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LETTERS | Wednesday, 14 November 2007

Abortion – a vexed question

I have deliberated for some time whether I should send in my contribution on the subject of abortion, especially after Mr Tony Mifsud’s impassioned defence of the unborn foetus as evidenced in his letter dated 17 October. 
I do not wish to enter into any kind of argument with the gentleman, not due to his forceful character, which I must admit I would find too overwhelming, but because fundamentally I agree with the essence of what he says.
He obviously has very strong beliefs and, based on what he says, he no doubt does a very good job, out of a difficult one, in his chosen profession.  Where I would perhaps differ is that, I believe, in order to get one’s point across, a more subtle approach may be preferable.  One can only plant a seed in another person’s mind, then stand back and let it germinate.  If it falls on fertile ground, in time, it will take root.  If, however, one bombards another person with one’s own beliefs, the likelihood is that the person one is seeking to influence will recoil from the onslaught and become very resistant to one’s ideas.  This is human nature and it cannot be changed.
In Malta, there is a very widespread habit of talking at people, not to them, while at the same time shutting one’s ears to their argument.  The result is a lot of shouting (vide some TV programmes and ordinary discussions) with nobody willing to concede any points, in reality behaving more like grownup children. Apart from being bad for one’s health through increased frustration, higher blood pressure, etc., it just does not get anyone anywhere. There is no attempt to discuss matters in a calm and reasonable manner and the result is that they all lose sight of the original subject and nobody is any the wiser, only bruised, offended and harbouring grudges as a result. It seems that people see it as a victory to impose their will on others. It is, in fact, a defeat for everyone; is destructive and not constructive. 
Regarding abortion, which is indeed a very touchy subject, there is a large body of people, even Catholics in Catholic countries, who do not share the opinion that it is murder, even though they may disagree with abortion. The reason for their different point of view is that they believe – rightly or wrongly is not the issue – that the soul enters the body at first breath and not while in the mother’s womb. Therefore, it is the curtailment of a life that has not yet begun to be lived. That life begins at conception is beyond question, but this is the physical aspect of life, and not necessarily the spiritual one. 
The reasoning behind this widespread belief is that while in the mother’s womb the child is being looked after and nurtured by the mother’s spirit. These people do not believe that you can get one spirit (the mother’s) impacting on another’s (the child’s) as each soul/spirit is independent one from the other and the superimposition of one on the other is not possible due to the total individuality and distinct separateness of each. From what I had gathered reading the newspaper report of an interview with Ms Rebecca Gomperts, this is what she believes. It would be very easy to say that such a belief is wrong, but who is to say that it is correct that the foetus has a soul? We simply do not know for sure. There are many, many things we do not know for, after all, who knows what spirit is and who understands the meaning of life? There are, of course, many people who believe that we are just a mass of flesh and bones with a mind, without thinking any further than that; assuming they are able to go further in their thoughts.
Beliefs, like modes of action, thoughts, emotions, etc., are all individual to each one and the complicated mixture of all sets us up in a whole complex structure of coping with what life throws at us. Whether we are right or wrong, only time and experience of life can teach each one of us on an individual basis. We all make mistakes, big and small, and they are all intricately bound with the right decisions which we also make. Life is like a rope made up of many fine strands interwoven tightly together. One could say, “We do not make life: life makes us.”
My last words go to Mr Mifsud, if he can accept what I have to say.  I would suggest you adopt a more detached attitude as you cannot make people submit to your will, which besides would not be right for you, nor for them. Let people have their freedom of thought and choice. By all means, guide them in a calm and reassuring manner pointing out all the options they have as opposed to abortion. Sell your product (your options) in a manner that inspires them with confidence in you and in what you say and have to offer. With tact and subtlety, you will find that she or they will probably end up agreeing with what you say and you will make them feel as if the decision was her/their own, which is as it should be.
Leave religion out of it as the woman already feels guilty and used and misused as it is, and to increase the pressure on her does nobody any good. Remember the pregnant would-be mother of an unwanted child is at a loose end and in mental/emotional turmoil and probably cannot think straight, regardless of her outward appearance. To make her feel worse about herself will confuse her even more and will certainly not result in a balanced judgment and outcome on her part.
Remember also that to get to the child within her you have to work through her and obtain her willing cooperation and consent. She is the one who should ultimately decide, not you!  If you do not allow her the opportunity to think it through for herself and truly understand that your options are better for her and the coming child, her self-respect, self-esteem and self-confidence will remain damaged forever.  She herself has to put right what she has done wrong.  If the father is present, he too should be allowed the opportunity to help in putting right what he was instrumental in making wrong.
Always ask yourself the question – “If it had been me in that unfortunate situation, how would I have liked to be treated, spoken to and helped?”

