Yesterday, England beat Sweden in the quarter finals of the 2018 World Cup. In Malta, the usual suspects carcaded for all their worth. Unlike Iceland - of equivalent population - Malta has never had a national team to cheer on in the World Cup. So, instead they cheer on a proxy team of their choice and behave very much as though this team was indeed their national team.
The state of our world is never perfect. Unfortunately, our world is not - and will never be - a utopia. This time round, however, I cannot summon any enthusiasm for this world football tournament. I see it as a grotesque diversion away from the increasing right wing, racist rhetoric from all over the western world. Trump, Brexit, Malta… Photographs of dead migrant children in their rescuer arms. Harrowing videos of crying migrant children, separated from their parents. Harrowing videos of parents reunited with their children after months of separation. Captains of rescue ships prosecuted for the act of rescue. Bulldozers razing Palestinian villages, replacing these with Israeli settlements. Some British / EU immigrants – aka expats – supporting Joseph Muscat’s action of closing Maltese borders to drowning refugees.
Imagine there’s no country…
Who are we to decide that we must wall our country from some people and not others? Why are rich migrants - able to buy EU citizenship - allowed to do so, if people fleeing what must be a horrific situation – using up all their resources to get on a flimsy boat to get to an uncertain future – are not allowed to do so?
Are our consciences dead? Can we look at these images and feel nothing? How is it that we passionately care about eleven men kicking a ball on a football pitch and yet we are able to close our hearts to the images of crying or dead children? How can we – in Malta – transfer our allegiance to another country so easily and yet be immobilised in the face of such horrific inhumanity?