Bad Religion – The Politics And The Freedom of Speech

Feelings — 17.10.2018

A year ago I was walking the streets of Madrid once I got a message and stopped! It was from my Maltese friend who told me some terrible news. A well-known Maltese journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia was murdered by a car bomb. Is there anything more brutal than blow a human person in the middle of the day so that the body parts are everywhere in the field? I was shocked from what I heard and saw. It still feels crazy to write this down! Daphne Caruana Galizia was the number one journalist of Malta who was investigating and revealed the corruption, which is happening on the island, everywhere between the political administrates and the underworld. Daphne was one of a kind – pretty much the one and only watchdog on the island. And now she was suppressed. By whom? We still don’t know the fact today.

Until the day of the assassination of Daphne I had been mourning the confirmation cross I had lost earlier that spring when I was still living in Malta. That was an unbelievable case too. I ordered a cleaning lady for the first time in my life – that’s common amongst the expats there. That was the first and the last time I asked someone to clean my home. The cleaner had only “cleaned out” my closets – she had stepped in my personal area by opening the drawers, she had sniffed through my jewellery and underwear, she had touched everything. I felt so anxious about it. She had taken the confirmation cross with her – which is quite something when we take in a consideration that this was a catholic Maltese woman from Mdina. I wonder if her salvation was just to go in the confessional? The sad thing I felt was the fact that I’d always like to think the best about people – I don’t want to judge the book by its cover. But in this case I should have trusted my sixth sense, because I had had this strange feeling when I let the cleaner in, I had these strange vibes… The problem is that the line between an instinct and a prejudice is fine-drawn. But trust me, in future I will be following my instincts. The shitty thing in the cleaner case was that I knew the thief, had her details, but I couldn’t defame her nor the cleaning company because that could have turned against me. Without proper evidence you don’t manage here. That felt so unfair.

Until the day Daphne died. Immediately I forgot the stupid cross. Suddenly it felt meaningless, the smallest thing that could happen in Malta – now the perspective was radical. It’s hard to understand any sort of badness that happens in the world but when it’s about the violation of the human rights and taking a life of a person and being unconcerned about this that is something inexcusable and unjustified. Stealing a confirmation cross or blowing a car bomb happens in Malta just like that and feels like everyday (IN AN EU COUNTRY), and what is the most incomprehensible thing this country can’t get anything done to solve things out with honour or to act honourably. It’s a beautiful country, like a pearl of the Mediterranean on top, but inside it is rotten – just for the fact of the organised crime and that everything is available for money. The island sells citizenships and the citizens vote a prime minister with clear votes despite the corruption scandal that Daphne Caruana Galizia for instance brought about with the Panama papers and by linking prime minister Muscat’s close associates to corruption. The elections happened when I was still on the sunny island and after I left things just got crazier. Also the mafia style stabbing of the remarkable night club entrepreneur Hugo Chetcuti was something wild – wonder what was behind… All this craziness feels bad to me because this country is special and feels like the second home after all the years I spent and worked there. And these sort of things, car bombs and stabbings would never happen in my home country Finland, those are not normal, I’m just saying…

What happens in my home country though is the rise of such organisations like The Soldiers of Odin (which also spread to the world and to Malta!) or a magazine named “What the f*ck” (Mitä vittua in Finnish). Both of these have to do with the extreme right ideologies. Silencing the freedom of speech – murdering Daphne or murdering the Saudi Arabian journalist Jamal Khashoggi just lately – has happened through the ages but now we are also struggling with the other end; the fake news! I think this is the point where the people could shape up! Instead of the pointless recrimination, hate speech, negativity and denunciation of the ordinary people (which is at least happening in Finland) we could concentrate on judging the right wrongs: the violation of human rights, environmental offenses and other useful stuff that concerns the whole planet and should be a public interest. In the end the community has power – where do we want to use it is a great question. People need to become more rational and not only love and follow drama and scandals. We should pick the right battles, which basically mean fixing the mistakes we have caused. I hope the education systems all around the globe will manage to handle the very demanding time of the news flood, new medias and the fake news. Hopefully the system knows how to teach the critical media literacy and tells about the different forms of influence and persuasion – so that we understand and see more than the surface. Communication is an interesting field because it touches everyone and it never becomes insignificant, vice versa! Communication is challenging but luckily we can always monitor our own behaviour and question things like what am I believing, what am I sharing, how am I trying to influence and what am I after. I’m happy as long as I manage to evaluate the whole set and understand how am I to drive the common good. Freedom of speech is good when you know how to use it and are able to use it!

risti kaulassa Maltalla, cross

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