The young and the old

A lot of things have changed since dawn first rose to greet humanity; once, we divided ourselves into tribes and settlements. Eventually, being creatures prone to the irresistible whims of pride and ambition, we pushed ourselves further and further until we built the world we live in today. Despite this timeline of constant change (fuelled by humanity’s general hunger for knowledge), there is one common thread that manages to establish the recurring nature of one, fundamental human conundrum – the eternal, undying struggle between the older generation’s need for tradition, familiarity and power and the younger generation’s craving for recognition, change and innovation.

For untold millennia, this conflict of interests has essentially been the compass which dictated the definitive direction of society’s evolutionary process. Without the fresh input of the young, society would decay and eventually crumble – similarly, without the guidance and experience of our elders, we would lack the stage upon which we would build our future. Therefore, this train of thought raises the question that has vexed countless minds of both the past and the present; who’s to blame for the inter-generational problems we just can’t seem to solve?

I will not be presumptuous enough to say that this is an answer to that question – I am merely just another human being, and this is only my opinion. From my perspective, the biggest problem we have is the way we have distorted our list of priorities. Money has become the absolute symbol of one’s importance, and a lack of it entails a very difficult life. As a result of this, both generations are wrapped up in an unending, king-of-the-hill style war whose casualties are our values, love, communication and understanding, and peace. Instead of focusing on our future as a singular, collective population of human beings, we have self-segregated in factions and groups, desperately trying to put as much distance as possible between ourselves and any possible competition for the spoils of our planet.

If you would like additional evidence that underlines what I’m saying here, simply look at the way we handle crises and any problems that concern our society’s wellbeing. Homelessness? Some cold, calculating bastard came up with the idea of anti-homeless spikes in public spaces. Several highly dubious terrorist acts, including 9/11 and anything that came after it? Let’s bomb the living daylights out of pre-selected, Middle Eastern countries and further fuel the cycle of devastation, anger, bigotry and hatred.

Our leaders and so-called “representatives” have convincingly pulled the wool in front of our eyes, and they are fully in control of what we see, what we read, what we learn, what we eat and anything else in between. We wordlessly and obediently regurgitate the opinions of “experts” and “delegates”, fully believing that what they decide and what they want aligns with what we need. Instead of answers and transparency, we get refusals for comment and shadiness. It is for this reason that I believe that myself and anyone else who was born in my generation needs to stand up for what is right, and not blindly follow in everyone else’s footsteps. Whoever is in power always wants it to stay that way, and therefore it’s up to us to divert our terrible, downward spiral into a luxurious paradise for the rich and a hell-hole for the poor.

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John McAfee – the man that could change the world

There are several words that can be associated with the dramatic persona that is John McAfee – eccentric, multi-billionaire, ex-fugitive and genius all spring to mind. Although most of the corporate media have largely sidelined his bid, he has officially launched his campaign for the United States presidential election of 2016. A true firebrand at heart, John McAfee is truly the only candidate running for this election that may reverse the damage that has been done by the power-mongering politicians of both the past and the present.

Don’t take my word for it – look at his views regarding some of America’s most sensitive issues for yourself. He believes America’s current foreign policy of proxy warfare, covert terrorism and the supreme reign of corporations over everything else needs to radically change – in his own words, “We are not a police agency for the world. Our foreign involvements must be reigned in, and attention should be placed on looking at our own issues.” He also understands the concept that law enforcement cannot defend people with a substance abuse problem from themselves, and believes that the war on drugs should end as quickly as possible.

If you’re still not convinced by what you’ve seen so far, you can view his official presidential announcement here. He clearly understands the concept that the Declaration of Independence, one of the most important documents in the history of America, is not something to be trampled on at will by those who simply crave power and money. He fully comprehends that the role of the government is not to be powerful, but to be of service to the people that have elected it.

