Our short memories

Norman Lowell and his party should be banned and not allowed to stand in any election let alone appear on TV or radio or a blog

Norman Lowell
Norman Lowell

The other day a good friend phoned me up. “I have one year before I retire, how do you think I will be judged by people?” he asked. 

I did not need to hesitate. I replied that unfortunately people have very short memories and they will only see the last snapshot of a very long film of your life and make a subjective judgement based on that. 

He laughed. 

“Well, I just thank the Lord that I am not too preoccupied of how people perceive me anymore. I’ll just publish my biography – The Inconvenient Truth – and then leave the rest to circumstance,” I replied. 

Since, we are on the subject of memories, it would be appropriate to remember that a mixture of short memory, moronic thinking and lethargic political appointees is what makes the Broadcasting Authority consider Norman Lowell and his political party Imperium Europa normal. 

Norman Lowell a former bank manager and martial arts teacher, is not a newcomer to controversy. He has been found guilty of inciting violence against journalists and politicians. He has also been found guilty of racism. 

Lowell denies the holocaust and his admirers have been linked to the scorching of my home, Daphne’s home and others when years back we were all vociferous critics of his far-right politics. 

The BA’s top guns in all their wisdom seem to have forgotten when Lowell called for journalists and (he named us all) to be hung and drawn on lampposts.  

And yet, there are those who still entertain his antics and are attracted to his click bait potential. Online news platforms, especially those purporting to be serious newsrooms should at least appreciate that extremists such as Lowell should be afforded no platform.    

But then when clickbait talks, all reason seems to fail. 

If we cannot convince an online site to ban Lowell, we can ask the BA to be reasonable and lower its guns on radio hosts like Andrew Azzopardi. I don’t expect the present chairman or the BA’s chief executive to come up with a change in policy. But they can see what happens in other European fora. 

And the party appointees should at least be called in by their respective parties (who appointed them) and realise that they have a commitment to common decency and upholding an anti-racist policy. The problem here is not Andrew Azzopardi but the idea that Lowell, a racist and hater, should be given airtime. 

Norman Lowell and his party should be banned and not allowed to stand in any election let alone appear on TV or radio or a blog. That the BA wastes its time thinking about this is surprising. It shows how detached and superficial it has become. 

Freedom of speech is not absolute, as we have learnt from experience and Lowell’s banal and ludicrous statements have always pushed a bigoted narrative against humanity. We as journalists have an obligation to show our middle finger to the BA for its wrong policy. 

The onus of responsibility also falls once again on Robert Abela and Bernard Grech – they have their own appointees on the BA. Both have a responsibility to act now and take the opportunity to reform the Broadcasting Authority and amend its mission and statute. But more importantly to pronounce themselves on the BA’s pig-headed stance on this issue. 


In a world which is increasingly insane, the death of Alexei Navalny in a penal colony in Yamalo-Nenets above the Arctic Circle in Russia makes us more conscious of how fortunate we are living in the western world and not in Russia. 

We are in dire need of some normality in Europe and crying out for Europe to elect leaders who can embrace democracy in all its forms and export it beyond. 

Navalny’s courage could possibly be called reckless, but we all know that without rash and brazen heroes this world would not change. 

It is also a world which seemingly encourages individuals who have lost the plot to seek power: Donald Trump and his idea of inviting Valdimir Putin to invade NATO countries who do not pay their dues; Benjamin Netanyahu, who believes he is justified in killing thousands of innocent Palestinians; Rishi Sunak with his Rwanda policy; Joe Biden, who cannot appreciate his personal limitations and instead go for another presidential race; and of course, Valdimir Putin, a Hitler in his own right. 

Which makes us wonder why we should not be too unkind to ourselves when we look at our Maltese home-grown problems. 


I was struck by the words last week of 102-year-old philosopher Edgar Morin, one of France’s most respected intellectual figures, as well as a Jewish WW2 resistance fighter: 

“I am both astonished and outraged by the fact that those who represent the descendants of a people who were persecuted for centuries for religious or racial reasons... That the descendants of this people who are today the decision-makers of the State of Israel, that they could not only colonise an entire people, partly drive them out of their land and seek to expel them for good... But also, after the massacre of October 7, engaged in a real massive slaughter on the populations of Gaza and continue, incessantly, killing civilians, women, and children. 

“And to see the silence of the world, the silence of the United States, protectors of Israel, the silence of the Arab states, the silence of the European states who claim to be defenders of culture, humanity, human rights. 

“I think we are living through a horrible tragedy because we are also powerless in the face of this thing that is unleashing. At least, I say: bear witness! The only thing that remains if we cannot resist concretely is to testify. Let’s resist in our minds, let’s not be fooled, let’s not forget, let’s have the courage to face things head-on.” 

I guess further commentary would be superfluous.