The Malta Independent 10 December 2018, Monday

Helena Dalli is the Queen of Totalitarianism – PN MP Edwin Vassallo

Tuesday, 13 November 2018, 20:05 Last update: about 26 days ago

MP Edwin Vassallo gave Minister for European Affairs and Equality Helena Dalli the title of ‘Queen of Totalitarianism’ in Parliament today, as he lambasted the current administration for its recent perceived attacks on freedom of speech.

Vassallo singled out two ministers from the Labour government, Minister for Justice, Culture and Local Government Owen Bonnici and Minister for European Affairs and Equality Helena Dalli, who have both been involved in a number of controversies involving individuals, or groups’ rights to express themselves freely without fear of persecution.

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He outlined three specific incidents where he believed this took place.

The ‘Great Siege’ of the Great Siege monument

He began with the Great Siege monument in Valletta, that is at the centre of an ongoing saga between the government and activists who have chosen the monument as a makeshift shrine to murdered journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia. Vassallo pointed to the recent revelations that the instruction to dismantle the makeshift memorial was given by Minister Owen Bonnici over the phone to the Director General of the Cleansing Department.

“Why does this government not stand the flowers placed in front of the statue? Why does this government not stand the people who wish to remember the killing of this woman?”

The site has been cordoned off since 8 September. Flowers, photos and candles laid at the foot of the monument by activists and members of the public were cleared away by government workers on numerous occasions.

A constitutional case has been filed by activist Manuel Delia against Minister Owen Bonnici and the Director-General responsible for the Cleansing Department for clearing out the memorial. 

He emphasized his point by juxtaposing the fact that nowadays there is a protest if a dog or cat is found in a skip - rightly so, he said - but then the government is uncomfortable with individuals remembering the assassination of a journalist and mother.

“Why has the minister Owen Bonnici, in the name of the government, ended up censoring a popular sentiment? A popular sentiment in the name of an incident that no person can say was right?”

The Queen of Totalitarianism

The second incident brought up by Vassallo was the criticism aimed at X-Factor Malta contestant Matthew Grech by Dalli and Bonnici.

Matthew Grech, who is a singer and vocal coach, had an audition on X Factor Malta where he spoke about how he had been gay and he used to lead a “homosexual lifestyle” but then “found God”. He also raised ire across social media after he described anything that isn’t a marriage between a man and a woman as a “sin”.

Amongst other things, Dalli had stated that “that interview should never have been aired in the first place” because “it did untold damage to our efforts to change social attitudes towards minorities, including LGBTIQ youths”.

Vassallo said that he calls her the “Minister of Equality for the Marxist Ideology” because “she does, in no way, respect the laws of nature”.

“It is an ideology based on a person deciding who he is based on what he feels. It seems like if you do not agree with Helena Dalli then you are not on the right side.”

Vassallo rhetorically asked what Matthew Grech had done wrong when he spoke about a spiritual experience that he had gone through.

“Liberal thought is not totalitarian, they cannot go together”, he said, insisting that one cannot be a liberal and totalitarian at the same time as they are counter to each other in terms of the freedoms they provide.

“It is the right of every person to have an opinion and express it publicly.”

“The irony is that we are getting to a point in this country that if you express what you believe, and that which you believe in sounds like it is against what Helena Dalli wants,

Vassallo then said that it was he that believed in diversity and not Dalli, making the distinction between the diversity of thoughts and beliefs, and diversity of immutable characteristics.

The final incident was of Fr. Ivan Attard who had posted a video on Facebook explaining his beliefs regarding abstinence that also received criticism from Dalli.

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