All is pardoned

The jihadists who shoot and are willing to die for their cause distinguish themselves from their predecessors by believing that dying in the course of their ‘duty’ is noble and justifiable.

If there was a knee jerk reaction this week, it was definitely Marlene Farrugia’s decision to resign from the Labour parliamentary group, and effectively as chairman of the environment committee.  

Like her or hate her, her chairmanship of the committee gave the green lobby the chance to ventilate its opinion and raise issues.

From my TV interview with her (which will be screened on TV ‘Reporter’ today at 10.05pm) I did not need much to assume that she had lost her cool and scribbled her resignation note to Prime Minister Joseph Muscat without any serious thought.

Marlene Farrugia has long been bothered with the idea of loyalty to a party. Her political CV started off with a flirtation with PDM (1987), then with Labour, then with the PN, then back again to Labour and now finally as an Independent.

But perhaps Marlene Farrugia miscalculated, and she has hurt her partner more than anyone else. Her resignation was privately gladly acceptable to Muscat, who in typical Machiavellian fashion was praying for the day.

It is Godfrey Farrugia who must be the most uncomfortable man on the Islands.  In taking her stand in parliament Marlene Farrugia must have unconsciously forgotten, or just swept away, what she has burdened her partner with. Godfrey is not just a backbencher, he is party whip.  He is the standard bearer of the Labour parliamentary group.  As party whip he is the face of unquestioned loyalty and the purveyor of team loyalty in the group.

Whether Marlene likes it or not she is the embodiment of what any whip would fear.

Which effectively places Godfrey in a very difficult situation. 

Last Friday, when Marlene had the inevitable clash with Joe Debono Grech, who could not restrain his usual inimitably rude over-reaction, threatening Farrugia, Godfrey was in more than a quandary.

And taking a decision to effectively leave the Labour party and create as much havoc as is possible, she has left Godfrey with a very flimsy political future. More so his days as party whip are numbered.  It was offered as a sop when he refused to take up the ministerial post of social policy.

It is a sad situation. Here is a man who means well, has never sought the limelight and could have had a role in politics. It is only a matter of time before he offers his resignation as party whip.


Murdering people so close to home is a harsh reality.  It gets harder when you realise that it could have been you or someone you know.  Drinking a glass of wine on the terrace at a café, walking the streets of Paris, attending a concert and getting shot, hugely exacerbated anxiety and fear of the unknown.

Terrorism and violence are not something new. The jihadists who shoot and are willing to die for their cause distinguish themselves from their predecessors by believing that dying in the course of their ‘duty’ is noble and justifiable.

Yet like so many ‘educated’ terrorists before them, they have long equated violence to be justifiable and an end to a means.  

Bombing a Syrian and Iraqi village to root out IS has left hundreds dead.  Women and children are the luckless victims, as innocent as the bystanders who probably would have never contemplated discussing international politics or perhaps even condoned the air bombing by Russia, US and France of IS targets in Syria and Iraq.

IS has no justifiable reason to exist, but that is what we said about the Taliban, and the other terrorist groups ETA, the IRA, the PLO and the Irgun and Stern groups. The latter being Jewish terrorist groups who killed innocent people in their bid for the creation of an independent Israeli State.

Strangely we all said we would never talk to terrorists, but many returned to middle of the road politics, and went on to become respectable politicians and even prime ministers. The Irish, Jewish and Palestinians are the best examples.

One could not imagine this happening with IS leaders, but never say never.

IS was created after the State of Iraq and Syria collapsed after repeated attempts to introduce a Western style democracy to a post-Saddam Hussein nation, and to destroy Assad in Syria.  It started off on the premise that the Iraqi leader had weapons of mass destruction. It turned out to be false. But never mind, as was the case with Libya, there was no plan B.

Hopefully most people do not believe all the crap that the West is the defender of human rights and democracy.  If that were the case, the West would take Saudi Arabia over live coals for financing international terrorism and imposing sharia law. 

It does not, for the most obvious reasons.

The other week on ‘Reporter’ on TVM, I interviewed the very eloquent French Ambassador to Malta, the week before I was talking to the US ambassador. They talk in equal measure about the distorted minds that work behind the acts of IS.

When I asked the French ambassador about the fact that many second generation French Arabs are excluded from society and find refuge in Jihadist beliefs, she brushed it aside.

Integration locally and abroad in the wider sense, I feel, is the solution.

Ignoring the fact that IS is a highly organised group manned by well educated individuals who are equipped with the best understanding of marketing and IT is an understatement.

Politicians will react to these crises by bombing. That, in their small minds, will settle scores and problems, the long term solution is infinitely different and wiser.


Reading some of the local press, it is abundantly clear that some writers – not journalists by the way – are suggesting that Malta is overflowing with Jihadists. The articles have no structured and solid references and are most of the time speculative.  Here in the media, we are of course all eyes for anything remotely Jihadist, but really most Jihadists are surely unaware that Malta exists in the first place.

So when I read yesterday’s In-Nazzjon, the article probably penned once again by Joe Mikallef, I couldn’t help thinking that the title:  “Malta saret destinazzjoni ġdida Ġiħadista” (Malta has become a new Jihadist destination) would only find its place on the front page when the PN is in opposition. If the PN were in government it would be doing the same thing that the Labour government is doing today: playing down everything.

The discovery of two Syrians with fake passports at Bergamo airport in Italy on their way to Malta was obviously taken up immediately by the right wing press in Bergamo, dominated by the anti-immigrant party Lega Nord.

The same hysterical reportage of the visas for Algerians is also getting out of hand. I am not quite sure who to believe any more, but I am inclined to doubt the veracity or the good intentions of a campaign when Beppe Fenech Adami cries wolf.

We all have great responsibilities in reporting and perhaps under-reporting when the news can only alarm and create more chaos than information flow.