pressures led to police taking criminal action
ABDILLA speaks to Simone Zammit Endrich, about the controversy
of her opinion article regarding the Arabs and the Jews, which
resulted in the police taking action against her
THE CONTROVERSY about Simone Zammit Endrichs opinion in
a local newspaper still raves on. She is being accused by the
police of committing a criminal act by inciting racial hatred
against Palestinians. People in the street, politicians and programmes
have already been aired on TV and radio stations on the matter.
MaltaToday spoke to Simone Zammit Endrich, an opinionist and
columnist, who on 9 October will have to appear in court accused
of spreading racial hatred.
"I do not know whether I am living in a democratic country
anymore. Everyone can speak freely against the Israelis, against
the European Union, against the government but one can't dare
to speak against the Palestinians.
"First of all I am not a racist. But I have my views on
all that happens around the world. I am in favour of the Palestinians
to have a country of their own and live in peace. Why not? They
have the right to believe in whatever they want because that is
part and parcel of life.
"But what applies for the Palestinians, applies for everyone.
In this case the Israelis have the same rights. In this war, which
unfortunately looks like to be an ever ending one, the Palestinians
are being made as if they were the sole victims."
Ms Zammit Endrich also said that when there is a war between
two parties and the scales are turning completely on one side,
as if the other is some kind of saint, when that is not the case,
someone has to stand up and say so.
"I know that many people believe that the Israelis are
not the Satans in this conflict. I believe that both have their
right and wrongs. So when I wrote the article I wanted to show
some sentiment for the underdog in this matter.
"Yes maybe because I come from a Jewish origin, many might
argue that I will always side the Israelis. No, not necessarily.
Even when I spoke about the intelligence and cultures of both
people, I only said what the mass media and what the facts state
about the two countries.
"Why did the Prime Minister, the Leader of Opposition and
the President of Malta take sides in this issue when we are supposed
to be a neutral country."
Ms Zammit Endrich said that she is against the European Union,
she is against Malta's accession into the EU and will vote against
when the referendum takes place. But she has nothing against Europe.
"I do not want to be part of a big bloc such as Europe.
I am in favour of Malta keeping it's identity. But that does not
make me anti-European. I wrote a lot against Malta's adhesion
with the EU and that Malta's place is definitely not within such
a big organisation. But does that mean that there is something
wrong with the Europeans? No."
Ms Zammit Endrich said that she thinks that the reason that
her story made a lot of noise is because she is a woman. "The
Arabs do not like it all when they see a woman speak freely for
herself. They are not like Europeans who have the right to say
what they want," Ms Zammit Endrich said.
Regarding what The Independent had to say about the article,
she said that she claimed a right of reply but the replies were
never published. She resigned from her post with the newspaper.
As far as the media is concerned she also said that she has
received a lot of support. Most journalists simply did not believe
that such things happen in Malta, a democratic country with the
right of freedom of speech.
Ms Zammit Endrich interest in journalism goes back some six
years when together with Dr Emmy Bezzina, she started the Divorce
Movement. She always thought divorce is a right that the people
She was also interviewed by the BBC on this subject and had
also started to speak about her opinions and movement on Radio
"Then the interest in journalism increased and I started
writing opinion matters in practically every newspaper. But the
reason I am not a full-time journalist is that I can't work long
hours being a single mother.
"My girl comes first and foremost. So it's something I
have to face. Unfortunately in Malta single mothers haven't got
an easy life. Social benefits are in the region of Lm17 a week,
a miserable sum of money that one can't live on.
"If a single-mother works she has to pay taxes practically
in full and that is not fair. Unfortunately because we are a minority
no government has really tackled this issue," Ms Zammit Endrich