The recent fireworks factory blast in Gharb, Gozo, has left a bitter taste in many people's mouths not only with regard to the lack of safety procedures involved which, in all probability, led to the explosion of the factory, but also to the amount of lives that this incident has taken. Unfortunately, in Malta, we seem to have the mentality that something tragic is needed in order for the authorities (if any!) to take due action; and even when this happens, what due action is taken is something that is generally beyond the general public, i.e. it is never reported. We just have to face the reality that we're living in a state where practically everyone covers up for one another at whatever cost, even if it means that the lives of other people are at stake.
Of course, first, second and third come the protection of our personal interests, and then only after that - and there should indeed be a big IF inserted into that equation - come the interests of the public at large and the state in general. Crazy and mentally demented as he might be, perhaps Norman Lowell was right when he recently called the public at large a bunch of sheep - for they generally religiously follow and accept anything that someone with the remotest hint of power says. It's pathetic, to say the least.
That aside, however, I found it blatantly ridiculous - even more so than certain things that occur on these islands - that the Xaghra feast scheduled for today was not cancelled in light of this recent tragedy, the official reason being that those who died did not form part of the Xaghra locality and therefore the village should not be affected by it. The link between the two instances, that being the feast in question and the fireworks factory as mentioned above, was that this factory was actually producing fireworks for the Xaghra feast. I beg to imagine what the hell might have been going through the mind of the parish priest in question when he uttered these comments, and where his Christian roots have gone. The least that the community could have done, as a sign of respect for those people who perished in this blast and their surviving families - and just for the record, this was not the first explosion at this factory, for another such explosion occurred in 2005(!!) - was cancel the feast. But no, and I quote Daphne Caruana Galizia here because I agree with her viewpoint 100% in this instance, the community has just lost thousands of euros worth of fireworks; it would be a shame if the amount of money spent on the village feast had to suffer the same fate!
Honestly, sometimes I wonder how certain people were educated. It's a trait that's becoming all too familiar with time, placing our personal agendas before that which makes sense in the context of things. The shocking thing is that the Xaghra feast continues to be backed by its parish, and that there are also some people who are willing to celebrate the night away, drunk on cheap ass beer and lying down in the middle of Xaghra's main square, while five people who were working on their fireworks are dead. Obviously, thinking that what happened is not tragic and that the show must nonetheless go on. It's one of the biggest paradoxes I could ever imagine - but at the end of the day, the most important thing is that we boast about being a Christian country, isn't it?
God Bless You all,