I know I’m probably going out on a limb here, but – unlike many others – my first reaction when I read that the Hal Far tent village is (finally) being dismantled was not one of applause. Or rather, it was but only until I read that it is going to be replaced with “rows of pre-fabricated houses”.
Now I don’t want to give the impression that I’m a difficult-to-please so’n’so. This is definitely a step in the right direction and make no mistake about it, so kudos to the government for pulling it off. And we pulled it off without shelling out much money from our coffers too, I’d like to point out to all those doom-mongers who claimed the EU would eat us up alive.
But I also believe that there is more to be done. Starting with, maybe, eliminating the segregation of immigrants from the rest of our community. Lumping all immigrants and refugees in one artificial “village” – whether made up of tents or housing compounds – smacks of automatic, albeit perhaps unintentional, discrimination and pretty much marks all occupants as “outcasts”.
Watch the movie District 9 and you will see what I mean. Ok, I know I’m pushing it and that this attitude might not be intentional on our part – although, given the disgusting exhibitions of racism that I continue to witness on a daily basis sometimes I wonder. However, intentional or not, the facts remain: by creating these “villages” for immigrants who wind up living in Malta we are certainly not helping them gain acceptance from society at large. Read more here.