Saturday, 26 February 2011

Times: ‘Church cannot interfere in civil aspect of marriage’, 25th February 2011

Opposition spokesman on justice José Herrera told Parliament on Wednesday that while the Church had every right to pronounce itself on the sacramental aspect of marriage, it could not interfere in its civil aspect. One needed to affirm the principle that there was a separation between Church and State and therefore, the issue must be tackled from the juridical aspect.

Speaking during the debate on the motion for holding a referendum on the introduction of divorce, Dr Herrera said that this was undoubtedly a historic moment. The Maltese were far more emancipated and mature now more than ever and believed in freedom of conscience.

He recounted the trepidation caused when the Nationalist administration of the 1960s was considering decriminalising homosexuality and the awe at the introduction of civil marriage by the Labour administration of the 1970s. What was obvious today was not so obvious in the past.

Dr Herrera deplored the fact that the country still had an agreement with the church with regard to annulments. Why was this possible when we believed that there ought to be a separation between the two entities? Did we really believe this?

He praised opposition MPs and government backbenchers who allowed for more legislative initiative to be taken, thus affirming Parliament’s sovereignty. Within limits, they were proactively contributing to society. Expressing his disagreement with Family Minister Dolores Cristina’s contention that there was no civil right to divorce but only a social right, Dr Herrera reminded the House that, the rescinding of any contract did not signify that upon signing of the contract the intention of the parties was not genuine.

Other forms of agreement were also broken. Why was this not possible when the intention was bona fide?

He said that being in favour of divorce did not mean that one was against marriage. Divorce remained an option and was not forced upon people. One had the duty to form a family. How could one do so if there was no compatibility? Why could the person not also have the right to perform this same duty in a different unity?

Malta was the only member of the Council of Europe not to have done so. The International Court of Human Rights in The Hague was a liberal one, albeit too liberal. Persons, as evidenced recently, could obtain the right to get married following an irreversible process of gender change through this court. One could not have a framework denying divorce.

Dr Herrera said morality and purely civil issues were being confounded. Malta didn’t differentiate between the church and the state. Spain and Italy were Catholic countries, but still they had divorce legislation. One needed to tackle the issue from a juridical aspect.

Nowadays it paid to have children out of wedlock, he said, and called on Minister Cristina to correct the situation. Today’s lifestyle was more tolerant, more consumerist. Traditional taboos have come to nothing and were practically non-existent. The reality was that the more freedom there was, the better it was. Living a lie for the sake of being seen by persons to be still united could not benefit anybody. In 2006 there were 184 marriages annulled through the civil court, 27 annulled through the church tribunal and five in Gozo. A year later, the cases increased.

Cases of separations were 700 in 2006 and 854 in 2010. There were 113 other cases where both parties remained in disagreement. The Family Court was being bombarded and this is evidence enough that this was exactly the right moment to discuss this issue.He expressed his disappointment with the seeming idea that divorce would lead to children suffering while cohabitation wouldn’t. Children were being used as pawns and used as threats for maintenance payments. He agreed that children were suffering. What was the difference between a divorced person and a separated one?

Annulment should not exist in a civil case. Stress caused by an annulment was worse. The year-long process was a cold one and the reasons given were very humiliating and personal, such as sexual and mental inadequacy. These should cease to exist as they caused a great deal of humiliation especially for children. In past times, annulment used to be private. Only those who really believed in the sacramental aspect of marriage should apply for an annulment.

The minister had said that in expressing her views she was not imposing them on others.

Dr Herrera said no one had the right to impose one’s views on the personal matters of an individual. Nobody had a right to impose religion or belief on others.

Parliament needed to be more tolerant and acknowledge it had no right to impose.
Concluding, Dr Herrera said his experience had confirmed there were areas where the state had no right to impose on the minority.

The debate continues

[Click on the hyperlink above to view the comments on the Times' website.]

Times: Same-sex unions
Wednesday, 23rd February 2011 by Christine Galea, Sliema

I am writing in response to the comments by Gabi Calleja (February 16), where she claims that in my article The Family in Europe Today (February 2) I made a number of assertions and claims, many of which were "dubious and unsubstantiated".

With reference to her first claim that there is "the rather generic reference to the decrease in the ability to reflect", I cannot deny that good education enables individuals to think critically and reflectively about their lived experiences, yet to a large extent, education is focused on simply getting students up-to-standard academically on the various aspects of the curriculum. I feel that there should be more tasks that encourage students to apply their newfound knowledge by thinking creatively and critically, hence providing them with opportunities for self-assessment and reflection.

Secondly, Ms Calleja questions whether I am implying that a "heterosexual married couple in (several countries) would consider their marital relationship of less worth, or love their spouse less because a same-sex couple next door could now get married?" She has interpreted my words beyond their meaning. I wrote: "The evolution of same-sex unions has dealt a blow to the family based on the conjugal bond" in the sense that it contributes to undermining marriage as an institution, and this is because same-sex marriage erodes the elements of the natural institution of marriage at its most basic level.

These basic elements purport that marriage is a union between a man and a woman who love and nurture one another for the purpose of mutual support and also for the procreation of children. Therefore, it follows that, at natural level, same-sex unions are not compatible with marriage.

In a similar vein, other elements common to natural marriage are unity, indissolubility and exclusiveness and these factors indicate that even divorce and adultery are not compatible with marriage in its natural form. With all due respect to Ms Calleja, it was never my intention to enter into a full-blown discussion on heterosexual vs same-sex marriage. Neither was I making disparaging references to same-sex marriages. This was not the aim of my article at all!

[Click on the hyperlink above to view the comments on the Times' website.]

Times: The causes and consequences of divorce: Church versus state (4)

Wednesday, 16th February 2011 by Gabi Calleja, coordinator, Malta Gay Rights Movement, Mosta

In her article The Family In Europe Today (February 2), Christine Galea makes a num-ber of assertions, many of which are dubious and unsubstantiated.

The first is the rather generic reference to the “decrease in the ability to reflect”.

Considering that the number of people who complete at least compulsory schooling has risen consistently with, in many European countries, over 75 per cent who continue to post-secondary and tertiary education, either our educational institutions are failing miserably or else Ms Galea does not in fact believe that a good education enables individuals to think critically and reflectively about their lived experiences.

There are any number of reasons why divorce is more likely in today’s world. These include, among others, more women aspiring to egalitarian relationships and careers as well as their ability to walk away from failed marriages and live their own lives or start up new relationships; a more diverse society with individuals understanding that there exist various family forms and a myriad ways of constructing relationships; a far longer life expectancy, which means the likelihood of relationships breaking down increases; and a loosening of the stranglehold Churches often held over societies and a weakening of the religious mores that often went unquestioned and uncontested.

Ms Galea posits the evolution of same-sex unions as a problem without stating in what manner marriage equality interferes in the marital bond of heterosexual couples. Is she implying that a heterosexual married couple in Spain, Portugal, Iceland, Belgium or Holland would consider their marital relationship of less worth, or love their spouse less, because a same-sex couple next door could now get married? What a cop out!

[Click on the hyperlink above to view the comments on the relevant website.]

Friday, 25 February 2011

Mużajk: Jibqa’ miexi bil-ħajja ‘normali’ u jkabbar il-problema…“Kissirt lil kulħadd għax m’aċċettajtx min jien!”

[Artiklu ppubblikat fil-magazine MUŻAJK li jitqassam b'xejn mal-gurnal 'It-Torċa'.]
20.2.2011 minn Natasha Turner

* L-ismijiet huma kollha fittizji

Charlo jaqsam magħna t-trawmiet li għadda minnhom għax ma setax juri lil ta’ madwaru li hu omosesswali.

Iżżewweġ ta’ 24 sena wara sitt snin għerusija. It-tfajla li kellu, li wara saret martu, kien iħobbha biss bħala ħabiba kbira għax qatt ma seta’ jħoss ġibdiet sesswali jew xi tip ta’ passjoni lejha. Minkejja dan, għalih kienet l-unika mara li kien iħossu komdu magħha. Aħna u nitkellmu jien u hu, bid-dmugħ f’għajnejh stqarr, li qatt ma kellu f’moħħu li ried b’xi mod jużaha jew iweġġagħha, u l-akbar żball li għamel f’ħajtu kien li aċċetta l-identità tiegħu tard wisq, għax id-danni kienu diġà saru!

“Qatt ma sibt il-kuraġġ nammetti miegħi nnifsi jew mal-oħrajn”

‘’Minn meta kelli 15-il sena, bdejt ninduna li l-ġibda tiegħi kienet iktar lejn is-sess maskili. Kont ninkwieta u kont imħawwad ħafna. L-agħar mumenti kienu jiġuni qabel ma norqod, meta kont inkun waħdi u min jaf kemm kissirt moħħi ninkwieta kontx qed nimrad mentalment, jew kellix xi kastig minn Alla, jew kif kont smajt, kienx sempliċiment parti mill-proċess tal-iżvilupp. Ma stajt nitkellem ma’ ħadd. Għalkemm kieku kelli nafda lil xi ħadd kienet tkun ommi, il-ħsieb biss li ngħidilha x’kont inħoss kien ibeżżagħni għax ta’ spiss kont newhden waħdi: ‘Imma kieku kelli ngħidilha x’qed inħoss, kif se teħodha? Kif se tibda tħares lejja? X’se jinbidel?’

“Ħbieb kelli kemm ridt…”

“Qatt ma sibt il-kuraġġ li naffaċċjaha, la lilha u lanqas lil ħadd. Il-ħbieb kont naħseb li ma kinux se jifhmuni u jispiċċaw iwarrbuni. Ħbieb dejjem kelli kemm ridt u dejjem ħarsu lejja bħala ‘normali’, pjuttost kienu jammirawni kemm fil-mod kif nidher, nilbes u kif naġixxi, tant li kienu jfittxuni anke għal xi parir.
“Ma’ tfajliet ħriġt. Niftakar kont infittex dejjem il-perfezzjoni f’għajnejja. Għal sħabi, jien kont noħroġ mas-sbieħ biss, u jien kont inħossni tajjeb magħhom. Kont ukoll nurihom rispett kbir u nqatta’ bosta ħin magħhom. Kont inħobbhom, iżda qatt ma fittixthom jew ħarist lejhom b’mod sesswali. Kont inħossni differenti ħafna meta kont nisma’ lil sħabi jitkellmu dwar in-nisa. Jien qatt ma stajt naqsam dak l-entużjażmu u l-eċċitament li kienu jħossu huma għalkemm ippruvajt kemm-il darba nipprova nħossu jien ukoll. Minkejja dan, xorta bqajt niċħad il-veru ġibdiet li kelli u bqajt noħroġ mat-tfajliet biex inkun bħal sħabi u ma ninkwetax lil ommi!”

“Ħassejtni li kont twelidt mill-ġdid”

Ta’ 18-il sena, Charlo ltaqa’ ma’ Fiona, tfajla gustuża ġejja minn familja sew. Kemm hi u kemm familtha kienu jadurawh u billi kien iħossu komdu u maħbub ħafna magħhom iddeċieda li d-destin tiegħu kien ma’ din il-familja. Ommu kienet tħobbha ħafna tant li kienet tistmaha qisha bintha, it-tifla li qatt ma kellha!
Għall-bidu kien kollox ward u żahar u biex ikun onest jammetti li Fiona rnexxielha tnessih u taljenah minn ħsibijiet li kienu jitturmentawh. Ħassu li kien twieled mill-ġdid. Kienu jqattgħu ħafna ħin ma’ tad-dar. Tant sab rispett li l-kunflitti interni li kellu għal snin twal, bdew itaffu għax beda jaċċerta ruħu li l-ġibda sesswali li kellu għall-irġiel kienet biss fażi.’’
Sentejn wara li Charlo u Fiona żżewġu, Charlo jirrakkonta li ltaqa’ ma’ persuna miżżewġa li kellha l-istess destin tiegħu. David kien ilu miżżewweġ biss sena u stqarr ma’ Charlo li żżewweġ biss biex ma jweġġax lil tal-familja tiegħu u biex ma jkollux inkwiet fuq il-post tax-xogħol. Dawn it-tnejn saru ħbieb kbar u bdew jiftħu qalbhom ma’ xulxin. U minn hemm, nibtet ukoll ġibda kbira bejniethom u bdew jiltaqgħu ma’ kull ċans li kienu jsibu. Ġara iżda li l-ġibda tant kienet kibret li bdew iħossuhom li ma setgħux joqogħdu mingħajr xulxin.

