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MALTATODAY 19 February 2023

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maltatoday | SUNDAY • 19 FEBRUARY 2023 COMMENT Migration: walls are not Christian DANIEL DESIRA PAGE 11 The Skinny Malta, shrunk down MICHAEL FALZON The PN's angst PAGE 7 SAVIOUR BALZAN They want to pass 'go' and collect €100 million PAGE 5 EDITORIAL SLAPP threatens democracy, not just journalism PAGE 2 JOSANNE CASSAR Coming here as a Third Country National? Just don't bother PAGE 6 Saving lives is not a crime and should in no way be equated to human trafficking. Rather than continuing with policy, existing charges for these acts, such as with the case of the El Hiblu three, should be dropped What are we skinning? Maria Schembri Grima resigning as chairperson of the Building and Construction Authority in the wake of an incident involving a dangerous dem- olition in B'kara... for a site in which she served as architect. Why are we skinning it? Be- cause in a lot of ways, it's got all the right ingredients for that home-brewed Maltese stew: conflict of interest, the unstoppable, inscrutable and ever-rapacious construction lobby, and a government that only acts to swerve away from the economic status quo when the media coverage grows just a *tad* too embar- rassing. Joseph Portelli is wedged in there somewhere too. Oh yeah, he owns the company that's in charge of the fateful building site in question. Forget about the Mary Spiteri musical, this is the true an- them of our times. A fully im- mersive theatrical production that encompasses the Maltese forma mentis in a way that no anthem ever could. But hey, at least nobody got hurt, right? Well, the BCA was actually set up after people DID get hurt as a result of con- struction site mishaps. One of them even died... So whose idea was it to let its chair continue to serve as an architect? I can't be sure... Somebody should have had the decency to inform them and air this out... The media did. Time and time again. But that's the media. A neg- ativity machine, if there ever was one. Yes, the new Mal- tese status quo runs on the pixie dust of positivity, and anything which dares contra- dict it is deemed heretical and snuffed out. What will happen if we just stop building for a little bit? Apparently, a dystopian de- sert in which everyone is deathly poor and we cannot afford anything, least of all property. But do YOU know someone under 40 who is ready to buy even a flat without the help of a partner or their family? Dude, the Sci-Fi/Fantasy sec- tion of the bookshop is right there. Think you'll find the volume you're looking for be- tween 'Roadside Picnic' and 'High Rise'. Do say: "Conflicts of interest may feel like an inevitable consequence of small-island, Southern European life. But cases like this explicitly show why this shouldn't be some- thing we take for granted." Don't say: "First you complain about destruction, now you complain about demolition. It's precisely this kind of un- realistic extremism that holds you social justice warriors back." No. 179 - Multi-Tasking for Destruction

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