The Malta Independent 19 October 2018, Friday

Truth-seekers my foot

Charles Flores Sunday, 23 September 2018, 10:04 Last update: about 26 days ago

If the delegation from the European Parliament’s  Civil Liberties Committee ostensibly flew over, for the umpteenth time, “to seek the truth” of the situation in Malta, then they could hardly have been expected to find it.

You first really need to want to. There is this vicious circle that has the timbre of a needle stuck in the groove of an old vinyl record, by way of constantly regurgitating the same unfounded suspicions and hollow conclusions. But we’re practically on the eve of a new round of Euro elections and anything is worth trying to help sow some paid lobbyist’s politically prejudiced trash.

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The neutral observer cannot but marvel at this obsession with the EU’s tiniest nation when two-thirds of the Union’s member states are faced with decades-old rule-of-law dilemmas, financial imbroglio and political turmoil. Take Italy, for example, home country and birthplace of the original Mafia of incumbent EP president Antonio Tajani. How many such delegations has it received in the past – and the present – over its incalculable number of cases making a parody of the rule of law? Over the years, how many Italian MEPs have been sent with fellow MEPs to investigate, to ask, to comment and to draw conclusions? None that have made a credible noise. This neurotic treatment is reserved for Malta, where Opposition MEPs, with an obvious political agenda in mind, are included – rather than asked to refrain for fairness’ sake – in delegations on yet another ‘mission’ to Malta.

Tajani, of course, knows this. He finds no bigotry in it, which is not surprising given his obscene comments recently on Malta and Slovakia as he shamelessly attempted to play down the horrors of Orban’s present-day Hungary. The man is an insult to the European Union’s highest institution and he has as big a conflict of interest as St Peter’s Dome in the Vatican. Compared to him, Martin Schulz was a boy scout.

Tajani was Silvio Berlusconi’s right-hand man when, 15 years ago, the proven corrupt Bunga Bunga billionaire politician caused a major political storm as Prime Minister of Italy by attacking the country’s prosecutors and judges as “mentally disturbed” and “anthropologically different from the rest of the human race”. Did Tajani have to deal with queues of tut-tutting EP delegations at the time?

Now that Italy has an ultra right-wing Government, whose deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini is already in conflict with the Italian judiciary, what says the pompous Tajani, I wonder. Send in an EP delegation with one or two Italian anti-Lega MEPs in it for good measure?

Regardless of these and other complaints, rightly raised by the Labour MEPs in Brussels, the Maltese authorities have always shown a courteous willingness to discuss, to explain, to answer and to cooperate every time an EP delegation came to satisfy the appetite of these wolves in sheep’s clothing.

One very relevant point raised by Labour MEP Miriam Dalli, for example, was to question how – while the Working Group that came to Malta also went to Slovakia but did not include any Slovakian MEPs in the delegation – it did include a Maltese Opposition MEP. She pointedly asked: “How can a PN MEP be part of a mission sent to look impartially into the rule of law of their own country, when that MEP’s thoughts are already well-known?” The same had to be said about the list of meetings that the Working Group had with so-called ‘civil society representatives’ composed of anti-Labour Government activists “who have a set narrative and are certainly not representative of the Maltese population at large.”

Neither did Marlene Mizzi MEP beat about the bush on the issue when she tweeted her immediate reaction to Tajani’s bare-faced defence of Berlusconi’s Forza Italia support of Hungary with the absurd, sci-fi claim that “rule of law breaches worse in Malta”: “No quantum leap for European Parliament President Tajani. He just remained a Berlusconi Boy unfit for the role of President of this multi-political institution. He remained biased, partisan, gullible and blinkered.”

In plainer language, truth-seekers my foot.

 

History’s little ironies 1

Regular readers may remember my quip a fortnight ago suggesting we should make a serious bid to buy the islands of Lampedusa and Pantelleria from Italy and so help enlarge the ever-more populated Maltese archipelago. It was said in jest, of course, more as a sarcastic remark meant to give Italy’s current Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for the Interior – the neo-fascist Matteo Salvini – a simple lesson in geography than anything else.

Or so I thought. I have since been informed by a good friend and history buff how history shows that Lampedusa, the nearest Italian piece of territory to the African continent, was – for about three centuries – actually the property of three Maltese families, Gatt, Frenda and Fernandez. Theirs was an incredible story of power, riches and endless feuds spattered with court battles, piracy and international intrigue. According to the 1802 Treaty of Amiens, the Brits were to leave Malta, which they refused to do, but had on one occasion offered to move to Lampedusa instead.

This beautiful, forgotten little island, like which Malta could easily have just been in European history had the Knights and the Brits not been a highlight of our nation’s story, became Italian when the King of the Two Sicilies bought it from those “enterprising” Maltese families. In the process he also acquired the islands of Lampione and Linosa.

Today, Salvini can only blame the old king for history’s little ironies.

 

History’s little ironies 2

Many must still remember way back in the early Nineties the mass of Labour supporters throwing symbolic protest stones at the spot in Marsaxlokk where the gigantic chimney of the then new oil-burning power-station was to be erected. It made good, naive fun at the time. I even wrote a poem on the emerging ‘smoking’ skyline of the old picturesque fishing village. The tiny poem was at the time also put on ironic display (no data or intellectual property protection then) at a pro-chimney/pro-power-station political activity aimed at ridiculing the justified concerns of many people.

Almost three decades later, that chimney, at the time the highest structure on the Island, is happily no more. Even better – and much safer health-wise, our energy today is gas-produced. Thank the goodness of changing electoral moods, not the stones. And certainly not the poetry.

 

 

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