The press doesn’t know the significance of Michael Falzon’s reference to Amery Street

Published: June 18, 2015 at 10:52pm

Michael Falzon

Michael Falzon

The strain is beginning to tell on Michael Falzon, for otherwise why on earth would he make the clodhopping mistake of specifically mentioning, as a place where ugly and inconvenient things should NOT be built, the very street in which he grew up, where he spent the first 30 years of his life, where his mother lived still until very recently, and where he and his brother still own the house she vacated for an old people’s home.

I quote his remark from the report in Malta Today:

“We don’t want to build on ODZ land, but we cannot say that nothing can be built on ODZ land,” he argued. “What if we want to build a waste recycling plant or a place for juvenile rehabilitation? Where will we build them, in Amery Street in Sliema?”

None of the press picked up that reference, though Raphael Vassallo should have done because he grew up round the corner from Amery Street and Michael Falzon, as I did.

Those who heard him probably thought Falzon was being sarcastic about tal-pepe whiners and demonstrators, but then they would have missed that too – because people who aren’t from that town don’t know that Amery Street is in the pepe heartland.

They see Sliema as a single undifferentiated mass, and don’t understand the considerable (to us natives of old) distinctions between different streets, parishes and neighbourhoods, distinctions that no longer exist because the entire place is now chockfull of hideous buildings and rough types from all over who are trying to go up in the world and bringing the town down with them instead.

But Michael Falzon knows the difference, because that Amery Street he mentioned there is the street on which he grew up.