Cutting your nose to spite your face

    Miguela Xuereb

    It’s been a wonderful few weeks for progress, hasn’t it? Between the 400-year-old trees chopped down in Dingli to make way for unneeded roads and our largest woodlands handed over to hunters, through to Attard looking distinctly less green than it did on Monday morning, it’s just marvellous to see how civilised and progressive we are as a nation.

    I mean, who needs greenery when you have roads wide enough for a jumbo jet to perform an emergency landing on? Why would we need trees when you have petrol stations complete with restaurants and cafés, which are perfect for when you’ve been driving for 10 odd minutes and realise that you might die of starvation and dehydration before you get to the nearest village?

    Yet what is truly astounding isn’t the fact that all this is happening. Greed comes as naturally to human beings as compassion and love … sometimes, even more so. But what shouldn’t come naturally is celebrating other people taking things away from us and making our life worse. That is just dumb.

    Who needs greenery when you have roads wide enough for a jumbo jet to perform an emergency landing?

    In a country the size of a shopping mall in Abu Dhabi, you’d expect people to be aware of the fact that space is finite and that it is as precious as gold. So how come so many people who have nothing to gain from it being flattened and tarmacked or built up applaud it?

    As usual, the answer is blind (deaf and dumb) political allegiance: if someone from my party is wreaking havoc, my job is to troll every single comments board and show my support.

    When this happens, particularly in a situation like that involving our environment, the saying ‘cutting your nose to spite your face’ fits perfectly. The Maltese version, which cuts off more than just the nose, is perhaps even more apt, because that is exactly what we are doing.

    For example, by regurgitating the government’s PR spin that Malta needs wider roads rather than an immediate commitment towards the reduction of the number of cars on existing roads, we are paving the way for a time when there will be more tarmac than soil on this land (we’re probably already there). But if you do nothing to stop it, even in the very small ways we’re afforded on a daily basis, then you don’t get to complain that the streets and your house get flooded when it rains, you know? Nor do you get to complain that your kid’s asthma is worsening. What did you expect to happen when you were so reluctant to protect them in the first place?

    We could go on for hours with different examples, but the only thing that needs to be said is this: progress isn’t progress if all it does is replace what is there with something that is not beneficial to anyone bar construction companies and car importers. So what we really need to ask ourselves is: how much are we willing to lose to support those whose only aim is to enrich themselves?