What is Life?

JEF Malta is known for its enthralling fish-bowl debates. Last week’s debate was about Euthanasia. The main point of the discussion was that of ethically applying Euthanasia to medical care. However, I feel as though the panel of speakers had deviated from the real issue at hand — and that is, how the individual’s freedom of choice should be the main priority in such a process.



Euthanasia has been termed, incorrectly, as “the process of merciful killing”. Instead, I believe, that it should be understood as relieving a person from unbearable pain. An individual on the panel claimed that legalising Euthanasia “would basically be legalising killing”. Nevertheless, someone else chimed in and stated that if Jesus Christ had suffered for our sins, we should follow in his footsteps and go on to brave out death. A notable member of the panel, namely Professor Pierre Mallia, intelligently commented that resorting to Euthanasia is a desperate measure, and only a reflection of medicine’s incapacities to relieve a person from pain. This is understandable.



The general consensus agreed that, of course, voluntarily Euthanasia should be a last resort for any human being, and not a whimsical termination of one’s life. Many of the panelists took to using examples of involuntarily euthanasia. Such instances are undeniably synonymous to abuse of a medical profession. I believe that it is a professional illegality for a doctor to take the life of a patient into his own hands without consent.

Although the concept of the debate was to discuss whether it us up to fate or faith, most of panelists took it upon themselves to use instances of malpractice to back up their arguments. I did not think that this is the correct way to introduce euthanasia to the Maltese islands. Euthanasia is not blatant murder. There should be criteria that determine as to whether or not a person would be eligible to opt for such an instance. This was also agreed and discussed upon.



Many arguments were also based on the notion that opting to end one’s life, is devaluing life itself. I, and many others, think that the situation is quite the contrary; wanting Euthanasia is an individual’s outcry to die in dignity. Many of the arguments that were put forward, were undeniably influenced by religious doctrine. I, personally do not have any problem with Christian dogma.



However, involving religious belief into a crucial and serious matter such as Euthanasia, is beyond the boundaries of good ethic. Do not get me wrong. I am not trying to bash a group of people for their faith. I am only trying to communicate that making use of Euthanasia is a personal choice. It goes hand in hand with the exercising of fundamental rights.

It shouldn’t be up to an external entity to decide whether or not one is morally justified to decide when one’s life should end. Nevertheless, the debate was perfectly mediated. It was a very good opportunity to hear different opinions on the matter. It took a good hour and a half. Although most of the panelists did not come to a general compromise, it was an exciting debate nonetheless. I would like to thank JEF Malta for taking such well-organised initiatives to discuss such hot topics.

Emma Sammut

Secretary General at The Yuppie Malta
My friends describe me as “ambitious”, “relaxed yet dedicated”, “salty” and “borderline-aggressive”. I’m often susceptible to coffee-induced musings at the height of night. And as a law student, I need the caffeine. My know-how lies within International political dynamics, especially those within the European Union.
Emma Sammut

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Emma Sammut

My friends describe me as “ambitious”, “relaxed yet dedicated”, “salty” and “borderline-aggressive”. I’m often susceptible to coffee-induced musings at the height of night. And as a law student, I need the caffeine. My know-how lies within International political dynamics, especially those within the European Union.

2 thoughts on “What is Life?

  • February 23, 2017 at 2:33 pm

    Thanks for your article Emma, however just want to point out three things.

    Firstly, the article takes Professor Mallia out of context, he was against euthanasia for ethical reasons.
    Secondly, the article has a misquote, saying the opposite of what was said – Jesus loves us by dying for our sins instead of us, so let us love the sick by being there for them, caring for them, by killing the pain not the patient.
    Thirdly, JEF Malta rightly invited people from different beliefs and perspective to the debate, however the article wants to shut down some voices and not give them the right of freedom of speech.
    Lastly, Emma I am happy to meet to discuss things further, however, overall I enjoyed reading your article and hearing your opinions, thanks

    • February 23, 2017 at 3:06 pm

      Good afternoon Geoff! Thanks for your comment.

      I thought I’d clarify some things for you;

      a) I did not take the Professor out of context, I only agreed with something he said… I did not report on which side of the spectrum he was on.
      b) As the article stated, I have no problem with the religious doctrine – it’s just unethical, in my opinion, to compare and contrast suffering, as each is an individual experience and thus subjective.
      c) I in no way intended to imply that JEF Malta blocked out freedom of speech or expression. I instead implied that the debate seemed to be one sided as the other parties were quiet. Sorry if there was no clarity on this issue.

      Thanks for the interest in my article, and nonetheless, the Yuppie!

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