It is for these reasons and many more that McAfee is the only candidate that could bring actual, tangible change not just to America but to the rest of the world. Forget Hilary Clinton or Bernie Sanders (I don’t really think I need to mention Donald Trump or why I think he’s a waste of space and air) – don’t be deceived by whatever words their PR teams put in their mouths to appease the general public. Lest we forget, Hilary Clinton’s campaign has been largely bankrolled by malicious super PACs such as JP Morgan Chase & Co (one of the enormous private banks that were responsible for the financial crisis of 2008 because of currency fraud and illegal market manipulation). We should also keep in mind that Bernie Sanders, despite his surface-level appearance of a reasonable politician, has also got a shady side to his agenda (you can read here about how he believes that America should keep on giving billions of dollars in military aid to two of the world’s most repressive countries, Israel and Saudi Arabia).

In short, if there are any Americans reading this article, I urge you – set your sights on the only man who actually believes in the power of people, the truest definition of liberty. To those outside the States such as myself, I would like to say that your greatest contribution to the movement this man has started would be to learn his name and discuss his campaign with people you know, for there will be nobody else in the mainstream media that will do the same thing. The lawmakers currently in office, along with the ones who are McAfee’s competition, are afraid of men like him – men who expose the cold, hard truths and face them head-on rather than see how they can turn a profit from them. We must rally behind men and women of his calibre, or be crushed under the military-industrial machine that has vowed to send the entire world to war with itself.

The Failure of the United Nations

In a society where political leaders and their lackeys are given every material possession a person could desire and corruption rears its ugly head in every government across the world, it is practically common knowledge that men of power and wealth are almost always embroiled in political scandals just waiting to be caught and plastered all over the news. If it is a serious government, the perpetrator in question is dismissed from office and forgotten – if not, the case is normally dragged on and on until the public forgets and things can be properly covered up by another distraction (whilst said perpetrator either acquires a different form of power or gets to walk away without facing any repercussions).

However, the more time passes the more institutionalised corruption gets. At this point, it has become a network of greased palms and synchronised deals, and it doesn’t take a genius to understand why and how it’s all being done. Specifically, today I would like to discuss the fact that Saudi Arabia’s ambassador at the UN in Geneva has been chosen to chair a panel of independent experts on the UN Human Rights Council (said Council will have the authority to ‘select applicants from around the world for scores of expert roles in countries where the UN has a mandate on Human Rights’).

Allow me to elaborate – the United Nations, whose main purpose is to promote human rights amongst other important pillars of society such as peace, security and social development, has appointed a country with one of the worst human rights records in the world as its centrepiece in the Human Rights Council. Saudi Arabia is ruled by an oppressive, iron-fisted monarchy that is notoriously well-known for its ruthless treatment of any who are deemed ‘dissidents’ of the Islamic faith. The list of rights violations committed by the kingdom is practically endless – torture, corporal and capital punishment, human trafficking, sexual segregation and gender apartheid (women aren’t even allowed to drive), sectarianism and active and unscrupulous censorship of anything that hasn’t been approved by the authorities are just a few of the worst parts of living in Saudi Arabia.

Perhaps one of the most terrifying examples of Saudi Arabia’s oppression of its people and its neighbouring countries is the imprisonment and torture sentence of 1,000 lashes given to pro-democracy blogger Raif Badawi after he wrote about the importance of free speech. Some of you might now be asking yourselves why the hell would anyone in their right mind even think of giving such a responsibility to a country that executes and beheads anyone that does not comply; the answer is simple. Saudi Arabia has the second-largest hydrocarbon reserves in the world, and is simultaneously the world’s largest oil producer and exporter. As a nation, Saudi Arabia has an estimated GDP of $1.668 trillion, and over the period of 2010 – 2014 was the world’s second largest arms importer.

It is this unholy trinity of oil reserves, military expenditure and totalitarianism that has allowed Saudi Arabia to corrupt and destroy the United Nations from within and desecrate everything the UN is supposed to stand for. In its demonic alliance with the United States, it has covertly funded and shaped terrorism as we know it in the Middle East today (think of Saudi Arabia in the so-called Arab world as you think of America on a global scale), and is also essentially the world’s biggest advocate for our dependency on oil. Most importantly, as the Maltese population, we should especially criticise the country for being one of the richest nations in the world whilst simultaneously being completely unreceptive to the pleas of its neighbouring, war-torn countries to take refugees. It is an absolute disgrace that a country as brutal and intolerant as Saudi Arabia is allowed to do as it pleases whilst innocent people are bombed and murdered every day. Oil should never trump human rights.

