… and the winner is, hate

Ranging from 1973 to current times, have things changed all that drastically or have they remained the same? An inside look into the Daphne Caruana Galizia's blog and the effect it may be having on PN


For Caruana Galizia, like Mintoff, the end justifies the means
For Caruana Galizia, like Mintoff, the end justifies the means

I come from unassuming families on both sides. I never knew my two grandfathers as they both died before my father married my mother. None of them owned a bank: they were humble hardworking people. Both families, however, were part of the PN grassroots – those grassroots that many now pretending to be PN stalwarts know nothing about.

In December 1973 – when the National Bank of Malta saga was unfolding before the country’s eyes – I was lured to join the political fray by Louis Galea, whom I had known at university. Were I seeking ways to become rich, I could have easily refused and joined the Mintoff-led Labour bandwagon. But I did not.

I took the conscious decision to stick my head out and oppose the government of the day because I could not agree with its way of doing things. Some of its reforms made sense objectively and were long overdue but it was the way they were done that irked me so much.

Mintoff had too many chips on his shoulder to do things the right way. He was in a hurry and for him the end always justified the means. Even worse, he pushed his agenda by whipping out hate inspired by jealousy, using heavy-handed tactics that backfired. In many instances the collateral damage as a result of his methods surpassed the benefit of his actions.

Hate was the successful trait of the Mintoff agenda, because hate is the strongest human emotion. I can never forget what a 1980s PN activist, who had crossed over from Labour, once told me: ‘I hate him because he taught me how to hate.’

Eddie Fenech Adami led us to appeal for ‘national reconciliation’, but on achieving power in 1987, many just could not stomach it. I remember a PN general council when after a barrage of complaints about the PN administration letting the ‘laburisti’ do what they want and not punishing them enough, a councillor stood up and reminded the gathering that the PN had promised national reconciliation. Even though everybody knew what a selfless hardworking PN supporter she was, many started to boo. It had to be Eddie to stop them.

It took Labour decades to shake off the mantle of hate that they got lost in. One can still find vestiges of hate in the Labour ranks, of course, but I do not think that it inspires the current leadership.

Why anyone should be welcomed for imbuing the PN and its supporters with hate, is beyond me.

The hate evident in Daphne Caruana Galizia’s blog is palpable. Even when she is right, she says it with a streak of hate that might excite people – even church-going saintly people – and this is absolutely wrong. Hating people I disagree with was never on my agenda and I always regetted the few temporary lapses in this regard.

Suddenly, thanks to her blog, hate has become the staple diet of many a so-called PN supporter – or should I say Labour opposer. In all this, I perceive the same type of manipulation of the truth, selective truth, untruths or outright lies of the Mintoff days.

People are incited to hate whomever she hates. People are encouraged to spy and tell her about the whereabouts of those whom she hates – as if these people should not have the freedom to do what they want to do in their life. Whoever she considers an obstacle to her aims becomes the target of her hate and, as a result, hate has taken over a chunk of the PN.

The way she has wreaked havoc in the PN’s internal democratic process of the leadership election is there for all to see. Assuming, for the sake of the argument, that Adrian Delia is guilty of all that he has been accused of, the spiteful way in which she ‘handled’ the issue is still not justified. What benefit does the PN get by having its MPs attacked savagely on her blog? What benefit does the PN get from her evidently snide contempt of the PN grass roots? The collateral damage to the PN caused by her heavy-handed tactics is probably far greater than the damage an Adrian Delia leadership could have caused because this shambles has undoubtedly increased the number of years that the PN will remain in Opposition.

This is fascinatingly similar to Dom Mintoff’s methods: she is in a hurry and for her the end always justifies the means, while pushing her agenda by whipping out hate.

The fervour for a serious and respectable PN was never part of her agenda. She was never a PN supporter. Simply put, at this point in time her hate of the PL is slightly greater than her hate of the PN. The chips on her shoulders exist as well. But more about that some other time.

After all these years, I find I have to take yet another momentous decision.

No, I am not going to join Labour – as many have done after having been pushed by her.

I opt to remain steadfast against hate, however victorious it might claim to be.

She knows it all

The other week when I was on holiday abroad, I found enough spare time to read Joseph Cassar’s book: ‘Gonzi and Malta’s break with Gaddafi – Recollections of a Premier’ – something that I had wanted to do for a long time.

When writing about the incident of the two Libjan jet fighters that escaped to Malta, the author describes how the then PM, Lawrence Gonzi, played for time – with the tact of an experienced Vatican diplomat, I would put it. I have gone on record, publicly disagreeing with some decisions taken by the Gonzi administrations (for which I was ostracised by the Gonzi faithful) but this was not one of them. In that case, he passed the test with flying colours.

What benefit does the PN get by having its MPs attached savagely on Caruana Galizia's blog? What benefit does the PN get from her evidently snide contempt of the PN grass roots?

The author also refers to what Daphne Caruana Galizia wrote about the issue, coincidentally when the UK Defence Secretary was visiting Malta. This is what he says: ‘In an entry entitled ‘Hiding behind Neutrality’s skirt’ she criticised Gonzi for saying that the Libyan leader had lost his legitimacy the moment he started shooting his own people. Caruana Galizia held that Gaddafi’s rule never held any legitimacy because it was the result of imposition rather than choice by the people... She also criticised Gonzi’s statement that Malta’s neutrality status would be maintained and that Malta’s Constitutional obligations would be respected.’

Cassar goes on to quote directly from Caruana Galizia’s article: ‘Neutrality means that we expect others to solve problems which effect us directly while we lie around and play dead.’ Affirming that Prime Minister Gonzi took such criticism in his stride, the author also points out that: ‘Caruana Galizia still seemed to ignore the import of Gonzi’s decision not to return the Mirage fighter jets well before any sanctions had been adopted. Malta had taken the decision notwithstanding the dangers to which its security would subsequently be exposed. Surely no one could think that Malta had played dead then.’

But she knows it all!

Different times. Different circumstances.

Same agenda. Same lack of objectivity and same manipulation of the truth.