A mother who adopted children from Ethipia six years ago told TVM that she experiences deep hurt when on social media, people express themselves cruelly against people of colour, mainly against African immigrants. Maria Borg Vella said that these comments were very cruel and hurtful because there were many Maltese who were dark skinned or who had been adopted or who otherwise had African descendants.
Six years ago, Maria Borg Vella was thrilled when after an arduous journey with her husband Victor, she adopted Criag and Victoria from Ethiopia. Today they are seven years old. Maria said she gets very upset when she hears comments on social media and even comments made by others in public, in respect of dark skinned people – comments that hurt both her and her children.
“I worry yes, I’m worried. I did not think that the level of racism had reached such an intolerable level, to the point where we are walking in the street and a parent throws something at my children. We have reached rock bottom.”
Ms Borg Vella said that this racist sentiment would result in everyone being targeted – even children who were adopted and children of African and Maltese parents.”
“I can understand the anger at the lack of solidarity from our European brethren, but to be cruel to people is a whole new ballgame.”
Ms Borg Vella said that because of the language, her children do not always feel accepted by others and she worries about racist comments because these will have serious consequences for Maltese children with dark skin.
“Being keyboard warriors will not change anything; we are a country of immigrants. We should remember that in the same way that we had unemployment in our country and many of us sought employment in other countries, so too are others finding themselves in the same predicament. We should try to understand them and not be cruel.”.
Ms Borg Vella who is also an educator hopes that more educational programs in schools, in the media and on social media, will help the country become more tolerant.