Laqqajna n-nisa biex inkunu aktar flimkien

‘’L-unika possibiltà li kellna biex inkunu nistgħu nqattgħu aktar ħin flimkien mingħajr ma noqogħdu nivvintaw skużi jew intriċċi żejda kien li nlaqqgħu n-nisa tagħna flimkien u dawn fi żmien qasir saru ħbieb kbar. B’hekk kien sar ħafna aktar faċli għalina li niltaqgħu u nkunu flimkien.
“Konna mmorru kullimkien flimkien u ta’ kull sena konna anke nsiefru flimkien. Ikolli nammetti li fl-aħħar kont qed ngħix kuntent u kont qed inħoss emozzjonijiet li qatt ma ħassejthom qabel. In-nisa tagħna kienu kuntenti ħafna wkoll bil-kumpanija ta’ xulxin u qatt ma ssuspettaw f’xejn, anzi nista’ ngħid li kemm-il darba marti qaltli li mnalla ltqajna magħhom għax konna żewġ koppji li naqblu ħafna. U la kont naraha kuntenta u jien kont kuntent ħafna aktar minnha, lanqas qatt ma ħassejtni ħażin li qed ngħix żewġ identitajiet differenti.’’

“Ikkonvinċejt lili nnifsi li qed ngħix gidba għall-bżonn!”

Din l-affari damet sejra għal ħames snin sħaħ. Forsi ħafna jistgħu jgħidu li Charlo għex f’ħajja ta’ gidba sħiħa u li l-akbar giddieb kien miegħu nnifsu, imma hu jgħid li ħadd ma jaf kemm għex mumenti ta’ infern, speċjalment meta l-mara kienet tfittxu għall-mumenti intimi u biex naqdi l-bżonnijiet emozzjonali u sesswali tagħha kien jagħmel sforz kbir miegħu nnifsu biex ma jweġġagħhiex. Qatt ma ried iweġġagħha u għalhekk, għalkemm kien isib l-imħabba vera tiegħu, ma setax jgħidilha l-verità. Ikkonvinċa lilu nnifsu li kien qed jgħix gidba għall-bżonn!

Iż-żejt jitla’ f’wiċċ l-ilma

“Il-verita kollha ħarġet meta darba marti daħlet fil-kamra tas-sodda u sabet lili u lil David flimkien. Kien żmien il-Milied u waqt li huma kienu fil-kċina, qegħdin jippreparaw xi ħelu tal-Milied, aħna tlajna fuq bl-iskuża li ridt nistaqsi lil David dwar xi ħwejjeġ li kont xtrajt. Kien l-ikreh mument ta’ ħajti. Fiona qabdet twerżaq u tibki u telgħet ukoll mart David.
“Ippruvajna nfehmuhom imma tant kienu fi stat ħażin li t-tnejn qabdu jagħtuna u marti saħansitra bdiet twaddabli l-affarijiet, waqt li twerżaq u tibki biex nitilqu t-tnejn ’il barra. Ippruvajna nikkalmaw l-affarijiet imma kien kollu għalxejn u għalhekk jien u David tlaqna ‘l barra u niftakar li morna f’post għall-kwiet ħdejn il-baħar biex nippruvaw insibu soluzzjoni u naraw x’se nagħmlu b’ħajjitna imma kull m’għamilna dakinhar kien li bkejna mgħannqin ma’ xulxin, għax it-tnejn li aħna qatt m’għaddielna minn moħħna li nweġġgħu n-nisa tagħna.”
Ġara li wara xi siegħa li kienu ilhom hemm, Charlo sema’ l-mobile idoqq u kienet ommu. Jirrakkonta li lanqas felaħ iweġibha għax basar li saret taf. Hawnhekk kien iddeċieda li wasal il-mument li jaffaċċja lil ommu u jgħidilha l-verità kollha. David qabel miegħu u ddeċieda li jagħmel l-istess ħaġa wkoll. Telqu minn fejn kienu, Charlo wassal lil David għand ommu u hu mar għand ommu.
“Lanqas flaħt indawwar iċ-ċavetta fil-bieb. Ħassejtni imbarazzanti ħafna, kważi iktar minn kif sabitni marti meta kont fis-sodda ma’ David. Lil ommi ma kienx jixirqilha hekk. Dak il-ħin ħassejtni qisni xi skerz tan-natura u l-aktar raġel midneb f’din id-dinja għax kont ukoll weġġajt lil ommi ; mara li rabbietni waħedha għax missieri kien telaq meta kelli madwar tliet snin u wara dak kollu li kienet għamlet miegħi, jien kont qed inħallasha b’dan l-inkwiet kollu!”
Ommu ma setgħetx, jew aħjar, ma riditx tifhmu. Iktar bdiet tinkwieta u tħoss għal Fiona milli għalih. Ħassu waħdu u d-dinja kollha taqa’ fuqu. Mar lura d-dar u sab lil Fiona fis-sodda għadha qiegħda tibki u waqt li kienet qiegħda tibki, Charlo pprova jispjegalha kollox. Ovvjament, lanqas hi ma fehmitu u bdiet tgħajjru u tattakkah kemm kien kiefer u bla qalb biex tradiha b’dak il-mod. Dak il-ħin ħass li ma seta’ jagħmel xejn aktar ħlief jipprova għall-inqas jifhem lil kulħadd la ħadd ma beda jifhem lilu!


“Illum jien u David ngħixu l-Ingilterra. It-tnejn għandna xogħol tajjeb u t-tnejn kuntenti ħafna. Hawnhekk kulħadd jaf x’jien u kulħadd iħobbni talli jien. Fil-verità, huwa issa li qed inħoss li qed ngħix ta’ veru!
“Xtaqt naqsam l-esperjenza tiegħi mal-qarrejja tal-MUŻAJK għax naf kemm hemm Maltin bħali li qegħdin jgħixu l-istess sitwazzjoni li għixt jien.
“Ma nixtiqhomx jagħmlu l-istess żball bħalma għamilt jien għax jibqa’ toqol kbir fuq l-individwu meta jkun weġġa’ lil dak li ħabbu jew irrispettah. Għadni kemm sirt naf ukoll li wieħed mill-ħbieb li kelli l-iskola, li saħansitra kellu wkoll tarbija, għadu kif qal lil martu li hu omossesswali, issa li t-tarbija għandha madwar sena. Ovvjament, fejn jidħlu t-tfal u speċjalment f’pajjiżna, l-affari tkun ħafna aktar komplikata u ta’ uġigħ kbir.
“Naf li ħafna nies, speċjalment fis-soċjetà tagħna, ma jaċċettawx il-fatt li l-omosesswalità mhix għażla imma li hija parti min-natura tiegħek. Ħafna nies bħali ppruvaw jimxu kontra n-natura tagħhom imma n-natura dejjem hija aktar b’saħħitha minn dak li taċċetta jew ma taċċettax is-soċjetà.”
Min-naħa tiegħu, Charlo jiddispjaċih ħafna li weġġa’ lil martu u lil ommu u minn hawn qed jerġa’ jitlob skuża kbira waqt li jixtieq jgħid lil min hu bħalu biex ma jgħix f’gidba bħalma għex hu għal snin twal.
“Tibżax turi x’int u kun kuntent u ħobb lilek innifsek hekk kif in-natura ħalqitek! Nibgħat messaġġ akbar għall-ġenituri kollha: ħobbu u aċċettaw lil uliedkom minkejja li forsi huma differenti mill-bqija għax xorta huma parti minnkom u xorta jibqgħu għal dejjem uliedkom. Tħallu lil xejn aktar jifridkom ħlief il-mewt!”

Times: California’s Supreme Court agrees to rule on gay marriage

Monday, 21st February 2011; AFP

A gay couple posing behind a frame during a protest against the Greek state’s refusal to recognise same-sex marriages on Athens’ Ermou St, the capital’s main shopping thoroughfare last week. Photo: Aris Messinis/AFP

A gay couple posing behind a frame during a protest against the Greek state’s refusal to recognise same-sex marriages on Athens’ Ermou St, the capital’s main shopping thoroughfare last week. Photo: Aris Messinis/AFP

California’s Supreme Court agreed last week to decide whether opponents of same-sex marriage have the right to appeal against a decision that legalised gay weddings here in August 2010.

A panel of judges agreed unanimously to hear the case – which turns on whether campaigners have the right to legal appeal, in place of the state’s authorities – “as early as September”.

Under judicial guidelines, they would then have to make a decision within 90 days.
The decision came in response to a request by a US federal appeals court, which asked the Californian tribunal last month to help it rule on legalising gay marriage, which remains banned here amid the legal wrangling.

In a ruling last August, a federal judge said a ban on same-sex marriage in California – imposed by the November 2008 referendum measure known as Prop 8 – was discriminatory and violated the US Constitution. But anti-gay wedding group ProtectMarriage appealed, and a week later a federal judge agreed to maintain the ban pending the appeals process that started on December 6.

Critics argue that California’s voters made their intentions known when 52 per cent voted for Prop 8.

The vote came only six months after the state’s Supreme Court reversed a previous ban on same-sex weddings – sending gays and lesbians flocking to marry.

Some 18,000 homosexual couples tied the knot between May and November that year, when gay weddings were briefly allowed.

Experts believe the legal fight is almost certain to end up before the US Supreme Court in around 18 months, once appeals hearings in lower courts have run their course.

Only the states of Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Vermont, as well as the US capital Washington, currently recognise gay marriage.

[Click on the hyperlink above to view the comments on the Times' website.]

It-Torċa: Il-Knisja Maltija kontra l-omosesswali għax mhux normali?

[Din l-ittra mhix ippublikata fuq is-Sit tat-Torċa.]
It-Torċa - 20 ta' Frar, 2011, Pagna 48.

Fr Colin,

Ma nistax nifhem għaliex il-Knisja f'Malta ma taħmilx lill-omosesswali u tikklassifikahom bħala morda. Tgħidlix li mhux veru għax din hija l-prova li l-Knisja Maltija tqabbel l-omosesswali u l-adulterju bħala dnubiet gravi!

Din hija kwotazzjoni mill-Pastorali ta' l-Isqfijiet iffirmata minn Michael Gonzi, Arċisqof ta' Malta, President tal-Konferenza Episkopali Maltija Emmanuel Gerada, Isqof Koadjutur ta' Malta Nicholas Cauchi, Isqof ta' Għawdex Emmanuel Galea, Isqof Awżiljarju ta' Malta.

Dawn kollha jirrappreżentaw il-krema tal-pożizzjoni tal-Knisja f'Malta u jgħidu hekk:
"Għalhekk l-adulterju u l-omosesswalità minnhom infushom u indipendentament mil-liġi tal-bnedmin, kienu u għadhom dnubiet gravi. Dwar l-omosesswalità, aħna nagħrfu, nifhmu u naqblu li min hu verament marid jeħtieġ kura u għajnuna u mhux kastig, ġaladabra llum ix-xjenzati huma tal-fehma li wħud mill-omosesswali huma nies morda jew mhux normali għal kollox. Inħossu wkoll li s-soċjetà ta' pajjiżna għandha u trid li tibqa' mħarsa kif jixraq permezz ta' liġijiet ġusti minn kull ma jista' jhedded iż-żwieġ, il-familja, l-imħabba fidila u xierqa li l-poplu Malti fil-maġġoranza kbira tiegħu għadu jqishom u jgħożżhom bħala valuri u wirt importanti u għalhekk, bħala sehem mhux żgħir mill-ġid komuni tas-soċjetà Maltija. Biex jintlaħqu sewwa dawn iż-żewġ skopijiet, jidhrilna li s-soċjetà Maltija għandha tħoss id-dmir li tipprovdi, permezz tal-Awtorità pubblika, min-naħa l-waħda, servizz adegwat ta' kura għall-mard ta' anomaliji sesswali, u min-naħa l-oħra, ħarsien effiċjenti u ġust bil-liġi kontra kull xorta ta' korruzzjoni,solliċitazzjoni, propaganda, pubbliċità, assoċjazzjoni għall-finijiet omosesswali, kif titlob l-moralità pubblika."

