Malta Diary Longing to return to as we were – or are we better off as we are – but MINUS corona scourge?
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Let me take you back a year ago to a Friday, not a particular Friday but any Friday.
It is early morning and thousands spring or crawl out of bed. Sleepy children are unceremoniously awoken. All have a quick breakfast – hubby dashes out because he is already late for work, mum bundles the kids into her car and drives round to dump them on mum or a childcare centre because – gosh – she is late too. Grandma will look after the kids for the rest of the day, take them to school and collect them and deal with their woes.
The streets are jammed with traffic, vehicles honking, erratic driving, jumping red lights, ignoring zebra crossings and a mucky haze is in the air heavily polluted by petrol and diesel fumes. Smoked the last fag in the packet or crunched the last crisp in the bag – dump the packet and bag into the road and then flick out the fag dog end. After all, there are people paid to clean up so, why worry ….
The day drags by but with the weekend coming up there is the time to look forward to. One family has a weekend break booked in neighbouring Gozo; another family has a picnic by the sea planned for Sunday; youths frantically ring each other and make weekend appointments to go out on the razzle and fall about in binge drinking. After all, that’s what the weekend is for.
Mothers collect their kids to take home. No time to do any cooking – it has been a hard day – so deep freeze chips, deep frozen fish and deep frozen vegetables brought out of the freezer and shoved into the micro.
It’s now Friday evening and again the streets are jammed with traffic as thousands head for the entertainment zones, park erratically, stereos blaring with reverberating boom-booms or obnoxiously annoying rap “music” – well they call it music.
Bouncers stand guard, Police patrol, drugs flow, two groups come to blows in an alley, a girl is bundled into a car and raped and in a drunken rage a man beats up his partner because she looked at another man.
The noise is deafening as seaside discos keep nearby residents awake into the early hours of the morning. Rubbish is dumped everywhere and if there is no toilet nearby, no worries, pee or vomit outside. After all, life has to be enjoyed to the full.
People begin to drift home, drunk-driving galore. Four cars are involved in a horrendous pile-up; two teenagers have died and another two are in danger of dying. In a drunken stupor a tourist leaned over the hotel balcony wall and fell four storeys, hitting the ground with a thump and sudden death. Drunks roam the streets, singing, screaming, coming to blows and mouthing obscenities.
After all, life has to be enjoyed to the full!
Yet, the weekend is still to come. Thousands flock to the seaside and hundreds of kilos of plastic will be dumped into the sea to continue killing all the life in it. Restaurants and bars are jammed, aircraft criss-cross the sky and thousands are out and about in boats on the water, pumping fuel and plastic into the sea. Cruise liners are in line to enter Malta’s Grand Harbour and disembark hordes of tourists.
That was a Friday and a weekend a year ago.
Friday and the weekend this week?
The streets are deserted, traffic is minimal and air pollution has decreased dramatically. Hotels, bars and restaurants are all closed; most retail outlets are closed; schools are closed and children can sleep longer; most mums and dads are at home, proper meals are being cooked, parents have time to play with their children and read books to them.
The beaches are deserted and the sea spared tons of plastic dumping.
Silence reigns everywhere, no music, no drunken chants, no deafening aircraft, no screeching traffic, no honking horns – just peace and quiet.
Politicians speak of “returning to normal” at some time in the future – but when? Above all, are we and the world better off as we are, MINUS THE CORONAVIRUS and not as we were? What exactly do they mean by “normal”?
Indeed, money is the root of all evil. As we were, Malta’s and many world economies were booming; as we are, economies are hurtling into bankruptcy.
Humanity has fashioned its own tomb.
”Now you have rented it, put up with it”
If you have brought it on yourself, handle it because it was your choice.