Alexander Cortis


Corruption prescription

Allow me to refer to the news item entitled ‘Labour MP tables bill against prescription on corruption’ (MaltaToday Midweek, 7 November, 2007) which report stated that Labour MP Joe Brincat had tabled a private member’s bill in Parliament requesting the removal of prescriptive time on crimes involving the corruption of local Members of Parliament.
One wonders why Joe Brincat did not present an identical bill as from 12 June, 1971 up to 9 May, 1987 when Lorry Sant, also previously mentioned in the MaltaToday Midweek report, was Minister of Public Works.
Obviously enough, no one can doubt that the Malta Labour Party wants corruption to be investigated but only when it is not in power.

Edward Torpiano


Open letter to AD

Dr Harry Vassallo… you and I never met, I guess, but I have joined AD. I have always been a Nationalist (small n) supporter until about a year or so ago. I am so disillusioned with the political bunch sitting in parliament – all 65 of them.
Consequently, I had a chance to find out about the party as an alternative to my usual blue vote. I decided to quit fooling myself, and wish to vote for your party.
Please allow me to read your agenda for the upcoming legislature. I am a management and business consultant and live here in Malta (I am on the island at the moment) and also in Berkshire UK.

Jo Said
Via email

Price hikes and the EU

Of course Mr Reginald Fava there is going to be a price explosion after March 2008. Any realist knows that! It has happened in all the other EU nations who adopted the Euro as their money. Ask the Italians, the Spanish… etc.
In our case it was a mighty blunder, but then who would listen to that argument as it looks clear to me that the promoters of Malta joining the EU were never thinking of Malta’s future but their own.
What should have been done was to put our house in order first and then, once we have cleaned up everything and everything is sparkling from our side, we would have started talks about joining the EU as we would hold an advantage over these Utopians. But the promoters were in one almighty hurry for Malta to join the EU. Both political parties blundered over the issue. I would like to ask them who really benefited from this? I for sure didn’t.
Those who voted in favour were conned but those who were against it are really angry about it as their no vote counted for nothing in the end. Some bright spark might say that is democracy for you. He might be right. But then if that is democracy then I ask him if Malta can get out of the EU because that is democracy as well!

Philip Pace


The ruse behind the pension advert

One of the many adverts appearing in all newspapers – and paid for by you and I and not the PN cashier – shows a woman saying: “My husband can continue working and still receive his full pension”.
What this woman should have continued saying is that if her husband is 45 years of age or younger – and the woman in the advert looks as if she is in her late 30s or early 40s – her husband will have to keep on working up to the age of 65 – and would have had to pay national insurance for 40 years instead of 30 years as at present, before he can start receiving his full pension!
This would mean that he would have forfeited, or lost, his full pension for four years and would have continued paying his N.I. contribution for an extra four years too. Let us say his pension would have been in the region of Lm3,000 per year (on present day average) this would mean a loss of Lm12,000. And with an N.I. contribution of, say, Lm600 per year (again on present day wages of Lm6,000) this would amount to a further loss of Lm2,400, bringing a total loss of Lm14,400! Once wages would be much higher in 20 yeas’ time, the total loss will be much higher still!
Only those in the current 55 to 60 year bracket would be able to benefit fully for four years, receiving their full pension and receiving their salary until they reach the retiring age of 65 years as planned by the present Gonzi government.
Those who will not be allowed to carry on working beyond the present retiring age of 61 years, or do not wish to continue working after reaching that age, will not benefit anything at all. Or lose part of their pension when the retiring age starts to increase gradually up to 65 years.
So much for all the hype created by the PN government in the said advert, paid for by you and me!

Eddy Privitera


Price explosion

I refer to your report that the Price Stability Agreements will lead to an “explosion of prices” quoting medicines importer Reginald Fava.
I strongly object to this sweeping statement coming from an importer who opted not to be part of this agreement.
My company is a signatory to the Price Stability Agreement, the aim of which is to give consumer confidence enabling a smooth changeover to the Euro. 
We assure our customers that there will not be an “explosion of prices” of medicines or other products imported by our company, when the agreement ends in March.

David Stellini
Managing Director,
Charles de Giorgio Ltd


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