Don't Boycott Us!
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Justin Vassallo, Malta, pleads for less negative criticism

Critical letters can do more harm than good.

My dear friends,

First and foremost thanks for all the interest and support you are giving us.

Second, please calm down and think before you act. You do loads more harm by single letters than good we can do in months.

Below is a copy of a letter in the Malta Independent today 04 July 01. It is not 100% just, but quite so. I agree one country's wrong never justifies another's wrongs, but it is also true that he who accuses must have no sin. (or, for the agnostics/atheists, 'people in glasshouses shouldn't throw stones' Ed.)

Dear friends, it is virtually useless, well this is not true, it is not useless, it is HARMFUL, to state anything solely in the negative. this includes boycotts, emails, post letters, posters, or any other means which is in any way readable, listenable, or feelable.

When writing letters criticising, it is important that you offer a solution, and this solution must preferably involve viable financial consequences...
Yes unfortunately the world rolls on money. In this way the Maltese will start realising that they can actually earn money if they start respecting the environment.. and this goes for a whole load of other issues, yes, there are environmental problems even bigger than the illegal hunting one. Yesterday there was a letter by John Girdley that was on the right track. Mentioned were facts about bird-tourism (which is relatively unheard of in Malta) and hotels full of birdwatchers in off-peak seasons. This is what helps our cause. State you will not put money into our economy by boycotting, and they will scorn you and disregard your letter. State that birdwatchers are ready to invest in holidays to watch our birds, and they will love you and read your mails more carefully.

This may be hard for you to swallow. but please do swallow it. I for one have been long enough on the frontline and I am happy with the little we have achieved. so yes I get really pissed off when I see letters as the one below, which mean some of our work has been undone.

I do not want to in any way to restrict your personal
ways and means of communication. My sole point is:
please be careful with what you say and write because you might be doing harm to the cause you yourselves are trying to fight for (as in fact has been happening lately). please re-read my third paragraph. go to our websites and read as much info, try to feel the local situation before writing.

BirdLife Malta website:
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Annual raptorcamp website:

< >

Again thanks for your support.


Letter to TMI:

How about boycotting Italy?

On Monday, 2 July, you carried yet another letterwritten by a foreigner who once more had the cheek andarrogance to present his idea of calling for a boycottby those tourists who intend visiting our island. The usual excuse is that "you Maltese are responsible for an ignoble massacre of birds".

As if the 370,000 inhabitants of these islands are all hunters who kill millions of birds daily, Mr Boranga continued to insult the vast majority of us Maltese and Gozitans as being "uncivilised people who do not merit anything except scorn".

Using the same yardstick how about calling for a similar boycott by those who intend visiting Italy. The boycott will not be because of hunting birds but because of the brutal and horrendous murders of innocent babies, youngsters and the elderly which are daily occurrences, as reported on the Italian media.

As much as I am against the killing of birds,. I am even more against the thousands of murders of humans.

If Mr Boranga "can produce films and photographs of the massacre of birds that fly over Malta", I can produce long footage and numerous photographs of murders of innocent people in his Italy, not to mention the almost daily murders 'a la Mafia' and the national disasters like that of Bologna and Palermo. I think that such a big list of atrocities in such a civilised country such as Italy deserves a boycott by us "uncivilised people".

Mr Boranga was given space in The Malta Independent to insult us all. I doubt whether the editor of any of the Italian dailies would have done the same if a Maltese sent a similar letter to them. You, Mr Editor should not allow such letters to be published. After all, most of the foreigners who write these letters are those who live on 'pezzi bocconi' while on holiday.

Henry Calleja
St Julian's

..... and see the reactions from European birders on the next page...

Empire Strikes Back!


Eurobirder/Proact-Malta David Conlin 2001