M'għandi xejn izjed xi nżid, Fr Colin, u nittama li tippubblikali din l-ittra u nistenna l-kummenti tiegħek. Min fejn ġabuha l-Isqfijiet li x-xjenzati jgħidu li l-omosesswali huma morda u mhux normali?

Don't ask don' tell

Min hu normali? Min hu divers?

Li ħallejt barra hija li din il- Pastorali ħarġet mill-Kurja fil- 31 ta' Diċembru 1972... disgħa u tletin sena (39) ilu.

Erbgħin sena ilu jfisser li xi affarijiet kif inħarsu lejhom tbiddlu xi ftit. It-tagħlim, ittagħrif xjentifiku, naħseb li tbiddel xi ftit f'dawn l-aħħar erbgħin sena.
Biex inkunu 'fair' l-Isqfijiet,anki erbgħin sena ilu, kitbu:
"llum ix-xjenzati huma talfehma li wħud mill-omosesswali huma nies morda jew mhux normali għal kollox".

Meta nitkellmu fuq XI WħUD u MHUX GħAL KOLLOX ifisser li l-omosesswali, bħall-eterosesswali, XI WħUD huma nies morda u oħrajn mhumiex. Uħud mhumiex normali GħAL KOLLOX imma oħrajn huma normali.

B'"normali" nifhmu "average" "tipikament".

M'għandix dubju li llum, 40 sena wara, konna nużaw kliem ħafna differenti minn dan għax kemm il-lingwaġġ li nbidel u kemm dak li hu "politically correct" jieħu xejra differenti.

Kliem li jista' jkun interpetat bħala "hate language" li juri nuqqas ta' rispett lejn id-diversità ta' ħaddieħor ma jaqbel xejn mal-Vanġelu.

Nista' niżgurak li l-awtoritajiet tal-Knisja li niltaqa' magħhom jiena illum iħarsu lejn l-omosesswali b'ħafna mħabba u li spiss jiltaqgħu ma' gruppi omosesswali kattoliċi prattikanti.

Jista' jsir iżjed ukoll, naturalment!

Fr Colin

Times: Divorce and common good
Sunday, 20th February 2011 by Kenneth Wain

If the object of legislation is the common good the question arises, how is the common good defined, and who should define it? The first thing about the common good is that it must be common, i.e. it must refer to the whole of society, not some part of it. This is why statistics will never define what it is.

The official numbers on marital breakdowns are being used to argue that those marriages that fail irrevocably, for whatever reason, are a minority in number. Since when is the good of minorities not considered as part of the common good?

It certainly does not accord with the perception in a civil and humane society which should be that because minorities are vulnerable, their good requires their special protection by the state.

Imagine if the same argument were to be applied to the disabled, to gay people, ethnic or religious minorities, and so on; a general principle is at stake here, not just the good of a particular minority. If rights belong only to the majority what kind of a democracy is this?

Equally disturbing, this time from a moral rather than a political perspective, is the insensitivity bordering on callousness with which the pain suffered by the minority involved, in this case the victims of marital breakdown, is treated by politicians who, declaring their pain inconsequential because statistics, show them to be a minority.

Offering them abstract sympathy, then contributing to their suffering by denying them the means to alleviate it is very hypocritical.

That the divorce issue has become one about minority rights in our society makes it especially important. Because as a society, notwithstanding everything, we believe in minority rights, rights that respect difference.

Or do we? If we do not then we are confusing our democracy with a tyranny of the majority. This is not how it is understood in the Europe of which we say we are a part. If we do not wish our democracy to be simply such a tyranny we should not, as a society, let these rights be decided by referendum, or submit them to the will of the majority.

What a referendum on divorce legislation will show is simply the level of tolerance or otherwise our society harbours towards a minority who may want to live differently. How do we avoid being a tyranny of the majority?

First, by recognising certain basic freedom rights for all (it seems that freedom rights are not part of our political vocabulary), including, indeed especially (because they are the more vulnerable members of the society), for those belonging to minorities; the right to freedom of belief and expression, of association, and of lifestyle, limited only by the provision that that freedom is not abused, that is, not used to harm others directly, or to perpetrate or instigate violence against them.

Second, by recognising what should be the true function of a referendum in a democracy. Third, by acknowledging that the place where civil right claims should be determined is Parliament.

Divorce legislation could be on a political party's manifesto, but a Private Member's Bill is a perfectly legitimate instrument for forcing debate on the legislation of a civil right where the parties refuse this initiative (that's what it is for).

Indeed, it is a preferable route, because civil rights should not be a matter of party contestation. So let's go back to the beginning – first, the common good is not determined by statistics; nor is the determination of moral or political rights a matter of numbers.

Second, the obligation of the people's representatives is towards the people as a whole, including its minorities or individuals.

The common good they are called to safeguard is the wellbeing of everybody in society, including, in this case, those whose voice has been significantly absent in this whole charade, the voice of those directly involved.

As the people's representatives they should be expected to act as impartial judges of the case for the minority; indiscriminately, fairly and reasonably.

This means they should not turn their personal beliefs into crusades (which invariably happens when the parties come in), that their private conscience should have nothing to do with their deliberations of the common good.

Openness to persuasion being a fundamental democratic requirement, dogmatists who pronounce themselves deaf to the persuasion of the argument, have their proper place among the ayatollahs, not in a democratic parliament or forum.

Fourth, though democracy is about the common good, that good is best served when people are left free to live their lives, to determine their good for themselves, not when a paternalistic state or an intolerant majority have the arrogance to dictate it to them.

As happens in a court of law, the onus of proof should be on those who would deny the freedoms I referred to earlier, not those who claim them.

[Click on the hyperlink above to view the comments on the Times' website.]

Thursday, 24 February 2011

Times: Same-sex unions in church face Christian opposition
Thursday, 17th February 2011

Controversial plans to allow same-sex couples to "marry" in church face furious opposition from leading Christian groups.

UK government proposals to lift the ban on civil partnership ceremonies being held in places of worship will bring it into conflict with thousands of evangelical churches, the Church of England and the Roman Catholic Church, religious groups said.

"Christians will need a great deal of reassurance that the Government is not about to do something that will make their situation even worse," they added.

"We reiterate our long-held opposition to allowing civil partnerships to be registered in churches.
"It is a breach of undertakings made by government ministers during debates on the Civil Partnership Bill.

"Parliament was persuaded to pass that Bill, in part, because it was made clear that civil partnership was a civil rather than a religious institution and would not take place in religious premises." The groups, which include Affinity, The Christian Institute, Christian Concern, Reform and the Fellowship of Independent Evangelical Churches, went on: "In any legislation, churches must be protected against the possibility, now and in the future, of any kind of legal action being brought against churches which conscientiously disagree with civil partnerships.

"When it comes to equality legislation, permission often turns rapidly into coercion.

"In a country where faith-based adoption agencies have been forced to close or cut their religious ties by equality law, where Christian marriage registrars can be dismissed for their religious views on marriage and where Christian B&B owners are forced to pay compensation to same-sex couples, Christians will need a great deal of reassurance that the Government is not about to do something that will make their situation even worse."

The Church of England has already said that it will not allow any of its churches to be used for civil partnership ceremonies.

But the Rev. Stephen Coles, a gay vicar from St Thomas' Finsbury Park in north London, welcomed the move, saying it would put pressure on the denominations reluctant to hold the ceremonies and encourage them to think about the issues.

"That could go either way in the short term," he admitted.

"Those who are at the moment finding all this very difficult, it just might mean that they become more stubborn. But that does remain to be seen.

"I also think the number in the Church who are opposed is smaller than people think – but they are very noisy."

Mr Coles went on: "It's up to each denomination to decide for itself. I don't think the Government should force anybody to do it.

"The consequences will be to put a bit more pressure on those denominations that are reluctant at the moment and that would be a good thing.

"Quakers, Unitarians, and Liberal Jews will be able to do what they want to do. For everyone else, it may cause them to think about it a bit more."

[Click on the hyperlink above to view the comments on the Times' website.]

Times: Joanne Cassar files submissions in sex change case

Lawyers refer to European Court ruling
Tuesday, 15th February 2011 - 17:48CET

Joanne Cassar has filed submissions following an appeal by the Attorney General from a court decision which recognised her gender reassignment surgery and gave her the right to marry a man.

In the submissions, Cassar's lawyers pointed out that in part of the first court's judgement, it had made a reference to a section of law introduced a few years ago by which transsexuals could file a court application to have the details changed on their birth certificate.

The judge had stated that since the government had introduced this section, then for all intents and purposes at law the State was recognising the transsexual as a woman. Therefore all the legal consequences followed, and thus the State had to allow Ms Cassar to marry a man.

They rejected the claim, first made by the Director of Public Registry, that this section of law was introduced only to protect the person's privacy and not because the State was recognising her acquired sex.

The lawyers also referred to the Human Rights case, Christine Goodwin vs. UK where the court had ruled that the state could not prevent such people from getting married.

Defence counsel argued that what the judgement of Goodwin vs UK stated was that the European Court felt it was time to reconsider the position of transsexuals, given not only the developments in the view of marriage but also the developments in medicine and science with regards to the transsexuasl' situation.

The world of medicine and science were recognising that transsexuals had a condition that needed to be catered for. The European Court in that case stated that the State could not restrict their right of marriage to such an extreme that the very essence of the right was impaired.

Judgment has been deferred for the end of May.

Lawyers Jose Herrera and David Camilleri filed the submissions.

[Click on the hyperlink above to view the comments on the Times' website.]

Malta Today: Britain considering 'gay marriage' in churches
Sunday, February 13, 2011

British Prime Minister David Cameron and his Deputy Nick Clegg: The proposed reforms could also end the definition of marriage as only between a man and a woman

The Sunday Telegraph newspaper said such ceremonies could be permitted to include religious elements for the first time.

The Sunday Times newspaper said the proposed marriage law reforms could also end the legal definition of marriage pertaining only to a man and a woman, in a highly symbolic move.

"The government is currently considering what the next stage should be for civil partnerships, including how some religious organisations can allow same-sex couples to register their relationship in a religious setting if they wish to do so," a Home Office spokesman said.

"Ministers have met a range of people and organisations to hear their views on this issue. An announcement will be made in due course."

While the changes will be welcomed by gay equality campaigners, they could provoke a strong reaction from some traditionalists and church groups.

The Church of England has already said it will not allow any of its buildings to be used for civil partnership ceremonies.

However, other groups including Quakers, Unitarians, and Liberal Jews are likely to be more sympathetic, The Sunday Telegraph said.

Civil partnerships were introduced in Britain in December 2005. They give gay couples almost exactly the same rights as married heterosexual couples.

Under current rules, ceremonies must be secular and cannot contain religious elements, such as hymn singing and Bible readings.

The Sunday Telegraph said equalities minister Lynne Featherstone was expected to outline shortly plans to lift the ban.

The weekly broadsheet warned that the new move could open a "legal minefield", with gay couples possibly taking action against faith groups if they were barred from tying the knot in their chosen place of worship.

The Office of National Statistics said that at May 2010 more than 26,000 civil partnerships had been formed in Britain.

KullĦadd: Ilni għal dawn l-aħħar sentejn ngħix f'kamra waħda u spiss naħseb fis-suwiċidju

Tappella ghall-karità permezz t'avviż fil-gazzetta
Saturday, 12 February 2011 18:12 minn Krista Caruana

Fil-jiem li ghaddew waqt li kont qed niftah l-ittri li nircievu bil-posta, sibt ittra partikolari li mill-ewwel gibditli l-attenzjoni. Mhemuza mall-ittra kien hemm avviz klassifikat miktub minn mara ta' 50 sena. Normalment min jibghat avviz klassifikat jaghmel dan ghax ikun irid ibiegh jew jixtri xi haga, izda l-avviz ta' din il-mara kien totalment differenti.

F'dan l-avviz il-mara talbet biex xi proxxmu jaghmel karità maghha u joffrilha post adegwat fejn toqghod minhabba li qed tghix f'zewgt ikmamar zghar u li ghalihom qed thallas kera ta' madwar €400 kull 3 xhur.

