2. When taking into consideration the lower wage, and less concrete hours when one works within an NGO – it begs the question why graduates are still preferring to work in NGOs instead of the state. Maybe the state should be reflecting on this aspect first before trying to force new social workers to work for them.

Thankfully, the Minister has said (after many complaints) that this clause will be stricken from the amendments – once again this should have been discussed first and foremost with the department of social wellbeing at the University, with the students themselves and with the association of social workers.

On a brighter note, some of the proposed amendments are needed, so I’m glad that the Act is being updated. I just wish the process had been more transparent and inclusive…before the Bill passed through its second reading.

 

 

Malta Eurovision Song Contest 2016

One of the stereotypes I enjoy about homosexuals is their love of contests like the Eurovision. I must say, this stereotype is mostly correct…at least it is on our little island. Some people call Christmas time the gayest time of the year…well they’re wrong… the Eurovision in May and, before that, the Malta Song in January are the gayest time of the year. And I’m probably the gayest of them all.

I’ve been a Eurovision addict since 2004, when the “wild” Ruslana won the Eurovision for Ukraine. Imagine my annoyance a couple years

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Xena Warrior Princess anyone?

later when I realised that in 2003, T.A.T.U had performed in the Eurovision…and I had missed it!

 

So anyway, as a way to break from the Carnival spirit which is sure to come, I will be reviewing the Maltese contestants for the Eurovision – so if you like trashy commentary, occasional fangirling, and having a gay ol’ time, then stay tuned!

 

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Nope still not over them.

 

 

Imagine Me & You (2006)

When thinking of cute lesbian romcoms, you cannot not include Imagine Me & You – a lighthearted story which focuses on Rachel (Piper Perabo), who on her wedding day meets Luce ( Lena Headey Cersei), the florist.

 

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Cause lesbians know what’s needed on a night out. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Despite only speaking for a few minutes, the sexual tension between the two is palpable. Of course, since this movie is a) a romcom, and b) released ten years ago, the sexual tension comes off as sweet interest in one another. Nevertheless, this movie will not disappoint the rainbow-loving-homosexual in you.

Also, if you’re a closeted shipper/fangirl you really cannot miss out on this movie. There are so many scenes to fawn over that your fanfiction and/or fan video-making-skills will be busy for weeks to come.

The Price of Salt – Patricia Highsmith (1952)

I also reviewed ‘Carol’, the movie which is based on this book…to access it just click here!

 

I was very excited to read this book, and I must say, I was not disappointed.

Therese is a budding set-designer, trying desperately to make her break in the field. She works as a salesgirl in a toy shop for the Christmas period, and even though she has just started her job she hates it. She is dating Richard, who is terribly in love with her. But she shows no interest in marrying him, or even breaking up with him. You could say she’s a very passive character…in the beginning.

 

At the toy store she meets the blonde Carol Aird, a mysterious woman who instantly grabs our protagonist’s attention. We do not learn much about Carol in the book but this only serves to increase her desirability.

 

The novel itself focuses on Therese’s point of view, which is very interesting to see her sheer obsession with Carol develop – which in turn pushes towards her own emotional maturity. Ms. Highsmith had even declared that Therese is based on herself, so any fans of this author should definitely find this novel of interest.

 

This book is a story of love, of obsession, of non-verbalised desire. Something most can understand through experience. It’s not surprising, then, that this novel quickly became a cult classic following it’s publication in 1952.

 

 

Finn’s Girl (2007)

URGH. Can I just say that I ADORE THIS MOVIE?

So the story is about Finn (duh) who is a fertility specialist at the local abortion clinic, which used to be run by her wife Nancy, who unfortunately died a year prior due to breast cancer. Finn decided to take on the clinic herself, despite the ever increasingly violent death threats by crazy religious fanatics pro-life supporters. So while Finn is trying to stay alive while still doing her work, her eleven-year-old daughter Zelly is getting into quite a bit of trouble.

The story itself has many layers, which I love. There’s the story of Finn trying to move on from her lover’s death through a casual rebound, which naturally Zelly is not happy with. There’s the story of Zelly, who lost her mother and feels neglected by her workaholic stepmother. Then there’s also the story of the death threats and how Finn’s life is in danger, which helps her realise what is really important in her life.

This movie is simply fantastic. The music is great, the storylines are well paced and it’s an enjoyable watch for both people who just want to relax, as well as those who want a story with substance. My one criticism is that there is a lot of emphasis on genetics. I won’t spoil anything, but Zelly treats Finn differently and says she’s not her ‘mother’, even though Finn raised her along with Nancy. Anyway, when you watch the movie hopefully  you’ll understand what I mean