How The Industrial Military Complex Runs The World

Ever since the concept of human society was established thousands of years ago, we have conquered, subdued and murdered each other to the point that we’ve lost count of how many conflicts have gone down and how many lives have been lost. One would think that, after all the millennia of strife and atrocities, we would have eventually reached a compromise with each other which suits everyone; after all, isn’t the settlement of the issue at hand the main justification for war?

However, one of humanity’s greatest downfalls is our insatiable craving for power, authority and validation. It is because of this hunger that the people in power want it to stay that way, and it is for the same reason that men lose their minds when they are left in a position of influence for too long. It is because of these men that wars will never really stop; wars are very profitable, and money is the sceptre that entrances the rest of society into blindly chasing after it until the last crumble.

For example, both the US and the UK currently have military presence in Syria and Iraq (warzones which have been destabilised mostly by the United States’ constant interference with the Middle East) in order to ‘attack’ the terrorist threat which is ISIS (which of course was originally funded by a coalition between wealthy investors with the goal of destabilising Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s regime). Yet, at the same time, both the US and the UK are very strong players in the gun business (references here and here) – so, really, how can we believe that politicians have our interests at heart when their campaigns and political parties are funded by the very same people who make billions in arms sales?

Slowly but surely, corrupt policymakers have shaped society into being a paranoid, frightened and disillusioned mass of people who call for war and retribution as soon as the media feed them enough disturbing images of home-grown terrorism. Every day the list of our rights grows shorter and shorter in the name of security, and we ignore secrecy and austerity because we are so convinced that our political leaders know best. John F. Kennedy, who was commonly referred to as ‘the last, true American President’, put it perfectly in a speech to the American Newspapers Publishers Association on the 27th of April, 1961:

“The very word secrecy is repugnant in a free and open society. And we are, as a people, inherently and historically opposed to secret societies, secret oaths and to secret proceedings. We decided long ago that the dangers of pertinent facts far outweighed the dangers which are cited to justify it.

 Even today, there is little value in opposing the threat of a closed society by imitating its arbitrary restrictions. Even today, there is little value in insuring the survival of our nation if our traditions do not survive with it. And there is very grave danger that an announced need for increased security will be seized upon by those anxious to expand its meaning to the very limits of official censorship and concealment.

That I do not intend to permit to the extent that is in my control. We are opposed around the world by a monolithic and ruthless conspiracy that relies primarily on covert means for expanding the sphere of influence – infiltration instead of invasion, on subversion instead of elections, on intimidation instead of free choice, on guerrillas by night instead of armies by day.

It is a system which has conscripted vast human and material resources into the building of a tightly-knit, highly efficient machine that combines military, diplomatic, intelligence, economic, scientific and political operations. Its preparations are concealed, not published. Its mistakes are buried, not headlined. Its dissenters are silenced, not praised. No expenditure is questioned, no rumour is printed, no secret is revealed.”

Over half a century later, the world around us has morphed into a decadent paradise for the wealthy and the influential whilst the rest of us fight and murder each other over the scraps which are left. It is for this very reason that the biggest revolution in our history needs to happen now, and it needs to be a revolution of peace. If we all simply stopped for a few minutes and thought about it, we would realise that deep down we are all human – we all form part of different societal groups which we want to defend from everyone else, whether on an individual basis, as a faction fighting in a conflict, as a minority protesting for its rights and anything else in between.

Is it really worth it to fight each other over petty issues and insignificant differences between ourselves when something far more sinister is being planned for us all? Ask yourself this question and think about it thoroughly, and the next time you see someone attacking someone else, arm them with this knowledge so that they may point their anger at the ones making money off humanity’s greatest guilty pleasure; hatred. Humanity is all of us, not just a select few; we all deserve to be equal and free.