Mill-ewwel hadt interess fis-sitwazzjoni li kienet tinsab fiha din il-mara u cempiltilha u ftehmt maghha biex immur inkellimha d-dar.

Kcina bla 'cooker' u kamra tas-sodda bla gwardarobba

L-ghada filghodu mort inhabbat fuq il-bieb tad-dar taghha, jekk tista' ssejhilha dar, ghax l-aktar haga li laqtitni appena fethitli l-bieb u dahhlitni gewwa kienet proprju c-cokon tal-kamra li qed tghix fiha. Mal-ewwel daqqa t'ghajn stajt ninnota lid-dar taghha tikkonsisti f'kamra wahda maqsuma fi tnejn. Parti minnha hemm il-kcina u l-parti l-ohra hemm kamra tas-sodda.

L-ewwel haga li qaltli kif dhalt gewwa kienet "ara naqra f'hiex qed nghix". U bir-ragun. Il-kamra hija nieqsa minn kull tip ta' kumdità. Fil-fatt fejn suppost hemm il-kcina stajt ninnota li l-anqas cooker m'ghandha tant li l-mara jkollha ssajjar fuq speci ta' spiritiera. Mill-banda l-ohra l-ghamara f'dik li suppost hija kamra tas-sodda wkoll hija limitata hafna, tant li l-mara l-anqas biss ghandha fejn terfa' l-hwejjeg u oggetti personali ohra. Il-mizerja tispikka wkoll f'dik li suppost hija kamra tal-banju u li m'hija xejn hlief rokna zghira biswit fejn torqod.

Apparti c-cokon u l-iskumdità, fil-kamra tispikka wkoll in-nuqqas t'arja u d-dlam, hlief ghal ftit dawl li jidhol minn bitha ckejkna hafna li fiha tonxor il-hwejjeg.

Ghal 24 sena shah kont mizzewwga ragel 'gay'

Il-mara qaltli li qatt ma kienet f'sitwazzjoni aghar milli tinsab fiha bhalissa. Qaltli li f'hajjitha kienet rat hafna l-aktar fil-hajja mizzewwga taghha li ntemmet b'separazzjoni ghaxar snin ilu.

Il-mara rrakkuntatli dwar iz-zwieg taghha li ntemm meta skopriet li zewgha kien ilu snin twal jaqlibielha ma' ragel iehor. "Dak iz-zmien kont ghadni zghira. Kelli t-tifla kien li ghad kellha biss 10 snin meta kont qbadt lil zewgi jaqlibhieli mall-habib tieghu li ironikament kien diehel u hiereg id-dar taghna ghax jien minghalija li kien kollega tieghu fuq il-post tax-xoghol.

Qatt ma bsart li bejniethom seta' kien hemm xi haga aktar minn hbiberija. Jien kont iffissata fuq uliedi u forsi li kien ghalhekk li qatt ma ntbaht b'xejn. Imbghad 10 snin ilu, bdejt niftah ghajnejja u qbadtu jaqlibhieli fil-fatt, wara li ghamiltlu l-ghassa. "

Kompliet tispjegali kif appena skopriet li zewgha kien gay, hajjitha kienet spiccat. Ma setghetx tkompli tghix meta kienet taf li missier iz-zewgt uliedha kien dahak biha b'dak il-mod. "Bdejt inbati bid-dipressjoni u spiccajt dipendenti fuq il-kalmanti.

Jien bdejt il-proceduri ghas-separazzjoni u wara li sseparajna, jien u binti morna nghixu f'appartament ghal rasna. It-tifel kien digà kiber u qed jghix wahdu. Ghaddejt 10 snin shah naghmel sagrificcju wiehed wara l-iehor biex inrabbi lil binti.

Kif tista' timmagina, f'10 snin, il-ftit flus li kelli mwarrba taht rasi bdew jitnaqqru ftit ftit sakemm spiccaw ghal kollox. Kien ghalhekk li sentejn ilu tlaqt mill-appartament fejn kont qed noqghod u sibt dawn iz-zewgt ikmamar minhabba li ridt kirja orhos ghax ma kellix aktar minn fejn inhallas."

"Qed nghix bil-pilloli u bl-ilma"

Staqsejtha jekk tistax b'xi mod tghin lilha nnifisha biex ma tibqax f'din is-sitwazzjoni, izda qaltli li apparti l-problemi familjari li ghandha, ghandha wkoll diversi problemi ta' sahha. "Jien nghix bil-pilloli u bl-ilma. Inbati b'hafna mard fosthom diabete, kolesterol, dipressjoni, mard tal-qalb, kif ukoll bl-azma.

Ghal dan il-mard kollu ghandi bzonn niehu hafna medicini. Ghalkemm jiena ntitolata ghal diversi medicini bla hlas, hafna drabi qed nispicca jkolli nixtriehom minn buti minhabba li ma nsibhomx fl-ispizerija tal-gvern.

Fix-xahar jien irrid nghix bi €360 li minnhom irrid inhallas il-bzonnijiet bazici bhall-ikel, xorb u medicini kif ukoll il-kontijiet. L-ahhar kont tad-dawl u l-ilma li rcevejt kien ta' €800 u wara skoprejt li l-kont kien sploda minhabba li kelli hsara fis-sistema tal-ilma. Dan il-kont ma hallastux ghax ma kellix minn fejn. Apparti minn hekk ninsab minghajr linja tat-telefon ghax qatghuli l-linja minhabba li ma hallastx il-kont u ghad irrid naghtihom mal- €200.

Ippruvajt kemm -il darba nipprova nsib xi xoghol part-time biex nghin lili nnifsi, izda dejjem jaghlquli l-bieb f'wicci ghax dejjem igibuli xi skuza fost l-ohrajn li jien ghandi l-età u li jippreferu jimpjegaw xi hadd izghar minni jew inkella lin-negozju sejjer hazin u hadd ma jiflah izid l-impjegati izda hafna qed inaqqsuhom."

"Bghatt 3 ittri lill-Prim Ministru"

Staqsejtha jekk wasslitx l-ilmenti taghha lill-awtoritajiet koncernati. "Jien ilni snin shah nitlob lill-Awtorità tad-Djar biex tiehu inkonsiderazzjoni l-kaz tieghi u forsi tipprovdili akkomodazzjoni alternattiva, izda sal-lum ghadni qed nghix fil-mizerja ta' dawn iz-zewgt ikmamar. Bghatt ukoll 3 ittri lill-Prim Ministru Lawrence Gonzi fejn minkejja li spjegajtlu f'hiex ninsab, sal-lum ghadni ma rcevejt l-ebda risposta minghandu."
"Ta' spiss nahseb fis-suwicidju"

Filwaqt li ghedtilha biex taghmel kuragg, il-mara qaltli li sakemm l-awtoritajiet jibqghu jaghlqulha l-bieb f'wiccha, ma tista' qatt timxi 'l quddiem fil-hajja taghha. "Kemm -il darba nghid li nixtieq li mmut u ta' spiss nahseb fis-suwicidju ghax inhossni xbajt nghix f'din it-tbatija u f'dan il-faqar. L-akbar xewqa li ghandi hija li jkolli post dicenti fejn nghix bit-tama li forsi xi darba nkun nista' nerga' nibni hajti mill-gdid, ghax hajti issa ilha snin twal imkissra u mfarrka", temmet tghidli l-mara.

Times: Guilty of loitering

Tuesday, 8th February 2011

A man was yesterday jailed for 18 months after he was found guilty of loitering for the purpose of prostitution on August 18, 2006 and relapsing.

Richard Spiteri, 39, also known as Rachela of Valletta, was caught between 8.30 and 10 p.m. on the night in question in Albert Town Marsa.

Magistrate Saviour Demicoli also found Mr Spiteri guilty of offending public morals while inside a white Daihatsu car. He was also found guilty of stealing a mobile phone from Clinton James Abela at around 1.30 a.m.

Police Inspector Jesmond Borg prosecuted while Mr Spiteri did not want to be represented by a lawyer.

[Click on the hyperlink above to view the comments on the relevant website.]

Times: Sexually-transmitted diseases

Tuesday, 8th February 2011

There were 234 reports of sexually-transmitted diseases last year, Health Minister Joseph Cassar told Parliament.

Answering a question by Labour MP Anthony Agius Decelis, Dr Cassar said these included 138 cases of Chlamydia, 47 of gonorrhoea, 25 of syphilis, 18 of HIV and six of Aids.

Compared to 2009, the figures showed increases of 32 cases of Chlamydia, six of syphilis and four of Aids, as well as a drop of 16 cases of gonorrhoea. Cases of HIV had remained static.

Dr Cassar said that because the reported figures were relatively small, it was impossible to comment on statistically-valid increases, but it appeared that the results here were in line with international trends.

To another question by Mr Agius Decelis, the minister said the Health Promotion and Disease Prevention Directorate was planning to continue running educational campaigns on the prevention of sexually-transmitted diseases.

The department was also organising campaigns as part of the action plan being drawn up by all parties concerned for the enactment of the national sexual health policy.

[Click on the hyperlink above to view the comments on the Times' website.]

Friday, 18 February 2011

KullĦadd: L-imħabba s-sena kollha u mhux f'San Valentinu biss
Saturday, 12 February 2011 18:31 minn Ramona Portelli

Proprju ghada nkunu qed niccelebraw Jum San Valentinu, u jkun hawn hafna koppji li jaghtu lil xulxin xi rigali sbieh. Ma jonqsux il-ward ahmar, u kartolini b'messaggi ta' mhabba u bi kliem sabih. Izda tghid l-imhabba vera ghadha tezisti? L-imhabba tinxtara b'affarijiet materjali?

Dwar dawn il-fatti tkellimt ma' counsellor u trainee sex therapist – Matthew Bartolo. Matthew jahdem f'habs taz-zghazagh fl-Ingilterra. Ghalkemm ghad ghandu 26 sena, Matthew jidher determinat fuq xoghlu, tant li fl-Ingilterra qed jaghmel Masters f'Sexual and Relationship Psychotherapy. Bhala trainee f'Porterbrook Clinic, Matthew jara klijenti li l-maggoranza taghhom ikunu koppji, u li jkollhom problemi sesswali jew fir-relazzjoni taghhom. Fil-fatt ivarjaw minn problemi fizici li qeghdin jaffetwalhom l-intimità taghhom, sa stress jew inkwiet li qed ihossu bhala koppja.

Bhala counsellor Matthew jimxi fuq il-punti ta' integrità u umanità, li jfisser li l-mod li bih tghallem ghenu jhares lejn persuna ohra x'ghandha x'toffri minflok bhala pazjenta bil-problemi. "Inhoss li meta sirt naf lili nnifsi, stajt nifhem ahjar ghalfejn nagixxi bil-mod li nagixxi u x'ghandi naghmel biex nikber bhala persuna."

Investiment f'relazzjoni

Ilkoll ghandna nkunu konxji u nirrealizzaw li l-imhabba bejn koppji m'ghandhiex tkun biss proprju f'Jum San Valentinu. B'hekk tlabt lil Matthew jghaddi xi pariri dwar kif koppja tista' ssalva r-relazzjoni taghha.

"Naqbel mieghek li l-imhabba m'ghandix tkun dakinhar biss. Fl-istess hin nahseb li bhalma l-Milied hu skuza biex niltaqghu mal-familji u nieklu iktar mis-soltu, San Valentinu huwa bhal anniversarji, li jista' jkun cans ghal hafna koppji biex jonfqu naqra iktar fuq xulxin u jinvestu iktar hin flimkien. Jien dejjem nghid lill-koppji li relazzjoni trid tinvesti fiha."

Tlabtu jelabora aktar dwar dan u jghaddi aktar ideat prattici dwar dan l-investiment tant prezzjuz.

"Meta nghid tinvesti fir-relazzjoni, ma jfissirx li koppja tissallab biex tmur tiekol barra darba fil-gimgha jew issiefer darbtejn f'sena. Jien nistieden lill-koppji jharsu lejn ir-relazzjoni kif kienet fil-bidu – il-hrug, l-ammont ta' hin li kienu jqattghu quddiem il-mera jippreparaw qabel jiltaqghu, isaqsu lil shabhom fejn ser jiehdu lil xulxin, u affarijiet bhal dawn.

