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MALTATODAY 5 December 2021

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maltatoday | SUNDAY • 5 DECEMBER 2021 COMMENT What are we skinning? The outcry that erupted after a Helena Dalli- penned EU Commission document on language guidelines stoked the ire of right-wing zealots across the continent. Why are we skinning it, again? Because it's an ideal illustration of just how snowflakey the anti- snowflakes really are. How do you mean? Well, after the Italian media 'scooped' the document in question – which is merely intended as a guideline among officials to help them be generally nicer and more inclusive during meetings and EU-based workshops and the like – the knee- jerk perception became that this is all about stoking a 'war on Christmas' and eradicating Western civilisation as we know it. That escalated quickly. It didn't even escalate. That's the worrying part. But surely something in the document itself must have been a legitimate cause for concern? Do you honestly believe that the majority of people who got hot and bothered over the implications of the document actually read it? So you're saying that a social media culture war stoked by far-right politicians and their acolytes was based on the flimsiest of evidence? Shocking stuff, I know. Okay, so what is it that really got people's hackles up? Well, there's the suggestion that EU delegates refrain from using 'Christmas' as a blanket term to describe the extended December revels, and opt for the more generic 'holidays' instead. Yeah but that trope's been a bit of a 'red scare' punchline among the right-wingers for a while? Is that really it? No, it gets better (and by better I mean worse): the hoarde also hilariously misunderstood another potentially eye-popping missive in the document. Which is? The suggestion that delegates and officials refrain from using traditional Western- sounding names like 'Maria' or 'John' whenever examples of hypothetical people need to be employed – say to illustrate an example during a training exercise. You could opt for any number of multicultural names instead, to balance it out a bit. What was the take-away there, then? That the EU will forever ban the name Maria from ever being given and used, ever. The galaxy-brained reactionaries have truly come out in full force, I see. For satrists like us, Christmas appears to have indeed come early. Strange how someone belonging to the hegemonic culture of the continent feels so threatened by even the slightest reminder that their traditions may not be the be-all and end-all… There's a lot to unpack there, but it's largely depressing. Merry Christmas indeed! Do say: "While a degree of wilful manipulation of such reports from a power-hungry right-wing elite is to be expected, it nonetheless remains depressing how any move which suggests tolerance and compassion over an adherence to a monochromatic status quo is prone to be torn to shreds the second it dares rear its head above water." Don't say: "As a pagan, I've been butthurt over 'Christmas' usurping Saturnalia for centuries. Dalli missed a trick once again, and she sure won't be getting MY vote." 'Immigration cannot be a weapon' ROBERTA METSOLA PGS 8 & 9 The Skinny Malta, shrunk down JOSANNE CASSAR Let's remove the drama and mystery surrounding the election date PAGE 6 MICHAEL FALZON Speaker of the Speaker PAGE 7 No 116 – The One Where Helena Dalli Killed Christmas SAVIOUR BALZAN Happy holidays and no kissing under the mistletoe PAGE 5 EDITORIAL The 'right to forget' must be balanced with the 'right to know' PAGE 2 Immigration is actually being used as a weapon against the EU. And our response to this threat has to be crystal-clear: we cannot allow dictators to drive a wedge between us, in the way we react

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