Why MORE than 3,000 people need to attend the next protest

To those that are not familiar with the current situation in the Maltese Islands, allow me to briefly explain what’s going on; a national protest was held yesterday in front of the Parliament Building in Valletta, where over 3,000 people attended what was considered the biggest environmental rally in the country’s history. People from all walks of life gathered together to protest the rampant over-development of what are known as ODZ (Outside Development Zone) lands and the general countryside. The demonstration was triggered specifically by the government’s proposal to use Żonqor point in Marsascala (over 90,000 sq. M. of ODZ and agricultural land) as the site for the development of a University and the establishment of Front Ħarsien ODZ, the organisation which masterminded the protest.

What’s absolutely unacceptable and unabashedly shady about the development is that, at the time of the writing of this article, the Prime Minister Dr Joseph Muscat has not yet published the agreement made with Sadeen Investments Ltd, the company behind the proposal. Several Labour MPs have declined to answer questions in relation to the development; in fact, the government in general has maintained a stoic approach of giving the issue as little coverage as possible as well as doing its utmost to smear the image of the countryside in question and labelling it as a wasteland rather than the beautiful stretch of fields and greenery it actually is.

The protest was, therefore, a success – a small step in the right direction. However, we must not stop now and think we have thwarted the government’s efforts to turn our country into the next Dubai or Singapore (these were the Prime Minister’s words, not mine). Our country is not characterised by slabs of concrete and man-made structures, nor is it a haven for the affluent; Malta’s best parts are the ones we are ruthlessly bulldozing to build accommodations for the wealthy. The serene countryside, the richness of our history, the beauty of the unpolluted beaches and the clean, fresh air of the natural environment are the country’s biggest attractions. Most of the tourists that come to Malta come here to relax and unwind from the fast-paced lifestyles of bigger, built-up cities, thus making the systemic destruction of the environment at the hands of relentless developers and money-hungry politicians both irresponsible and short-sighted.

It is for these reasons that we must do anything we need to do in order to stop our countryside from being pillaged any further. 3,000 people is not a number that should be ignored, yet Dr Joseph Muscat, in his typical irritating and passive style, still had the stones to say that “we are not an arrogant government but we have to ensure that the economy continues to grow so we will take the necessary decisions… I believe there are common sense compromise solutions which this government is working upon.” It does not take a genius to construe that what he meant by that is that the protest has been acknowledged, but we will still make sure that money keeps flowing into the country’s coffers, even if it means screwing the environment anyway. More people need to snap out of the red vs. blue mentality that has made the country a free gravy train for those in bed with the ruling party and one, giant slab of concrete for the rest. More people need to add their voice to the resistance, or what makes our country beautiful and unique will keep on being chipped away until there’s nothing else left.

Politics 101: The Concept of Divide and Conquer

We’ve all heard the incessant arguments that make the majority of people avoid the topic of politics with a desperate sigh and an attempt to change the subject to something completely different; it’s always one party against the other, or one party ruling in favour of a particular policy (e.g.: Obamacare) and the other one ruling against it, or perhaps a referendum that divides a nation into two different camps whilst drawing the public’s attention away from other issues – it’s always the same concept.

Through state-owned media and national broadcasting services, it is presented to us as democracy at work, the ‘system’ presenting us with choices. Hope and a false feeling of power being given freely to the people is instilled, and a contained illusion of freedom is sparked in our minds. Yet, it is truly through this that we are most vulnerable; the easiest way to manipulate a human being is when they feel secure and in power and in complete control. But, if you think about it seriously and thoroughly, you will eventually at some point realise something’s really wrong with this situation, and it will be stuck in your head like a splinter in your finger.

If you haven’t drawn your own conclusion yet, allow me to nudge you in the right direction – it is the concept of ‘Divide and Conquer’ at work. The definition for the concept according to Wikipedia goes as follows: “In politics and sociology, divide and rule (or divide and conquer) is gaining and maintaining power by breaking up larger concentrations of power into pieces that individually have less power than the one implementing the strategy. The concept refers to a strategy that breaks up existing power structures and prevents smaller power groups from linking up.” What you might be asking yourself now is this: “What does this have to do with democracy and the examples mentioned earlier?”

The answer to that question lies in whether one manages to assimilate the concept’s definition into how modern society’s power mechanisms work. Whenever there is a big issue, the public is immediately divided; ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ camps, ‘Conservative’ or ‘Liberal’, ‘Labour’ or ‘Nationalist’ (the two main political parties in Malta, the country I was born in) etc… The reason for this is because it establishes a defined, easy-to-target enemy that always manages to be the clear, definite ‘bad guy’. This divides us into factions, and conveniently satisfies our need to blame other people for what’s wrong in the world whilst being thoroughly convinced we are ‘on the right side of history’.

More importantly, what this whole notion does best is make us forget who the real antagonist is. It makes us forget that the real enemy isn’t the group of people on the other side of an issue, but it’s the people in power who do everything they can to abuse it, further the expanse of the gap between the rich and the poor and then get away with doing all that and getting filthily rich in the process. The real criminals and extremists aren’t the ones they tell you are; it’s the ones doing the telling that need to pay for their crimes.

Police Brutality

Whether you like them or not, the truth is undeniable – law enforcement agencies across the world have a tendency to overextend their reach and use excessive force when said force is not an acceptable response to the offender’s actions. Now, before anyone lambasts this article as a slur against the police, I would like to make it clear that this does not apply to everyone and that I do truly believe that there are some exceptional policemen who risk everything in the pursuit of justice, and it is those men and women who I salute. The real question about this subject is, however, why? Why do police officers from all corners of the world use excessive brutality and why do they feel the need to physically injure suspects even when they pose no threat and in some cases, after they have submitted to the arrest?

I do not consider myself an expert on psychoanalysis, but nonetheless I do feel like some conclusions can be drawn after a bit of research into these cases. Mostly, excessive use of force is about the feeling of dominance wearing the uniform brings – abusive or rogue police officers have a tendency to emphasise this superiority complex by using physical abuse to prove the point.

There is also the issue with the legal framework that protects an abusive police officer; the burden of proof. The burden of proof (Latin: onus probandi) is the imperative on a party in a trial to produce the evidence that will shift the conclusion away from the default position [the offending officer’s statement] to one’s own position [the version of the accused]. Therefore, it is much more likely that an abusive officer can get away with it when the case has to be investigated by the police themselves, especially when evidence must be presented by the accused.

Even when evidence presented by the accused turns out to be overwhelming and the case actually goes to court, usually it ends with the officer being kicked out of the force at most and in rare cases, maybe some probation or minimal jail time. In most cases, however, other police officers tend to intervene and cover-up the evidence so the case doesn’t even go public. Upon perusing about this topic, another question springs to mind; how and why do they get away with it? This is mostly achieved via the exploitation of the psychological repercussions of a racist, ignorant political culture. The fear of crime is instilled inside our minds from the beginning of our education (“don’t talk to foreigners”, “don’t talk to the man with the tattoos”, “be careful around that neighbourhood”), and this leads to a society made up of people who are practically programmed to value tough policing (in order to quench the fear of crime) instead of due procedure and justified persecution.

The only way to fight something like this is to educate people about their rights and make sure that evidence of brutality is crushingly overwhelming to the point where not even the Commissioner would be able to get away with it. ‘How would that be possible?’ is what you might be asking yourself right now; well, experiments with body-camera technology in Rialto, California yielded the following results: “The findings suggest more than a 50% reduction in the total number of incidents of use-of-force compared to control-conditions, and nearly ten times more citizens’ complaints in the 12-months prior to the experiment.”

In truth, no sophisticated body technology or strict internal conduct policy could manage to eradicate a problem which is inside our minds. What the world could definitely use is a stark reminder that ultimately, we are all human and we are all the same.