Dawn huma kollha affarijiet li hafna drabi l-koppja, la darba tigi komda ma' xulxin, tinsa u tidra tghix minghajrhom. Hafna koppji jghiduli ghax ikunu ghajjenin wara x-xoghol, u bejn it-tfal, genituri jixjiehu, u pizijiet tal-post, il-hajja vera saret difficli.

Interessanti hafna kif imba-ghad meta xi hadd minnhom isib xi mahbub jew mahbuba barra l-ghaqda taghhom, jirnexxilhom ilahhqu ma' dawn ir-responsabbiltajiet u r-relazzjoni klandestina," beda jispjegali tajjeb Matthew.

Fil-fatt l-ezempji li gabli huma kollha fatti tal-hajja, u li kultant ma nirrealizzawx kemm jistghu jinholqu problemi, jew inkella kemm setghu gew evitati problemi ohra.

Kompla jghidli, "Hija haga sabiha li koppja thossha tajjeb flimkien, li jekk m'ghandhomx aptit johorgu, jafu jgawdu anke b'dvd u xi pizza. Hu sinjal tajjeb li koppja m'ghandhiex ghalfejn tohrog tixrob biex tiehu pjacir flimkien. Hafna nies ikunu qed jistennew il-hin fejn jintefghu fuq is-sufan imgezzin flimkien u jaraw film.

Importanti imma li jkun hemm bilanc bejn l-intimità u l-avventura f'relazzjoni. Biex relazzjoni tibqa' interessanti, irid ikun hemm l-element gdid u ecitanti. Koppja tista' tipprova sport gdid, taghmel volontarjat flimkien, tipprova abseiling, tmur gurnata Ghawdex fil-widien, taghmel barbeque fuq il-bejt, jaghmlu 'date' id-dar billi isajru flimkien u jilbsu pulit, jistiednu n-nies ghall-ikel jew kafè, passiggata flimkien, u xi sorprizi ohra.

Hemm hafna affarijiet li t-tnejn jiftehmu u jorganizzaw ghal xulxin. Jezistu koppji li ddecidew li darba fil-gimgha jew hmistax jiehduha bejniethom biex darba kull wiehed jorganizzaw date. Mela gimgha persuna tiehu lill-ohra t-teatru, u l-gimgha ta' wara l-ohra torganizza date fl-istess post li ltaqghu l-ewwel darba. Il-gdid importanti daqs kemm hu importanti li nidraw lil xulxin," kompla jispjegali b'mod tant prattiku u car ghall-ahhar.

Matthew ihobb iqabbel relazzjoni ma' business jew karriera. Wiehed jieqaf jinvesti fiha u awtomatikament jieqaf il-frott. Fi kliemu stess, Matthew jispjega li hafna zghazagh jinvestu snin twal minn hajjithom biex jinvestu fil-karriera taghhom. Din hi haga tajba ghax imbaghad ikunu jistghu jghixu l-hajja li aspiraw ghaliha. Però imbaghad hu iktar difficli ghal min investa tant fil-karriera tieghu biex jghid le ghal bicca xoghol li ser tghinu javvanza professjonalment waqt li ccahhdu mill-hin mal-familja.

"Ghalhekk qed nistieden lil dawn in-nies iharsu lejn relazzjoni bhala karriera. Jekk tieqaf tinvesti fir-relazzjoni tieghek, ir-relazzjoni mhix se tibqa' ttik il-pjacir li kienet ittik. B'hekk qed nistieden lin-nies jiehdu responsabbiltà tar-relazzjoni taghhom u minflok jghidu ghax xbajt jew m'ghadnix inhoss l-istess emozzjonijiet tar-relazzjoni ta' qabel meta nkun mar-ragel jew mara, jistghu jghidu 'jien m'ghadnix ninvesti daqs qabel fir-relazzjoni u ghalhekk m'ghadniex niehu minnha daqs kemm kont niehu fil-bidu.'

Relazzjoni mhix xi haga li dhalt ghaliha u awtomatikament se ttik pjacir. Relazzjoni hija xoghol ta' tnejn minn nies. Iktar ma' dawn it-tnejn jahdmu, iktar ser jiehdu lura minnha. Fi kliem iehor ma jistax wiehed iqatta' ftit hin biss mal-mahbub jew mahbuba tieghu u meta jkun hemm, dejjem ikun irrabjat u jippretendi li ser jigi milqugh bil-bews u tghanniq," fissirli Matthew.

Però xorta jibqa' l-fatt li hafna koppji jinfexxu f'rigali sbieh u infiq ta' flus zejda ghal Jum San Valentinu, u forsi anke ma jirrealizzawx il-vera sens ta' mhabba. Iddiskutejt dawn il-fatti ma' Matthew u qalli li huwa jemmen li San Valentinu jista' jkun raguni biex il-koppja tqatta' iktar hin flimkien, u forsi jiktbu xi kartolina jew jixtru xi rigal.

"Hi haga sabiha li jkun hemm gurnata fejn koppja jistghu juru lil xulxin l-imhabba taghhom bla ma jigu ggudikati. Mhux kulhadd ifisser l-istess haga bil-kelma mhabba u mhux kulhadd juriha bl-istess mod. Din hi xi haga li koppja ghandha tiddiskuti flimkien ghax importanti li jkunu jafu l-persuna l-ohra xi thobb u x'tixtieq. Ghalxejn tonfoq tlett elef ewros curkett jekk il-persuna l-ohra tippreferi gurnata mghannqa mieghek jew tapprezza iktar rigal li ghamilt bl-idejn.

Is-sens tar-rigal hu li turi l-persuna l-ohra li hsibt fiha u biex taghmel dan trid tkun taf hi xi thobb. Illum il-gurnata hafna koppji jaghmlu xi haga flimkien ghal San Valentinu. Hu importanti izda li San Valentinu jkun parti mis-sena, mhux gurnata maqtugha ghaliha nnifisha," spjega Matthew, b'importanza partikolari ta' kif ghandha tkun il-vera mhabba.

Connexion Weekend ghall-koppji

Connexion Weekend huwa ddedikat u mahluq ghall-koppji kollha li ilhom flimkien u jixtiequ jharsu lejn ir-relazzjoni taghhom b'mod gdid. Dan il-weekend hu l-ewwel wiehed li qed jorganizza Matthew flimkien mat-tim tieghu.

Ghamlu ricerka kbira hafna fuq dawn it-tip ta' weekends li jsiru barra minn Malta. "Hdimna hafna biex imbaghad adattajnih, permezz ta' hafna qari u studju, ghal koppji f'Malta. Tant kellna rispons tajjeb ghalih li digà bdejna nahdmu fuq il-weekend ta' warajh. L-idea hi li dawn il-weekends isiru tlett darbiet f'sena."

Il-koppji ser ikunu fuq weekend break, fejn ser ikollhom hafna ikel, uzu ta' spa, gym, jacuzzi u facilitajiet ohra ta' wahda mil-lukandi ewlenin f'Malta. Ridt inkun naf aktar informazzjoni minghand Matt-hew.

"Waqt dan il-weekend ser ikollhom workshops fejn flimkien bhala koppji ser intuhom xenarji, suggetti u mistoqsijiet li jgelghom jiddiskutu u jsiru jafu iktar lil xulxin. Qeghdin anke norganizzaw attivitajiet fejn jistghu jidhku u jiehdu pjacir bhala koppja.

Kull koppja mbghad ser ikollha sessjoni mieghi fejn it-tlieta li ahna nahsbu dwar l-affarijiet li l-koppja tixtieq tibdel jew tahdem fuqhom, u jien naghti suggerimenti kif jistghu jaslu ghal dan it-tibdil. S'issa kellna rispons minn kull orjentazzjoni sesswali, età u tip ta' koppja. Infatti l-weekend ta' Frar imtela' mill-ewwel u ghalhekk qed norganizzaw iehor fl-ahhar weekend ta' April. Ser ikun is-Sibt, 30 ta' April u l-Hadd, l-1 ta' Mejju. Dawk kollha li jixtiequ aktar informazzjoni dwar Connexion Weekend jistghu jcemplu fuq 7920 9062.

Fl-ahharnett Matthew emfasizza mieghi li xoghlu hu li jaghti suggerimenti u mbaghad il-koppja flimkien iridu jiddiskutu u jaraw x'jahdem ghalihom.

"Ix-xoghol tieghi jlaqqaghni ma' hafna koppji u tghallimt li qatt m'ghandi nghid jien lill-koppja x'ghandhom jaghmlu. Huma jafu lil xulxin ahjar milli hadd jista' jimmagina," temm jghidli Matthew b'tant emfasi.

Times: PN responds to its former councillor turned Labour
Tuesday, 8th February 2011 by Christian Peregin

Labour governments of 30 and 40 years ago ruled Malta with an "iron fist" where basic freedoms were "non-existent", the Nationalist Party said in reply to allegations made by Labour convert Mario Farrugia Borg.

Former PN councillor Mr Farrugia Borg on Sunday described the PN as a "party of apartheid" and accused it of having been uncomfortable with his Muslim beliefs, despite assuring him they wouldn't.

He believes a debate in 2000 about Islam in Malta, to which he had been invited by the youth section of the party, was orchestrated to embarrass him as he was "accused, mocked and told that my beliefs were not compatible with those of the party".

Asked to respond to his allegations and criticism, the PN did not make any mention of the event he referred to but said Mr Farrugia Borg was never asked to re-contest on the PN ticket. However, the party said it had strived to make Malta a "free and democratic" society where "freedom of expression" and "the right to religious freedom, sexual orientation and political allegiance" were respected and guaranteed.

"This is a far cry from the Labour governments of the 1970s and 1980s that ruled Malta with an iron fist and (where) freedom of expression and association, religious freedom, sexual orientation and political allegiance of one's choice were nonexistent."

Mr Farrugia Borg, who addressed Labour's general conference on Sunday, had confessed to having been a Mintoffian in his childhood but rejected the Labour Party during the 1980s because of the political circumstances of the time.

[Click on the hyperlink above to view the comments on the Times' website.]

Friday, 11 February 2011

Illum: Bejn ġirja u oħra qabel id-divorzju [Intervista: Karl Gouder]

Karl Gouder jitkellem dwar l-iva tiegħu favur id-divorzju

[Dan l-artiklu mhux fuq is-sit ta' l-Illum s'issa.]
6.2.2011 minn Julia Farrugia

Hu l-iżgħar membru parlamentari Nazzjonalista u bħalissa ffukat aktar minn qatt qabel fit-taħriġ għan-nofs maratona tal-ġiri ta’ tliet ġimgħat oħra.

Iżda f’nofs din il-ġirja hemm missjoni oħra …

Il-ġirja fost l-elettorat u fost l-istrutturi tal-PN bit-tama li f’Malta jidħol id-divorzju.

“Kont sorpriż bil-feedback pożittiv li kelli min-nies. Kien hemm żewġ kategoriji ta’ nies li jaqblu mad-divorzju, dik lili ma timpressjonanix … u l-isbaħ reazzjoni kienet ta’ dawk li jgħidulek ‘jien ma naqbilx miegħek imma napprezza li tkellimt hekk… “Fi ħdan il-Partit Nazzjonalista ma kelli problema ta’ xejn meta esprimejt l-opinjoni tiegħi favur id-divorzju…

“Kellna diġà sitta jew seba’ laqgħat tal-eżekuttiv fejn iddiskutejna d-divorzju u mill-ewwel ġurnata kellna klima miftuħa bejnietna,” jinsisti Karl Gouder. Imma f’partit li għandek il-kap Lawrence Gonzi li hu kontra d-dħul tad-divorzju, ma jaħsibx li n-nies fl-Eżekuttiv tal-PN se jkollhom ikunu sempliċiment timbru? Ma jaqbilx. Imma jinsisti li l-Partit Nazzjonalista bilfors għandu jippronunzja ruħu favur jew kontra d-divorzju u m’hemmx lok li joqgħod jinħeba wara xi sentenza vaga. Sakemm qed nagħmlu l-intervista, il-PN kien għadu ma ħabbarx li nhar is-Sibt se jħabbar il-pożizzjoni jekk hux favur jew le.

