Emphasise the Positive
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From Justin Vassallo - an active LOCAL campaigner

Emphasise the Positive

I agree my latest email was quite hard worded but I believe it was necessary to attract attention. Too often have I repeated those same words and still many do not try to understand this view. From some emails that were forwarded to me I saw that my last email was maybe unclear in some respects. I will try to explain better. (David Camilleri seems to have got most of the jist. I agree with all he said INCLUDING the international campaigns stuff. My aim in previous mails was to show that international letters worded
SOLELY negatively are better not written, and not that
international campaigns are useless.... FAR from it, I would not bother writing to you if I thought you were
"useless" :-)))).)

The considerable progress made in bird protection over the last 40 odd years (yes, there was and still is a LOT of progress being made .. please read on) was not achieved by being nice to the hunters! I agree we need to use the stick. In fact we have used the stick many a time in the past (for which we have had tyres burst, cars shot at, people beaten, cameras destroyed.. the whole lot anyway..) and are still doing this right now (and are still being shot at, burst tyres.....).
The idea is "do not use the stick with the Maltese, but
rather with the hunters." (referring to Jerzy's email, do not cross the Maltese as a nation, but rather cross the hunters and at the same time befriend the neutral locals.). If you boycot Malta as a tourist resort, what will happen is:

1) We will still get the mere million tourists a year we need; yes, even if you tell your friends, relatives and neighbors.

2) The Maltese working in the tourist industry will think negatively of local conservationists and conservation work

I do not wish to hide the illegalities or ignore them, quite the opposite. however I would not highlight them by criticising them but rather by offering a solution for them. I do not want you to say "well done but it can be even better" but rather "well done, it CAN be good if you continue to improve, and we are ready to actually help in that."

On the other hand, if you actually come here, what will happen is:

1) You will report illegalities to the police, helping them to catch the bastards

2) You will show the police that people are ready to travel hundreds of kilometres to protect birds, they will be positively impressed and will work harder

3) Locals working in the tourist industry (ca 30% of voters) will see a source of revenue in conservation work and will support it, together with their votes(politics is a hot issue here)

At this point, is there any reason for boycotting

Closing on a positive note, I wish to draw your attention to the fact that as a result of many actions we held last year, last September, since the time Buskett woodland was created some 400 years ago, I dare say for the first time EVER just THREE birds were shot within the sanctuary. Thus I strongly disagree that "The 'positive' campaign in Malta had little success so far.". It has been successful in its own right.

Hope it is clearer. Please do not hesitate to ask if it is not.

*BTW*, not ALL of Malta is throwing away year-round opportunities for tourism. Go to:

Malta Annual Raptor Camp

to see that bird-watching/protection 'holidays' are available in Malta.




Eurobirder/Proact-Malta David Conlin 2001