Soul-searching began early – Petra Caruana Dingli

The end of a year is a moment to take stock, to reflect on where and who we are. Yet for many people this year, soul-searching began early. Beyond personal reflections, a series of events in 2017 have provoked debates about, no less, what it means to be Maltese and what defines us as a European nation.

Is this Mafialand, a Catholic stronghold, a decadent materialistic society, a sunny happy island, a money-laundering hub, or an aspiring Dubai?

The June election triggered one wave of self-questioning. For many, the election result was hard to understand. Repeated allegations of corruption and cronyism did not unseat the government. On the losing side, postmortems of the result weighed up whether the Maltese care more about lining their pockets and self-interest than about ethical standards in public life. Can that be true, and don’t many Maltese have a civic conscience, promoting the interests of collective society

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