Become a citizen. If you can.

Become a citizen. If you can.

In the heat of the French Revolution, the leaders of that upheaval did not sit down to write a charter about the rights of French people. They wrote instead the ‘Declaration of the Rights of Man and the Citizen’.

Universal rights is by no means a universal understanding of what citizenship should be about. But we should think about just how extremely far from this notion our own citizenship rules are.

We sell citizenship to people who will have nothing to do with Malta except empty property but deny it to people who have made their life here for decades.

We do so because we have monetised citizenship, abolished its universality and therefore ranked access to it by how much someone can or will pay for it.

Poverty, reduced opportunity, race and skin colour are, by our laws and our rules, grounds for discrimination. If you’re rich and white, pay money and become Maltese. If you’re poor and black, you’ll always be a foreigner here.

No matter who of the two regularly pays taxes here. No matter who of the two regularly and permanently contributes to work and the community here. No matter who of the two raises children here.

This Berne News film gives an interesting outsiders view at this reality and without much comment and melodrama reveals just how retrograde, unjust, selfish and discriminatory our laws are.

The cover photo of this piece is by Darrin Zammit Lupi.