“Miljun fil-mija. Hu dmir tagħna li ngħidu jekk il-PN jaqbilx jew le. Jien naħseb li l-pajjiż pjuttost maqsum fuq din il-kwistjoni imma l-PN aktar għandu x’jitlef jekk ma jiħux pożizzjoni dwar id-divorzju,” jgħid.

“Fil-Partit Nazzjonalista għandna reputazzjoni li kull meta kien hemm deċiżjonijiet ibsin dejjem ħadniehom kienu x’kienu, u hemm irridu naslu fuq din tad-divorzju. Kif qed naraha jien anke l-IVF u l-koabitazzjoni għandhom ikunu indirizzati u meħuda deċiżjoni dwarhom qabel l-elezzjoni ġenerali li jmiss.

“Jekk ikun hemm nuqqas ta’ deċiżjoni fuq dawn se jfisser nies li qed ibatu…” Sa ftit ġimgħat ilu f’għajnejn l-elettorat kellna sitwazzjoni fejn il-Partit Laburista kellu mexxej biż-żiemel tal-battalja f’idejh, id-divorzju.

Ġaladarba din se tkun indirizzata qabel l-elezzjoni ġenerali li jmiss, jaqbel li l-PN se jkun ġibed it-tapit minn taħt saqajn l-Oppożizzjoni?

B’rasu jagħmel sinjal li jaqbel.

Lura għall-argument favur id-divorzju jinsisti fuq tliet argumenti:
“Idealment iż-żwieġ għandu jkun għal dejjem imma hemm mijiet ta’ każi ġenwini ta’ nies u familji li qed ibatu. Mara ta’ 32 sena li telaqha r-raġel, m’għandhiex dritt li terġa’ tibda familja?

“U jien min jien biex inwaqqaf, inxekkel, l-iżvilupp ta’ ħaddieħor? It-tielet punt li importanti li wieħed iżomm quddiem għajnejh hu li d-divorzju mhux se jsolvi kollox. Nifhem li hemm grey areas imma għandna d-dmir li fuq bażi personali nneħħu l-bias u naslu għal dan l-eżami tal-kuxjenza. Jien għamiltu. Wara li ħsibt sew, jien favur id-divorzju.”

Ġenwinament, Karl Gouder jemmen li jkun żball jekk il-Partit Nazzjonalista jkanta l-istess innu tal-eks-Prim Ministru Eddie Fenech Adami bi kwotazzjonijiet bħal ‘Kristu kien kontra d-divorzju’ u oħrajn?

“Din tad-divorzju hi purament kwistjoni ċivili. Għandi rispett kbir lejn il-Knisja. Imma din hi proċedura ċivili u nagħmlu ħażin li ndaħħlu r-reliġjon fin-nofs,” jgħid mingħajr ma jipponta lejn ħadd.

“Il-Partit Nazzjonalista nemmen li qed jeħodha wkoll minn punt ċivili.”

Minkejja li ż-żagħżugħ mimli bl-enerġija, ftit li xejn jidher li hu t-tip li se joħloq kontroversji interni fil-partit meta xi ħaġa ma ddoqqlux għal widnejh jew ma jaqbilx magħha.

Se jibqa’ jħossu komdu fil-partit jekk dan jieħu pożizzjoni kontra d-divorzju li hu tant jemmen fih?

“Jien personalment inħoss li jekk il-PN joħroġ kontra d-divorzju xorta kont u nibqa’ naħdem fil-partit. Nifhem imma li hemm nies fil-partit li għalihom dan hu prinċipju. Nirrispettahom. Kulħadd għandu l-opinjoni tiegħu.”

Kif iħares lejn id-dikjarazzjoni tal-Ministru Austin Gatt li hedded li jirriżenja mill-Parlament jekk il-PN jippronunzja ruħu favur id-divorzju? Jekk il-PN jiddikjara li hu kontra d-divorzju, Karl Gouder jagħmel l-istess dikjarazzjoni?

“Ħadd mhu akbar mill-partit. Int tbaxxi rasek għad-deċiżjoni. Jekk tħoss li l-prinċipju hu akbar mid-deċiżjoni, twarrab.”

Imma dawn it-tip ta’ dikjarazzjonijiet huma ta’ intimidar jew li jimminaw lill-PN?
“Austin Gatt dejjem wera li hu leali ħafna lejn il-Partit Nazzjonalista. Il-ħsara kienet tkun li kieku rrikatta lill-partit billi qallu ‘jekk tgħid li favur id-divorzju nwaqqa’ l-Gvern…” jargumenta.

Allura Gouder jaqbel mat-teorija ta’ ħafna nies li Austin Gatt kellu biss paroli fil-vojt? Wara kollox dan hu l-istess Austin Gatt li ftit ġimgħat qabel tana l-aħbar li fl-elezzjoni ġenerali li jmiss mhux se jerġa’ jikkontesta.

L-argument ewlieni hu, billi jispiċċa sentejn qabel mill-Parlament, se jkun tilef jew ċaqlaq xi ħaġa?

“Sentejn huma ħafna fil-politika u nammirah lil Austin Gatt li għamel dik id-dikjarazzjoni.”


“Nammirah imma m’għamiltx bħalu. Nammira l-fatt li għalih il-kwistjoni tad-divorzju hi waħda kbira,” jgħid Karl Gouder.

“Jien m’għamilthiex għax inħossni komdu kif jien. Jien min jien? Ilkoll għandna dawk il-prinċipji li ma niċċaqilqux dwarhom, akkost ta’ kollox…”

Nitolbu jagħtini eżempji.

Jinsisti li hemm ħafna imma jipponta subajgħ biss lejn l-abort, suġġett li fil-pajjiż hemm kunsens bejn il-partiti kollha kontra!

“Agħtini eżempju ieħor …”

“Jien naf … lest nirriżenja mill-Parlament fuq prinċipju ekonomiku,” u jispjega li hu favur ekonomija ħielsa u ma jimmaġina qatt li jaċċetta sitwazzjoni fejn il-Gvern jikkontrolla l-biegħa.

S’issa ma kien hemm l-ebda politiku Malti li ddikjara fil-miftuħ l-orjentazzjoni sesswali tiegħu bit-tama li jtaffi mill-istigma. Karl Gouder mexa kontra l-kurrent.
B’mod onest, għala għamilha?

“Jien ġej minn skola tal-Ġiżwiti. Dejjem tgħallimt li fil-ħajja kemm jista’ jkun trid tagħmel il-ġid, tirrispetta lil ta’ madwarek u tkun onest miegħek innifsek. Dan hu Karl Gouder u this is what I stand for,” jgħid b’determinazzjoni.
Fi kliemu, il-fatt li ħareġ fil-beraħ li hu gay ħareġ il-ġid.
“Jekk ma ħareġ xejn minnha, ġew nies li huma gay ukoll u qaluli ‘b’dak li għamilt tajtna xaqq ta’ dawl’. Il-fatt li jkun hemm imqar persuna waħda li rat li ħareġ il-ġid minn dak li qal diġà xi ħaġa pożittiva, il-fatt li kien hemm aktar, aħjar.
Ħafna gays Maltin raw fid-deputat Nazzjonalista żagħżugħ ispirazzjoni. Imma fil-verità meta niġu għall-ġlidiet ewlenin tagħhom, kif jaħsibha?

Karl Gouder jemmen li l-gays għandhom dritt jiżżewġu?

“Iva, kulħadd għandu jkollu drittijiet ugwali. Imma…”
U f’daqqa waħda tidħol l-imma.

“Tkun redikola niftaħ kwistjoni bħal din issa,” jinsisti.
Fl-opinjoni tiegħu l-ewwel prijorità għandha tingħata lill-kwistjoni tad-divorzju, l-IVF u l-koabitazzjoni. Imbagħad, wara tqum id-diskussjoni fuq suġġetti oħra delikati. L-istess tweġiba quddiem il-mistoqsija ta’ jekk koppji gay għandhomx dritt jaddottaw tfal.

Kif jiddeskrivi lilu nnifsu Karl Gouder: konservattiv, moderat jew progressiv?
“Moderatissimu jien,” u jitbissem.”

“Ħriġt fil-politika għal raġuni waħda. Jien veru nemmen li l-politika hi l-aktar għodda b’saħħitha li ġġib id-differenza. Meta nidħol f’diskussjoni ħafna drabi tisma’, tgħarbel, imbagħad tasal għall-konklużjoni. Din ta’ konservattiv jew liberali ma nifhimhiex. Pragmatiku l-aħjar…l-oġġettività m’hemmx isbaħ minnha.”

Karl Gouder, Età: 31 sena
Professjoni: Assistent Direttur Informazzjoni Partit Nazzjonalista
Minn fejn int: San Ġiljan

L-aktar mument imbarazzanti: Konna f’post veru remot fil-muntanji fit-Tajlandja u l-jeep waqfet biex tgħabbi żewġ tfajliet. U lil sieħbi għidtlu: ‘Kemm huma koroh!’ Daret fuqi waħda mit-tfajliet u qatli bil-Malti: “Trid ngħidlek kemm int ikrah?”

L-aktar platt stramb li kilt: insetti mit-Tajlandja

Malta Today: ‘'Ridiculous' to bring up gay marriage now – Nationalist MP Karl Gouder

Tuesday, February 08, 2011 By Nestor Laiviera

Nationalist MP Karl Gouder: 'PN must take stance on divorce'

The issues of divorce, IVF, and cohabitation are of higher priority than same-sex, says Nationalist MP Karl Gouder.

Nationalist MP Karl Gouder said it is "ridiculous" for him as a gay MP to bring up the issue of same-sex marriage at a time when the general public is already divided on other issues that merit more priority.

During an interview with weekly newspaper Illum Gouder said he himself was in favour of same sex marriage, saying that everyone should have equal rights, even in the matter of adoption.

But he said discussion on same-sex marriage and adoption can only start after the public tackles other issues currently dominating the public sphere.

Asked why he came out openly about his sexual orientation in a political culture that is not particularly receptive to such displays, Gouder maintained that he was raised and educated to be himself and take a stand on what be believes in. "I come from a Jesuit school. I always learned that, in life, one must try one's best to do good, respect others, and be honest with oneself. This is Karl Gouder, and this is what I stand for," he said.

He told interviewer and Illum editor Julia Farrugia that only good came out of 'coming out' openly. "If little else, other gay people approached me and told me that I had given them a glimmer of hope with what I had done," he said.

Gouder also agreed that the PN should take a stand on divorce, and insisted that there is no room for the party to hide behind vague statements. "It is our duty to say whether the PN agrees or not," he said. "I think the country is quite divided on the issue, but the PN has more to lose if it does not take a stand on the issue."

Asked about Minister Austin Gatt's ultimatum that he would resign from parliament if the party pronounced itself in favour of divorce, Gouder maintained that "nobody is bigger than the party."

"If anyone feels that his or her principles supersede the decision taken, then he or she should step aside," he said. Emphasising that Gatt was always loyal to the party, he said that that the "real damage" would have been in Gatt held the government in ransom by threatening to destabilise the government if the PN opted to support the introduction of divorce.

Asked however if Gatt's grandstanding was significant in the light that he has already announced his intention to withdrawn from politics come election time, Gouder said that a lot can happen in two years.

"I admire him, but I didn't do the same. I admire the fact that for him, the divorce issue is something significant," he said. "I didn't do likewise because I am comfortable as I am."

"We all have our own principles from which we do not budge," Gouder said however.

Thursday, 10 February 2011

Independent: Soul searching
6.2.11? by Josie Muscat

There is more to politics than what we read about in the media. The dramas we see on television are often closer to the truth. It is a cruel fact of political life that any politician has to watch his back more than he has to guard his front. This reality becomes even more pressing when turmoil hits a party.

