The Malta Independent 16 May 2022, Monday

Moviment Patrijotti Maltin: Malta and the Maltese first - (Part 2)

Wednesday, 8 February 2017, 10:24 Last update: about 6 years ago

Moviment Patrijotti Maltin first entered the public conscience controversially as a pressure group dedicated to protecting what they call ‘Maltese values’ when it organised a protest in Msida against integration. A year on, the group has transformed itself into a political party and is ready to contest next year’s general election. The Malta Independent spoke to the party’s leader, Henry Battistino, about his views.

You’ve spoken about your economic policy, but your stance on integration is the cornerstone of the party’s political message, even calling for a referendum against integration - integration with whom?

We are against forced integration. We are a Christian country so when the boats started coming, we helped, like with the Albanians who came before. The only difference is that the Albanians left.
That is why we are calling for the treaty of George Borg Olivier to be re-enacted, since it was drafted with the endemic problems of being a small island taking into account issues like size and population.  This was carried on by Perit Mintoff. If he thought something was rubbish he would have disposed of it. This treaty lasted until four months before we joined the EU and we had to accept that it was removed.


Because it needed to be replaced by the new EU treaty…
The previous treaty protected the island the way it had to be protected.
When the population chose to join the EU, due to the number of treaties we had to sign, the number of boats steadily increased but the people did not notice straight away. We wanted to help them, but with the condition that they go back.  And they did not go back, and a lot of them are economic migrants.
After Europe began accepting them it became a disaster with massive social problems, and now they’re scared that something will happen.
These people are economic migrants and because they want a better life, they go to another country, which is forced to accept them.  By the way, these people who come know the rules and regulations more than our top lawyers, they are instructed what to do, they know the game exactly, and Europe has realised they taking everyone for a ride

That’s a bit of an overstatement when you consider that migrants come to Malta because of its geographical position and its proximity to North Africa. 60% are asylum seekers, and 30% get relocated.
No, it is not an overstatement. A lot of them are economic migrants. You said the boats stopped.

I said that the boat arrivals have reduced drastically in the last couple of years.
I said two years ago that we shut the door but they were coming through the window, and no one believed us. When the refugee commission issued the latest data that 4,000 came in the last two years claimed asylum, it shows they are coming in by air.

But these are refugees.
No they are not.

But the figures you quoted are the UNHCR’s official figures
They are not refugees, and another aspect you failed to mention is the number of people coming to Malta by catamaran, especially since the Italy deal. They are locked in. Before then they were able to run rampant around Europe.
France closed its borders, Switzerland, and Austria closed too.  Since then Italy’s problems have intensified.
They are coming from Italy and they are African, because Malta is the only place to the south. They are coming for work and they are staying.

Most people are sent back and are given suspended sentences.
But that only happened since Schengen was closed. But when it’s reopened, they will not get caught.
There are Malians who work here, go back to Italy and register there. They are then put in little boxes for rent. The media is missing the idea of our movement, we were demonised as racists. The real people who should be demonized are the people who are exploiting them. There is a problem of exploitation. Has your newspaper exposed any of these stories?

Yes, in the clothing industry specifically.
That was three years ago, that had been going on for 25 years, and that was one-off. There is mass exploitation in a lot of sectors. This is not a realistic situation we should be in. No one is benefitting except those who exploit them.

You talk about demonising the party, but how do expect the media to react when you exhibit overt racist behaviour, as was seen when the party handed out pork sandwiches at a protest?
Oh, fancy eating pork in your own country. That’s disgusting.

You knew and understood the connotations that held.
Do you know that these people were putting their arse to the back of the Catholic Church?

They were praying in the direction of Mecca.
Yes, I know.

So what you’re saying was that it was just a coincidence?
Just as much as it was a coincidence that we were eating pork.

That case was not a coincidence.
How is it racist then? I am in Malta.

So why did you hand out pork sandwiches?
Because that was what was on the menu that day.

The party had stated that it was being done after claims said that children were not able to eat pork at school.
The Parish priest said that.

But Fr Michael Attard said that you “were making a big deal out of nothing”. The head of the school denied these claims, the ministry denied these claims, and parents denied these claims.
People talk to us privately because they’re dead scared of being stigmatised. I had a pork sandwich in my country, when in their country I cannot even make the sign of the cross, I cannot have a Bible or they will arrest me.  You are defending this cult, because I would not even call it a religion.  Have you ever been to Muslim country?

I have. Don’t you think that you are making a general statement considering there are so many Muslims in the world, with varying cultures such as Morocco, UAE and Indonesia?
Do you know what happened in Indonesia with the Christian mayor? Are you equating their democracy to ours? U allura, uwejja!

Then if you’re saying our democracy is better, shouldn’t we show a better way?
No, they have to accept our way. And that is the mistake the media is making.

How are they not accepting our way?
They are different.  The Indian community has been here for a long time and we have integrated with them.

So why are you against integration when you’ve just said it can be achieved?
Because integration has not worked.

You just said it did.
It has not worked anywhere.

What about the second generation Serbians who have also integrated with the community?
This is why I am calling for a population census. Before we can talk properly about the subject we need to have a census.

There are statistics available, which say that 5.9% of the Maltese population is foreign, with only 2.7% being non-EU nationals.
Do you believe these statistics?

These are the official figures from Eurostat and UNHCR.
You have to see with your eyes, not some statistic.

But what you’re saying is viewing something subjectively over objective fact.
How can there be 4,000 Arabs in Malta when we have 55,000 Libyans. Have you been to Sliema?

