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MALTATODAY 6 March 2022

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maltatoday | SUNDAY • 6 MARCH 2022 COMMENT What are we skinning? Russia's sudden re-emergence into the panicked global con- versation (to put it mildly...) Why are we skinning it? This question is sometimes utterly redundant. Now, it is unutter- ably so. But I've uttered it. Yes, and I was being somewhat unduly harsh with you. The nerves come with the territory, I'm sure you'll understand. Yes. I also understand 'terri- tory' to be the primary trigger – in all senses of the word – of the situation we're currently facing. As is the case with nearly every war, alas. Do you think local politicians are annoyed that this has stolen some of the thunder from the election campaign? Judging by a general lack of rhetorical vigour on display, I think they may just be relieved. Still, a show of dick-swinging pomposity is the last thing we need locally, right now... Between Abela's robotic par- roting of what he assumes his (admittedly still large) electoral portion wants to hear and Bernard Grech's bumbling recitation of whatever Peregin is feeding him, I'd say there was never any real danger of that to begin with. But without such a distraction, I'm lost in a puddle of debilitating anxie- ty. What shall I do? Take a leaf from my book... the book I've been keeping in storage in case '80s nostalgia stretches beyond ineffectual Stranger Things vibes and plunges into cold war temperatures. And what book would that be? It's more than a book, actually. (Though I suppose the literary theorists among us would still potentially refer to it as a 'text'). Out with it. Alright, fine. I'll refer you to the masterpiece of pugilistic cinema and diploma- cy: Rocky IV. The one with Dolph Lundgren as a pummelling stand-in for the latter-day Soviet Union. Yes, and the one in which he is literally beaten into embracing American individualism, and is subsequently sanctified by our American hero, who proclaims that "We can all change!" Dude, spoilers. If only I had spoilers for the fully immersive, currently ongoing real-life reboot. Do say: "Between legitimate fears of inter-continental destabilisation, a barrage of anxiety-inducing informa- tion, outright misinfor- mation and factoids emerging soiled by the fog of war, conspiracy theo- ries proliferating from either side of the political divide... it's look- ing like the war has already been funnelled into our brains. 'Stay safe' sud- denly has an even keen- er edge than the one previously sharpened by the pandemic..." Don't say: "It's not right to be potentially deprived of our main sources of vodka when we all clearly need it the most. The 'clown' who will soon be king PAGE 16 The Skinny Malta, shrunk down MICHAEL FALZON The other adversary PAGE 7 No 129 – Chilly East Wind Blowing JOSANNE CASSAR Tone deaf, out of touch and always a step too late PAGE 6 EDITORIAL 'The show must go on' within limits PAGE 2 SAVIOUR BALZAN Electioneering while war is going on? Yawn... PAGE 5 While Ukraine woke up to a strong Russian advance, Zelenskyy's actions soon led to total mobilisation: both civilian and military

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