I have lived through the worst political turmoil this island has ever seen. The general picture has been amply documented and needs no addition. I became active in the PN at a very young age and had strongly imbibed the tenets of the party summed up in the slogan Religio et Patria. To me both words meant a lot and they still do. I have written about this before. The discussions that have been taking place between conservatives and the younger MPs who insist that, since their divergent views were taken into the fold they should not be held against them now, wash through me in a wave of regret and hope. It is refreshing that they can speak out like this without retribution. It may be a sign of a party that, despite all the problems it is facing – some of them of its own making – is mature enough to tolerate such debate. It could also mean that party discipline and/or party loyalty has slackened.

It was different for me. Eager to put on the table my own contribution towards unlocking the stalemate at that time, I had met Mr Mintoff in an attempt to bring him on board before submitting proposals to the party. I did not watch my back closely enough. I was also the only PN deputy to vote against the Neutrality Bill in Parliament, as I was not prepared to submit to another round of Mintoff blackmail like I had done in 1974. But I knew full well that I would not be blocking what the party had decided upon. And when I was locked out of the parliamentary group, I bowed my head and remained loyal to the party. It was just that for me, as it seems to be for some others now, principles came before the need to win and give the country the new direction it needed. Every compromise comes at a price and the PN is still paying for the compromises it had to reach at that time.

There was nobody then to say that speaking out would not mean being locked out of the classroom. At no point in my admittedly turbulent career did I ever try to threaten the party although, when certain principles I held dear looked as if they were about to be tossed to the wind, I stuck to my guns for I too put the interests of the country before the garnering of votes or appearing good in the eyes of my peers. And eventually, as space for dissent seemed to shrink, I left.

I have been obsessed with what I consider to be fast disappearing values, an obsession that has given some editors and columnists plenty of ammunition. But when a society starts feeling that because it is not as "open" as others it must be in the wrong, I worry. For what do I see around me? Family breakups and cohabitation, the forging of relationships based only on sex, the vanishing frontier between what is lewd and what is decent, muck journalism masquerading as intellectual content, the increasing demand for abortion as a result of one-night stands or the flimsiest of relationships, demands for divorce and same-sex marriages accompanied by what is seen as a right to adopt children, the proven corruption in high offices of the state, the desecration of a priceless cultural and artistic heritage, the rape of the countryside, the rise of individual interests that do not care for the common good, the replacement of all that used to be considered honourable by market values where everything comes at a price.

How much of all this has attracted passionate debate within the two main political parties?

It is all a far cry from the days when Malta had to choose between the right to protest and not get beaten up, the right to own property without it being taken away from you, the right to free and open speech without having your media closed down, the right to express an opinion without the fear of being transferred to another posting, the right to visit your constituents without being shot at or harassed, the right to enjoy police protection without seeing the uniform itself as a threat.

History is about the clash of philosophies not the hunt for office. And in my prime that is what the battle was all about. Socialism lost out not only in Malta but, as we can see today, in the entire EU where socialism had to retreat and become born again as democratic socialism. And even then, it has been rejected in most European elections and is now wondering what to do and where it can find a new and valid raison d'être. This happens to all movements including political parties. In changing times, one has to decide whether to court applause or keep to that glue every society needs if it is to function. Social democracy now looks upon Blair and Schroeder's third way as having supped with the devil and losing their soul in the process.

In truth many people today are no longer looking for truth, but instead they are looking for a smooth, easy, comfortable context that will allow them to live the way they please and still obtain assurance of what they consider to be salvation. But I still believe that I have no right to another man's wife or to any of his property, that I should not commit adultery, that I should not steal under any pretext, that I should not commit murder, that I keep my given word and that I should still honour my father and mother and love my wife and my family through good and bad times.

So is the PN merely a rainbow coalition embracing every possible view it can accommodate? Is it still a party dedicated to leading our people along the paths of honour, decency, social solidarity, democratic belief and practice? Does it still honour its Christian heritage in full? Is it still interested in presenting candidates that offer the best possible role models at a time when these are admittedly hard to find? Is it prepared to accept dubious partners who might sustain it in office or would it rather appeal to the better side of humanity, the one that eventually beats all odds?

All Nationalist MPs must remember that the name of the party itself is a pledge to work for the common good of the nation they claim to serve.

Independent: Labour's star speaker

6.2.11? by Daphne Caruana Galizia

The Labour Party wheeled out its star speaker to thunderous applause at its annual general conference. No, it wasn't Inspector Farrugia, who spoke later with a diskors mqanqal. It was the leader of the Bulgarian Socialist Party, who was voted out of power in 2009.

The Labour Party spent much of my lifetime taking direction from Libya, North Korea and Romania under Ceaucescu. Now that we're in the European Union, no thanks to its efforts, it's going to start rubbing shoulders with the worst-performing EU member states. It could have brought in somebody from the Greek socialist party to tell us where Malta is going wrong with the economy. But Greece wasn't part of the former Soviet bloc, and its socialist party isn't packed to the gills with Communists who transmogrified, after the fall of the Berlin Wall, into socialists - so New Old Labour international secretary Alex Sceberras Trigona doesn't like them as much.

Sergei Stanishev began by telling the Labour delegates that Maltese families can have job security only if there is a socially sensitive government with a clear vision. He is right, of course, except for the fact that he meant Labour. Perhaps he is the only person among us who has read the electoral programme which New Old Labour man Karmenu Vella hasn't written. Mr Stanishev, who was educated at Moscow State University, who had Russian citizenship until 1996 and whose father was a member of the Communist Party Politburo, would have been most impressed.

Mr Stanishev was at great pains to draw on the similarities between him and Joseph Muscat who, he said, is "known in Europe" (jafuh in-nies, eh). Nobody appears to have briefed him properly, or he would have known that on the most significant political matter of all, Dr Muscat and he part company. When he was prime minister of Bulgaria, Mr Stanishev committed his party to seeking EU membership and worked hard towards that end. His counterpart in Malta did the reverse. He campaigned hard against EU membership and he wrote articles and produced television programmes explaining why we should vote No.

Members of the homosexual ghetto which Labour set up to hive off the fairies and dykes, which is how the redneck delegates see them, would have been disappointed at Mr Stanishev's failure to mention gay rights. But better that he said nothing than say what he really feels. When Bulgarians held their first gay pride parade as late as 2008, Prime Minister Stanishev was aghast, telling the press that he did not approve of "the manifestation and demonstration of such orientations". The queens should have stayed in the closet.

Women don't fare much better. To impress his party colleagues with his masculinity, Mr Stanishev once roared up to a meeting on a motorbike, with these words emblazoned on the back of his jacket: 'If you're reading this, Elena must have fallen off en route.' Elena is the woman he lives with. The Labour delegates might find that sort of thing amusing. After all, post il-mara huwa d-dar, and men should be paid a living wage so that wives don't have an excuse to go out to work and make them wash their own socks.

Far more serious are the accusations of corruption and failure to deal with corruption which were levelled against Mr Stanishev by the European Commission when he was prime minister. The Guardian – Britain's mainstream leftwing newspaper that is generally in thrall to socialist politicians – ran a piece in 2008 that revealed plans for real estate development on a part of the Bulgarian coast that is under EU environmental protection. The Guardian was interested because of the involvement of a British architectural firm, which had partnered up for this purpose with Prime Minister Stanishev's brother.

Around that time, the BBC reported that the European Commission planned to block almost $1 billion in funds destined for Bulgaria as a penalty for its failure to tackle corruption and organised crime, which prejudiced its chances of joining the Schengen area. This was under Sergei Stanishev's watch, which means that he is a fine one to tell us what to do and how to do it, though a most appropriate speaker for a Malta Labour Party conference.

The European Commission's nine-page report on the failure of Mr Stanishev's government to deal with organised crime and corruption was, the BBC said, "possibly the most scathing ever written by the EU executive about a member state". The report concluded that Bulgaria "has to make the commitment to cleanse its administration and ensure that the generous support it receives from the EU actually reaches its citizens and is not siphoned off by corrupt officials, operating together with organised crime."

That same week, Bulgarian newspapers published a leaked document by the EU's anti-fraud office, which investigated irregularities in the spending of $50 million in farm-funds. The document said that "powerful forces in the Bulgarian government and/or other state institutions" are not interested in punishing the corruption.

Mr Stanishev denied the allegations, but one of his most powerful ministers, the minister of the interior, was forced to step down after newspaper revelations that he had meetings with crime bosses, and allegations that his officials had leaked confidential information to members of the Bulgarian mafia. Then the head of the government's roads agency was forced to resign after giving contracts worth €50 million to his brother. The Sunday Times (London) said at the time that this "confirmed the worst fears of those who doubted the country's suitability for EU membership...despite repeated promises from the Socialist government of Sergei Stanishev to guarantee financial and legal probity, patience is wearing thin among fellow EU members. Since 2000, Bulgaria has had 150 mafia-style killings but not one conviction."

When The Sunday Times spoke to him, Sergei Stanishev said his government hadn't had time to concentrate on corruption or organised crime because it was too busy preparing for EU membership. "The government and parliament worked without any summer or winter holidays the year before our accession because it was very important to prove to ourselves as a nation that Bulgaria, when mobilised, can achieve goals," he said. "Somehow there was a kind of relaxation mentality. 'We did everything well, so we can relax', and this is a very substantial part of the problem now."

Sergei Stanishev's fragile coalition was not returned to power when Bulgaria held its general election in 2009. But his tribulations are not over. The Bulgarian press reported last summer that he is to face prosecution for the disappearance, while he was prime minister, of classified documents belonging to the State Agency for National Security, which was set up to fight top-level corruption and organised crime.

I'm guessing that the Maltese socialists were told nothing of this as they sat and listened to him (ara x'wiehed gabilna Joseph), filling the air with their clapping. And I'm betting that none of them bothered to Google him before the speech or after it, either, because if Joseph, Toni and Anglu presented him to them, then they must accept him unquestioningly. The odd thing is that no reporter appears to have bothered Googling him, either – though today's stories might reveal otherwise.

Sergei Stanishev told his audience at Labour HQ in Mile End that the European Union needs more socialist parties in government for the sake of transparency. The man has a nerve, but then he's a socialist. He was there as the guest of people who have a nerve, too, like our minister of industry from 1981, who is now writing the would-be Labour government's electoral programme for 2013 to 2018. It's a damn shame Mr Stanishev didn't illustrate his talk with a Powerpoint presentation of some examples of successful and transparent socialist governments in Europe – Spain's, for example, or Greece's, or Portugal's. Or even his own.

But that's an idea for Labour's annual general conference next year.

Tuesday, 8 February 2011

It-Torċa: [2010] Sena ħelwa għall-gays madwar id-dinja... morra f'Malta

Iż-żwieġ gay jiddaħħal fl-Iżlanda, il-Portugall, l-Arġentina, il-bliet ta' Messiku u Kalifornja. Id-dritt ta' Partnership jiddaħħal fl-Irlanda.
6.2.2011 minn Dr Inġ. Patrick Attard

IS-SENA 2010 kienet importanti ħafna għall-Komunità Liżbjana, Gay, Bisesswali u Transesswali (LGBT) madwar id-dinja. Iż-żwieġ gay kien introdott fl-Iżlanda, il-Portugal, l-Arġentina, il-Belt ta' Messiku u Kalifornja. 'Partnership' bejn koppji tal-istess sess kien introdott fl-Irlanda.

Il-Portugall daħħal iż-żwieġ minkejja li l-Papa qal li dan hu theddida insidjuża u perikoluża għall-ġid komuni. Fl-Arġentina, il-Kardinal Bergoglio qal li ż-żwieġ bejn koppji gay hu x-xogħol tax-xitan u organizza protesti kbar b'aktar minn 80,000 ruħ fit-toroq tal-Kapitali Buenos Aires. Il-Knisja Kattolika ppruvat kull gambetta possibbli biex dan iż-żwieġ ma jidħolx u ngħaqdet saħansitra mal-Musulmani. Is-Sindku tal-Belt tal-Messiku għamel libell kontra l-isqof tal-Belt wara li qal li ż-żwieġ daħal wara li xxaħħmu l-Imħallfin biex tidħol il-liġi.

F'Kuba, Fidel Castro ħa responsabbiltà tal-persekuzzjoni ta' nies gay taħt ir-reġim tiegħu.

