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A Guide to being Maltese

Breaking the mould of Maltese idiosyncrasy

Many positive adjectives can be used to describe the Maltese population, ranging from charitable, to friendly and hospitable. On the other hand, I personally believe that we can be described as an overwhelmingly intolerable bunch of people. I am finding it a constant struggle to relate to the ideal characterisation of a Maltese citizen, festered in a society that preaches about love and family, but then rejects the notion if it does not conform to the norm.

The following video has been posted to Youtube by a member of the ‘River of Love’ fellowship, in which he condemns an upcoming theatre production called “Jien Inhobb, inti Thobb” (I love, you Love) that deals with the pertinent issues of gay adoption, sexuality and society’s overview on such matters. In this video, Matthew Grech states how homosexuality is bad, a sin and is condemnable in its highest form in God’s eyes.

This video really rubbed me the wrong way, which is surprising since I thought I had become immune to the constant onslaught of “Jesus is watching”, “You are going to hell”, and “Go to church” preaches I receive from my mother (and which many Maltese still receive from the majority of their parents).

This vlogger’s contribution highlights his apparent brainwashing and deep rooted hatred to anything which does not conform to the Christian faith and more importantly, the Maltese norm. While every individual is entitle to their opinion, the dissemination of homophobic and disparaging ideologies should be condemned. Far from being a self proclaimed “ambassador of Christ representing him on this Earth”, Matthew Grech is coming across as an inept and uneducated individual.

What is the Maltese norm?

The ideal Maltese citizen should be Catholic, straight, Caucasian, married or committed and impressionable. If it were up to the Church, our political parties and our society, Malta would be a place devoid of other religions, homosexuals, foreigners of a different race, people who put their careers first or choose to be single and people who have an opinion which is not acceptable. We have all endured comments such as “are you STILL single?”, “WHEN are you getting married?”, “have you heard that so and so is GAY?” or (my personal favourite) “aren’t you tired of living abroad, don’t would want to settle down?”. This is the scenario that has been force fed to children up until the start of the internet era, in which youngsters started realising the reality of the world and chipping away from the norm.

I come from the last generation of such individuals, who have been lucky enough to evade this mould and become open minded adults that tolerate change and seek to propagate it (exceptions such as Matthew Grech and members of his club exist). I find it overwhelmingly hypocritical that Maltese people preach about how homosexuality is a choice and is bad, when the same society FORCES children to become Catholic and shuns those who are not. The following video illustrates an important point that perhaps many people have never bothered to think about: the interviewer asks people that are sceptic about the origin of homosexuality, “When did you choose to be straight?”, to which they mumble:

I once asked an elderly relative of mine to give me a reason why they think gay marriage and adoption is bad. They answered by “it is not normal and is against our faith”. I retorted this by asking them to give an explanation as to how such things would really effect their daily lives. The honest answer was “I don’t know”. It became quite obvious to me that the older generation and people like Matthew Grech are duped into a certain mindset through propaganda and brainwashing tactics – similar to how Maltese political parties recruit supporters.

I consider myself to be a ‘Straight Ally’, and I firmly support gay rights and condone homophobia. I also accept that people in Malta have a conservative attitude towards homosexuality, which is a direct result of the country’s Christian roots. I am also confident that our society is shifting away from the controlled clutches of the church, especially given  positive comments by Pope Francis, who was quoted in saying “Who am I to judge gay people?”.

However, Maltese people need to educate themselves about homosexuality and civil rights such as gay marriage and adoption. They are not a threat to society, and they definitely do not pose a danger to children. The real danger Maltese children face is losing their rights to free will, thanks to a society that prefers factory line playmobil figurines to custom made individuals.

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