Are we really serving our country?

by Prof Andrew Azzopardi, Dean, Faculty for Social Wellbeing, University of Malta

As Dean of the Faculty for Social Wellbeing, together with my academic colleagues, I am here to serve my country as we are indeed in a manner of speaking functionaries of the State. Our role is not to act simply as the intellectual foot soldiers of the Government. The service that we provide is the provision of nuanced critique which is a product of years of training, studies and scholarship in our various areas of expertise. Unlike politicians and party apologists, who may be swayed by temptation to tell people what they want to hear, we strive to ensure that the standard of argumentation we put forward is honest, transparent, logical and evidence-based.

To that end please allow me to call on Prime Minister Joseph Muscat to cede his hazardous attachment to the seat of power. His presence in Castille risks prejudicing the investigation even if I am sure that the broad powers he has at his disposal will not be used illicitly. Once again I reiterate that it is not enough for justice to be done, justice must be seen to be done. How can Prime Minister Muscat guarantee impartiality and transparency when proceedings which might implicate persons in his office, persons he is politically responsible for, while still being in office?  How can he, with procedures currently underway, that might implicate his former right-hand man (when still in Office), with Civil Society protesting practically every day, with an entire nation in high levels of distress and with an inter/national press focused on these serious matters feel that the solution is a series of farewell parties around the Country?

I condemn this exercise in stardom at this juncture of our nation’s history and call on the Prime Minister to use his exceptional political savviness and shrewdness to understand that a more sombre and diminutive approach is needed if he wishes to contribute to this Country getting back to its normality.

I augur as always that this is a moment of self-reflection. It is not the time for elitist confirmations nor is it the time to blindly seek tribal belonging. The divisions sown in our society along the classes serve no one.

We need to understand that freedom and emancipation cannot be enjoyed if they become bywords for greed and unrestrained opportunism. These unfortunate events require more than a change of faces, it requires that we take on the full mantle of adult nationhood and think not only about our immediate self-interest but look to the future with optimism.

We are the State.