F'Malawi, koppja ta' rġiel gay ingħataw 14-il sena ħabs wara li għamlu ċelebrazzjoni simbolika ta' żwieġ. Huma nħelsu wara maħfra presidenzjali. Kien hemm pressjoni mill-Ġnus Magħquda li sejħu din is-sentenza bħala preċedent perikoluż.

Ħafna nies kienu msawta u arrestati wara li l-Pulizija waqqfet Gay Pride fil-Belarus.

Attivisti Gay ġo Moska kienu arrestati minn Pulizija Russa. Dawn l-attivisti kienu qed jipprotestaw fuq l-imġieba tas-Sindku li wera ħafna mibgħeda lejn l-omosesswali. Il-Qorti Ewropea tad-Drittijiet tal-Bniedem ordnat kumpens lil dawn l-attivisti.

Il-Parlament Ewropew irid li l-pajjiżi fl-Unjoni Ewropea jirrikonoxxu relazzjonijiet bejn persuni tal-istess sess. Wara dan il-vot il-Kummisjoni Ewropea se tkompli taħdem fuq ir-rikonoxximent ta' partnerships jew żwiġijiet f'pajjiżi differenti għad-drittijiet ta' koppji tal-istess sess fl-Unjoni Ewropea.

Il-President tal-Istati Uniti, Barack Obama ħa sehem fil-kampanja 'It Gets Better' kontra s-suwiċidiji ta' persuni gay. Il-kampanja kienet organizzata wara s-suwiċidju ta' Tyler Clementi, student tal-mużika. Il-President Obama ukoll temm il-Policy Don't Ask Don't Tell fl-armata fejn persuni gay li ma ħbewx l-orjentazzjoni sesswali tagħhom m'għandhomx għalfejn jibżgħu li se jitkeċċew mill-armata.

Il-Knisja Kattolika kkawżat rabja kbira bl-iskandlu tal-abbuż sesswali fuq it-tfal. Il-Kardinal Bertone (In-numru tnejn tal-Papa) ddikjara li l-omosesswalità hi il-kawża tal-abbużi u ddefenda ċ-ċelibat. Il-kumment ħoloq rabja fost gruppi tad-drittijiet tal-persuni gay li qalu li l-iskandlu tal-abbuż sesswali minn membri tal-kleru mhux problema omosesswali.

Franza ikkundannat lill-Vatikan li pprova jitfa l-ħtija fuq il-qassisin gay. Wara, il-Kardinali Herranz u Sodano ddikjaraw li hawn kampanja ta' mibgħeda kontra l-Knisja Kattolika. Iżda l-Knisja Kattolika tal-Ingilterra u Wales qalet li ma taqbilx mal-kummenti tal-Kardinal Bertone. Father Marcus Stock qal li m'hemm l-ebda informazzjoni empirika li tgħaqqad l-omosesswalità mal-pedofelija. Il-Vatikan wara tbiegħed mill-kummenti ta' Bertone.

F' Malta Fr. Renè Camilleri f'intervista f'April qal li ma jaħsibx li l-omosesswalità hi l-problema. Id-deputat Helena Dalli kellha kliem iebes lejn il-Kardinal Bertone u qalet li l-Knisja tmur pass 'il quddiem u pass lura.

Il-Papa Benedittu XVI żar Malta u r-Renju Unit, fejn kien hemm protesti kontrih u fi Spanja ntlaqa' b' koppji gay jitbewsu fit-toroq li għadda minnhom. Is-sena spiċċat tajjeb għall-Papa li ammetta fil-Ktieb "Light of the World" li l-kondom jista' jintuża biex ikun evitat il-virus tal-AIDS. Qabel kien qajjem rabja fi triqtu lejn il-Kamerun fl-2009, meta kien qal li l-kondom ixerred il-virus.

U bil-ħaqq, Ricky Martin qalilna li hu gay u Elton John sar missier.

...morra f'Malta

Is-sena 2010 ma kienet tajba xejn għall-komunità LGBT Maltija.

Ftit ġranet ilu sirna nafu li mill-inqas 8 mil-31 suwiċidji li saru matul is-sena li għaddiet kienu minn persuni gay. Din hi figura tal-biżà meta tqis li 25% tas-suwiċidji saru minn 5% tal-popolazzjoni. Din hi figura allarmanti mmens u filwaqt li għandna nipproteġu l-privatezza tal-familja nvoluta ma jfissirx li m'għandna nagħmlu xejn. Wara kull mewta hemm familja mkissra u ma rridux ninsew li għal kull mewta hemm ħafna oħrajn li qegħdin ibatu iżda ma jaslux sa din l-estremità.

Intant, f'Jannar attivisti Gay oġġezzjonaw għall-kummenti tal-President George Abela meta kien qiegħed jagħti definizzjoni tal-familja.

Fi Frar, il-Mexxej tal-Partit Laburista (PL) Joseph Muscat qal li m'hemmx post għal nies li jobgħodu lill-gays fil-moviment ġdid tal-Labour. Hu qal ukoll li jrid Stat Sekulari bi ħbiberija mal-Knisja Kattolika.

Ktieb storiku

F'Marzu ħareġ ktieb fuq l-istorja Maltija rigward l-omosesswalità. 'Queer Mediterranean Memories' miktub mill-avukat Joseph Carmel Chetcuti ħoloq kontroversja għax fost ħafna affarijiet kien hemm li San Ġorġ Preca kien gay. Dan il-ktieb kien ikkundanndat mill-isqfijiet Maltin. Din il-kundanna kienet mogħtija prominenza fil-gazzetta 'IL-MUMENT' li s-soltu kważi qatt ma tikteb aħbarijiet fuq il-komunità gay.

Rapport fuq il-BBC dwar il-militari fl-Ewropa qal li nies gay ma jistgħux iservu apertament f'Malta. Dan kien miċħud mill-Forzi Armati ta' Malta li qalet li ma tagħmel l-ebda diskriminizazzjoni kontra nies gay u għandha attitudni "Live and Let Live" (Għix u ħalli lil min jgħix).

Karl Gouder (PN) kien elett fil-Parlament bħala l-ewwel deputat apertament gay. Sa issa jidher li ma għamel xejn għall-komunità gay.

Id-deputat Laburista Adrian Vassallo qal li jippreferi joqgħod fl-Iran. Forsi għandu jistaqsi lil Ebrahim Hamidi li kien se jiġi mgħallaq għax kien omosesswali.

Cyrus Engerer, kunsillier Nazzjonalista li ddikjara li hu gay qal li jaħsibha jibdilx għall-Partit Laburista jekk dan jirrikonoxxi żwieġ bejn koppji tal-istess sess. Il-Mexxej tal-Partit Laburista reġa' kkonferma li lest li joffri Partnership mingħajr adozzjoni. Cyrus Engerer qajjem kontroversja meta bies lill-partner tiegħu waqt il-gay pride u kumbinazzjoni deher fuq il-kamera tat-televiżjoni. Il-kunsilliera Sandra Camilleri qalet li Engerer kellu jitkeċċa mill-Parit Nazzjonalista talli wera l-attitudni tiegħu.

B'turija ta' rispett, lejn il-komunità Gay f'Malta, il-British High Commission tellgħet il-bandiera tal-qawsalla waqt il-ġimgħa tal-Gay Pride.

Ġo l-istat ta' Victoria, Awstralja, id-deputat sindku ta' Hobson Bay, Tony Briffa li twielet b'kundizzjoni Intersex iddikjara l-ġeneru tiegħu u qal li dejjem kellu jiġġieled biex isib lilu innifsu. Qal li ma kinetx fuq jekk isirx raġel iżda li kellu jsib lilu innifsu u mhux kif interferew it-tobba.

Reliġjon u Pulizija

F'mument rari ta' għaqda, il-mexxejja Musulmani u Kattoliċi Maltin ingħaqdu kontra ż-żwieġ gay. Il-qbil waqaf meta bdew jitkellmu fuq id-divorzju. Umanisti u attivisti gay iddeploraw dawn il-kummenti.

F'artiklu fit-TORĊA, Maria Borg Vella sabet li ma tistax tbus lill-partner tiegħek gay fil-pubbliku f' Ħal Qormi għax il-Pulizija jiġu għalik dak il-ħin stess iżda mhux daqshekk ħażin il-Belt, San Pawl il-Baħar u ż-Żejtun.


Id-deputat Nazzjonalista Jeffrey Pullicino Orlando ppreżenta abozz ta' liġi għall-introduzzjoni tad-divorzju. F'Awwissu Mons. Gouder kien ikkwotat jgħid li dawk li jivvutaw favur id-divorzju ikunu qed jagħmlu dnub u dan qajjem reazzjoni qawwija.

Iktar 'il quddiem Jeffrey Pullicino Orlando ppreżenta abbozz ta' liġi mad-deputat Laburista Evarist Bartolo. Bartolo ukoll ippreżenta abozz ta' liġi li jipproteġi lil nies transesswali.

Id-Deputat Laburista Owen Bonnici staqsa lil Ministru tar-Riżorsi il-Perit George Pullicino jekk jiddiskriminax fuq bażi ta' orjentazzjoni sesswali meta jimpjega nies fis-segretarjat privat tiegħu. Ir-risposta kienet Le.

Evarist Bartolo staqsa lill-Ministru tal-Ġustizzja meta Malta se tagħti drittijiet lil koppji tal-istess sess u semma l-Irlanda bħala eżempju fejn il-Partnership ċivili kien għadu kif ġie introdott. Il-Ministru qal li dak li jiġri f'pajjiżi oħra m'għandux effett fuq Malta.

Bil-ħaqq, il-Prim Ministru wiegħed f'Mejju li għadda li sa l-aħħar tal-2010 kienet se tkun introdotta l-Liġi tal-Koabitazzjoni. S'issa lanqas l-abbozz ta' liġi ma kien ippreżentat.

Qorti Konstituzzjonali

Joanne Cassar, mara li twieldet b'organi sesswali ta' raġel u li għamlet l-operazzjonijiet meħtieġa biex il-ġisem tagħha jkun konformi ma' l-identità tagħha kienet għamlet l-aħbarijiet meta rebħet id-dritt li jinbidel iċ-ċertifikat ta-twelid u l-Karta ta' l-Identità. Madanakollu hi kienet imwaqqfa milli tiżżewweġ.

Rebħet id-dritt li tiżżewweġ f'Diċembru iżda l-Avukat Ġenerali appella, u l-appell se jinstema' l-14 ta' Frar, jum il-maħbubin!

L-Avukat Ġenerali fl-Appell tiegħu qal li jekk nagħtu d-dritt lil Joanne biex tiżżewweġ, ikunu jridu jiżżewġu ukoll l-gays u dan imur kontra l-Ordni Pubblika Maltija.

Intant, il-politika fuq is-saħħa sesswali kient ippreżentata wara għaxar snin, iżda l-kontenut kien muri lill-Kurja li naqqset s-sustanza.

Min-naħa l-oħra l-Ministru ta' l-Edukazzjoni, Dolores Cristina qalet li l-Kumissjoni għall-Promozzjoni tal-Ugwaljanza (NCPE) għandha tinkludi l-orjentazzjoni sesswali fil-kompetenza tagħha. Dan hu l-uniku sinjal pożittiv tal-Gvern Nazzjonalista fl-2010. Insomma, din m'għandha tissorprendi lil ħadd jekk il-Gvern Nazzjonalista jara l-omosesswalità bħala realtà ġdida skont il-kunsillier tax-Xagħra, Għawdex, Kevin Cutajar. Bil-ħaqq, issa l-Gvern jinteressah x'nagħmlu fil-kamra tas-sodda.

Il-Malta Gay Rights Movement stqarret li hemm diskriminazzjoni kbira kontra l-komunità LGBT fl-isferi kollha. Il-każ ta' raġel li kellu jagħżel bejn il-ġenituri anzjani u l-partner barrani hu l-aktar wieħed tal-biki. Dan il-każ kien żvelat minn Victor Vella fit-TORĊA f'Mejju li għadda. Il-kumpassjoni Maltija marret il-baħar.

Kif tista' ma ċċempilx!

Nota: Dan it-tagħrif inġabar mill-Inġinier u attivist gay Patrick Attard. Tista' taqra l-artikli li fuqhom ibbażat ir-Round-Up 2010 hawn: