A migrant in Malta means many things by Caroline Crutchley
As a migrant, I know that on a daily basis life can be coloured with smiles and more negative feedback from the Maltese.
Renowned for their friendliness with the millions of tourists that visit yearly, a very small minority have an attitude problem to those that choose to stay longer. Whether you are legally here or not there is a definite pecking order of abuse. Much depends on whether you speak English well or try like me ‘terrible Maltese’. However, what is so worrying is that if your ethnicity is not European and you so happen to be black the attitude can escalate to treatment not seen on a regular basis in other European countries.
A recent survey uncovered some shocking perceptions of the local population, whether through ignorance or discrimination, it hurts those that have to live daily with the consequences.
20% would not like an American as a neighbour and that rises to 80% if you so happen to be black.
I wonder what sort of reception they would give to the new Ambassador of the United States of America if she were to move in next door?
Integration Network of Malta was set up in June 2012 to address some of the misunderstandings and lack of education on both sides of third country nationals living legally in Malta. We hope through events and community projects to show third country nationals in a positive light.
When the Permanent Residency Scheme was adjusted upwards, a whole tranche of real people all of a sudden became alien beings that were required to apply yearly for a permit to stay. Many are pillars of the community for years and were very shocked at the inhumane process that many have always had to endure.
It was a wake up call for Malta.
Malta is struggling with an influx of ‘illegal boat people’ who are treated not always with respect.
Ifeanyi Nwokoye, 29 died in April 2011 while trying to escape from the detention centre at Safi. The enquiry is still going on.
July 2012 saw the death of 32-year-old Mohammed Abdalla. Two detention officers and three soldiers have been arrested. He had tried integration and leaves behind a Maltese girlfriend and young child.
How many more have to suffer mentally and how many more will die?
In Malta, there is an improvement in integration of all that are non-Maltese but the spectrum has its extremes. It is those at the end that are so worrying.
Integration is the key and is a two-way affair that I personally would like to see flourish.
© Caroline Crutchley 2012