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Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Bombs Away

I meant to blog about this yesterday but I'm just too busy right now. Still, I couldn't leave this alone; although there isn't really much to say (other than the obvious), there certainly is a lot to think about.

Portes des Bombes - vandal attack - 3 May 2005The attacks on Portes des Bombes and the Catholic institute in Floriana come at a critical moment as Malta enters its second year as a full member of the EU. Such vandalism happens in many other countries, some of which are better equipped that Malta (mainly through CCTV) to rein in the perpetrators.

I believe that the choice of location and the form of the attacks is not inconsequential. In 2003 the Government made a big deal about spending over Lm50,0000 to clean-up/restore the old Portes des Bombes in time for Malta's accession to the EU. So this clearly flies against that sort of effort and the pomp and circumstance that go with it. It's also a very visible location. Then again, it's somewhat pranky that the vandals did no permanent damage. Can you imagine how much worse things would be today if they had used a small bomb instead of tar to make their mark?

The Catholic institute has been vandalized before. The politically charged graffiti "divorzju issa!!" (divorce now!!) marked the west side of the building throughout most of the 1980s; it has also been immortalised in Immanuel Mifsud's L-Istejjer Strambi ta' Sara Sue Sammut. This week's attack on the CI is not as clearly motivated as that old one. What did the vandals have in mind? Clearer separation of church and state? Divorce and/or abortion legislation? A protest call on the election of the new pope perhaps? Or maybe just a little more tar than they thought they needed to mark the old Portes des Bombes.

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