What quality of life?

    Wied Ghexierem

    We are at war, and the collateral damage is all around us. It’s the centuries-old trees that have been felled. It’s the broken up stone that once made up buildings admired by generations. It’s our collapsing eco system. It’s our anxiety, our strife, and our depression.

    Yesterday, we woke up to the news that another supermarket is being proposed in Mosta – sixty meters away from another, existing supermarket and on an archeological site, no less. And all I could think when I read about it was whether it was even worth dwelling upon.

    I don’t understand how anyone would want to live this way.

    Every day I live on this island, I feel something else is being taken away from me. It has become a constant struggle to feel at peace with my surroundings. The ugliness of cranes, building sites and the soulless finished products are sometimes too much to bear. The constant loss of another tree, another green patch, another enclosed garden, another old building that had become part of the fabric of an area, has thrown me into a constant state of grief.

    I don’t understand how anyone would want to live this way. I don’t understand how the constant destruction this so-called ‘progress’ has brought to these islands makes anyone not want to scream, cry, curse and run away.

    But then I remember.

    I remember how many of our compatriots see money as the ultimate gauge of quality of life. I remember how many people have been indoctrinated into believing that it is better to remain quiet than risking their preferred political party being accused of wrongdoing. I remember how, to many people, home starts and ends at their front door.

    So, what is there to do? How do you stop a war that is being sold as one being waged for us, rather than against us?

    I wish I knew. But what I do know is that in a year defined by a pandemic, when free travel has been curbed, our usual Plan B proved to be a very fragile one. This is our home, and no matter how far we travel to get away, to have a quiet walk in the countryside, to breathe some fresh air, or to think without the constant rum-pa-pum-pum of construction work, our home will not get better unless we actively do something about it.

    And we need to work on it, because if this year has shown us anything at all, it is just how much our quality of life depends on it