So żobiku: the self-conceit of men in power

First he came up with the most blasphemous of swearwords in the Maltese language, the colourful “Ħaqq  ----”, and then he followed up with a partially uttered “Li--”, certainly not with the intention of paying tribute to the miraculous effects that male sperm can produce

Ian Borg
Ian Borg

The past week has been characterized by the exploits of Ian Borg and Joseph Muscat who, in the space of a few days, managed to grab the attention of the Maltese population through their “learned” interventions, respectively on ONE TV and in the law courts of the Republic.

On 12 January, Ian Borg gave a veritable show on Karl Stagno Navarra’s Pjazza. Following an interview with the freshly elected Gavin Gulia, who was to remain in his MP’s post for a few minutes, Stagno Navarra and Borg embarked on a fun evening between buddies. Their initial appetizer was to dedicate a couple of minutes ridiculing me: “Dana professur?” (Is this guy a professor?), “Ikollu 3 likes” (He only has three likes).

My grave offence? Going to the counting hall to help independent-minded PL candidate Charles Azzopardi in the counting of votes during the by-election.

Following their ridiculing of me, an independent candidate, Ian Borg then went on to make fun of the leader of the Opposition, Bernard Grech. He was so immersed in his part, entertaining his aficionados of “Prosit, Ministru”, “King int, Ministru”, “Grazzi, Ministru” fame, that he let himself go a bit too far.

First he came up with the most blasphemous of swearwords in the Maltese language, the colourful “Ħaqq  ----”, and then he followed up with a partially uttered “Li--”, certainly not with the intention of paying tribute to the miraculous effects that male sperm can produce.

Karl Stagno Navarro must have really enjoyed himself as he listened to Minister Borg giving vent to his linguistic skills. All this, live on ONE TV. Ian Borg must certainly be the pride of the family.

A few days later, it was Joseph Muscat’s turn to come up with another colourful Maltese word, żobiku, this time during a law court sitting in Valletta. This word is derived from the word penis or related to ‘penis envy’.

Am I such a prude as to be scandalised by these words? Of course not. Even I have often sinned like Ian and Joseph, by uttering some vulgar words. And have never any vulgar words been uttered in our parliament? Of course not. During this legislature only, we have experienced Glenn Bedingfield swearing in parliament and Ryan Callus uttering the word għoxxata during one of his speeches.

So why have I reported Ian Borg to the Standards Commissioner because of his “heavy” swear word? And why am I disgusted at Joseph Muscat’s utterance in court?

Simply, because of the contemptuous attitude of the two and of the places where they’re not meant to be uttered.

Glenn Bedingfield mentioned the name of God in vain in parliament. But, soon after, he had the modesty to recognise his mistake and to apologise publicly. Ryan Callus described Konrad Mizzi’s lumping Enemalta with Electrogas’s €40 million excise duty bill as an għoxxata. I fully sympathise with his frustration at Konrad’s con, but the use of the word in parliament was not appropriate at all. Callus had the humility to immediately admit that he had been wrong in speaking that way, and apologized.

What did Ian Borg do, instead? Rather than being a real man and admitting that it was inappropriate for him to swear, compounded by the fact that this was all happening live on TV at 6:45 pm, when everybody is still wide awake, he had the audacity to go on the attack and blame others for his misdemeanours.

First he stated that the video where he clearly blasphemed God was manipulated and edited in such a way as to make him look bad. Then, not content with this, he decided to treat people as idiots, declaring that what he had actually said was Ħa Qalanqas”.

Of course, this expression does not exist in the Maltese language. Yet, most of the “Int king, Ministru” trolls were totally in unison with their kink: “Why waste energy on such nonsense. Just ignore and stay cool as always!”, wrote Glenn; “Kemm int kbir”, echoed Brian. The extent of brainwashing in this country is, alas, enormous.

As regards Joseph Muscat, instead, last week he stormed into the courtroom in the same arrogant fashion that had distinguished him in December, during the Daphne assassination Inquiry. Like then, he dictated to the learned judges the way proceedings were to be held in court. And, to the amazement of one and all, he was allowed to decide, practically unchecked by the judges, which questions he wanted to answer and those that he refused to reply to.

Then, the cherry on the cake, in his last sitting he defined a lawyer’s line of reasoning as żobiku. Has this word never been uttered in the Maltese language? Of course, it has. But never has it been said in court, without the person uttering it receiving a severe reprimand by the judge.

With Muscat, nothing. The man who considers himself to be invictus is so self-conceited that he believes he has a divine right to say żobiku as he pleases.

Little does Invictus realise that the haughtier he behaves, the more żobiku he proves to be.