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Michael Falzon

Over the top

The creators of the allegations that Malta is a country where the rule of law does not exist have gone over the top, provoking a negative reaction among the down to earth citizens of Malta

Michael Falzon
12 December 2017, 8:04am
I sense that there is a silent reaction to all the clamour surrounding the allegations of Malta being a country where the rule of law does not exist and that we are consistently living in fear. In short, the creators of these serious allegations have gone over the top and their antics are provoking a negative reaction among the ordinary down to earth citizens and residents of Malta.

As Martin Scicluna wrote in an excellent piece in last Wednesday’s The Times, most probably all this hullabaloo has only one objective: to force a new election. Those behind this nonsense are – not coincidentally – those whose electoral startegy failed miserably and gave Joseph Muscat the opportunity to increase his majority in terms of number of votes. I do not always agree with Scicluna, but in this case I concur with his article that ended with some valid and wise words, pointing out that it is tragic to allow toxic tribalism to poison our public life.

The actions of those orchestrating these recent events remind me of the five stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. They are obviously in the anger stage. It was Simon Busuttil who described the last election as a moral victory for the PN. It was his avid supporters who blamed the voters and not the PN for the result. Denial, surely, cannot go further than that.

Now is the time for anger. Unfortunately, the atrocious murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia exacerbated the feeling of anger: we all know about how this murder was first described as a ‘political’ murder and then used to foment an anti-Muscat feeling. In doing so, lies and exaggerations became the order of the day, provoking an averse reaction that left the whole network of ostensibly independent and separate non-governmental organisations – some of them of very recent creation – stranded in an imaginary world of their own making. Some of their gimmicks did not go down well, of course.

"Existing only in Simon Busuttil’s imagination, this completely untrue depiction of the situation in Malta provokes the astounded reaction that is being felt across the country"
Writing in The Malta Independent last Sunday, Noel Grima lambasted Simon Busuttil for a speech in Parliament the previous Monday. In his speech Simon Busuttil depicted “a Malta engulfed under a wave of fear, where people face reprisals for speaking out against the government.” He also said that the independent media has been bought by the government through advertising. This, I suppose, is the reason why Busuttil thinks that the so-called independent media do not agree with whatever he decides to say. Now, that is living in a veritable impenetrable and illusory bubble, of course. Noel Grima reacted by saying that this is completely untrue.

I might add that Joseph Muscat is not that stupid: that is the way to provoke a negative reaction to government. But for the negative reaction to exist, the threat must be real and palpable to the man in the street. Existing only in Simon Busuttil’s imagination, this completely untrue depiction of the situation in Malta provokes the astounded reaction that is being felt across the country.

These people cannot understand why Muscat is so popular, in spite of the big and unpardonable mistake he made when he did not ditch Konrad Mizzi and Keith Schembri after the Panama Papers revelations. And they are even unaware that continuing with their tactics and failed strategy is strengthening Joseph Muscat’s popularity. In short the result of this anger being spewed with so many accompanying theatrics is producing the exact opposite effect it was meant to produce.

Muscat is more popular than ever. Playing the card that we are always right and all those against us are wrong and immoral does not hurt Joseph Muscat the least – people sense too much hypocrisy behind that facade.

The best that Adrian Delia can do to make the PN relevant again, is to disassociate himself from these antics and start talking in earnest about the serious issues the country must tackle in the short and medium term future.

Daphne’s murder

Of course, the big news this week was the arrest of ten persons in connection with the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia and the subsequent arraignment of three of them.

In one fell swoop, Muscat managed to prove that he was really in earnest about finding who the killers are – thus continuing to expose the stupidity and short-sightedness of the allegation that Malta is a ‘mafia state’.

It is incredible how otherwise serious people in their senses tried to mock the professional raid in the early hours of last Monday, just because of their political bias. Our political tribalism cannot be eradicated, irrespective of the level of education of our citizens. Ordinarily, they should have been glad on the progress achieved in this case.

"Playing the card that we are always right and all those against us are wrong and immoral does not hurt Joseph Muscat the least"
However, I do think that there are two sad reflections to the story:

•    The success of the police to conclude that there is enough evidence to accuse these three persons in court would not have been possible without the techinical aid and assistance of foreign investigators that took a very active and essential part in the investigations. People are saying congratulations to the police without realising that our police force is hopelessly inadequate – both technically and personnel-wise – to solve such crimes on its own without outside help. It would be a disaster if the government ignores the need of a thorough overhaul of the Police Force while basking in this ‘success’.

•    The people who commissioned the murder are still unknown. It is obvious that this was a contract killing and whoever committed the crime was paid for doing it by someone who had the motive to kill. To complicate matters, in such deals there is often a go-between - a ‘broker’ (or even more than one) between whoever commissions the murder and whoever commits it. It could well be that the people who committed the crime do not even know for whom they did the job. Police sources who are aware of the ‘character’ and record of the three accused say that it is that piece of the jigsaw that will probably remain missing for ever. In that case the real motive of the murder will never be known. Which means that the cause of justice will only be half served.

Michael Falzon is a former government minister who served under several Nationalist admini...
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