I live there, and I don’t really understand what you’re talking about.
San Gwann, Msida, Swieqi. You know what Orwell said in 1984, the government, the whole rotten establishment, the one [Donald] Trump is fighting, the last thing they will tell you is don’t see anything with your eyes and don’t believe anything you hear with your ears. And this is what is happening, we are in Malta and everywhere is jam packed with foreigners. Chinese, Serbs and Arabs.

The figure says 5.9%
Keep on saying that. Everyone has eyes, everyone lives with them, and we keep on saying that this invasion is non-existent.

Do you believe that it is ironic that you speak about Donald Trump and 1984 in the same sentence? After the last couple of weeks, he’s exhibited Big Brother-like behaviour with ‘alternative facts’?
Trump does something to the politicians you were brought up with. In Malta we had someone like him, Dom Mintoff. Whatever he said, he would do straight away. He said NATO will go and they went the next day. Trump does what he says. We are so used to having these puerile, treacherous, corrupt leaders that you can’t see what a proper politician does.

So do you agree with banning people from entering the country based on where they are from?
If you love your country, you do it.

But it has worked in America, the country is founded on multiculturalism.
Has it? In Chicago has it worked? In America are they happy? In England are they happy? In France are they happy? It has failed. It has been dumped on us for 40 years.

So why do you think a movement such as yours fails to gather such a large group of members?
We have 27,000 signatures and we are aiming for 34,000. When we get that we will demand a referendum.

Will I be able to look at those signatures, as in previous meetings you have claimed there were 1,000 people when there were only 100.
Yes you can.

The government has recently announced plans to form a national action plan on integration, what would you say to that?
They can chuck it. There is no mandate for it. We wanted to help these people, not to integrate them. When you say integrate, that means granting them citizenship and we do not want citizenship for the illegals. We are Christians so we helped, but now we know what is coming, as what happened to France, to Sweden and to Belgium. We want the Maltese to decide. A referendum is not something the liberals want, as when it does not go their way they complain. Why is it every time a referendum or election does not go their way, the liberals call everyone stupid.  Liberalism is one the wane now. The clock has turned. Every era has an end.

So what are we moving into now?

What is realism, racial tensions?
Racial tensions will always be there, and that’s why integration cannot work

What would you say to the many Italian, Chinese, German etc. descendants who live in America and other countries?
Show me where Muslims have become integrated.

All over the world. I mean the French national team of the world cup 1998 were a symbol of integration
So were the bombers. They were third generation French.  Everyone has integrated except them. Unless you accept that the problem of integration in Europe is with Muslims, then we can’t move forward.

We’ll have to disagree.
That’s fine, we are talking about a cult. You may call it a religion.

It’s one of the world’s oldest religions, and its culture has been at the centre of some of the world’s major scientific advancements.
There are 11 different types I think. The scenario is this, we have this religion, which I prefer to call a cult.  It is a fact that 20% of these people support jihadis. Let’s not say jihadis but extremists. They support an extreme form of this cult, the other 80% have had all the time in the world to get their house in order. To give you an example, the hooliganism in English football was stopped by the majority who were not hooligans. A large amount of them are not fundamentalist, but did they manage to put their house in order? No. Either they are not capable or I don’t know.

What are these statistics? You have made a lot of general statements?
They are all over the world, these statistics.

But what about countries like Tunisia, UAE, Qatar and Indonesia?
Tunisia has the largest ISIS community.
Dubai, Qatar and Saudi Arabia are the richest countries in the area, why doesn’t the media instead of attacking us, or Trump, tell them to take one bloody refugee? These are Muslims, they are rich, phenomenally rich, they have the land mass, why don’t they take one?

They should be criticised, but I am interviewing you.

These countries are stable places.

They’re under authoritarian rule.
They are still stable. If you are a war refugee you would go next door. Plus the majority are economic migrants, 8% only are refugees.

Recently the government removed the THP-N, do you agree with it?
What is that?

Temporary Humanitarian Protection (New) is given to a  person who gets rejected as an asylum seeker but cannot return to the homeland through no fault of their own.
Europe and the western world are full of unwanted migrants. Now all of a sudden, Europe has its back to the wall, and by Europe I mean the people benefitting from the riches of the commission. People have realised that the EU is crumbling because the people are fed up with everything. This excessive migration is getting on their nerves. They have decided for repatriation.  If you are telling me we shouldn’t repatriate, they come from countries where there is no war, there are small conflicts but it is safe enough for them to return. In Europe there are issues in Kosovo emerging, it does not mean we are not safe. We believe in the repatriation of economic migrants. We should help the proper refugees.
These positions people are taking, does that mean you want an open border?

Wouldn’t you say they are repatriating now?
It’s because the election is close and Joseph [Muscat] is remembering about the push-back, so he wants to start playing the election game. We have consistently said, you may say we’re consistently wrong, but we’re being proven right, as people are proposing an open border. There has to be a naval blockade from Libya.

The UNHCR has said the number of arrivals by boat has gone down.
Italy’s migrant numbers have doubled. See the statistics that the number of boats arrivals has increased. We have to decide about borders.  They’re not going to return. Look at Libya, they’ve bombed it all to hell.

There is hope that it could stabilise, people had thought Yugoslavia would never recover.
That is different. Libya was made of tribes. Are we going to be back here in three years’ time and talk about the same things?

It seems to me that the party is anti-EU.
We are very eurosceptic, but one of the objectives is that we have is to renegotiate the EU Treaty.

Would you agree that Malta has benefitted tremendously under EU membership? We will have been given €2 billion worth of funds by 2020.
Mela, we’re prostitutes. What are funds? What is money?

They’ve gone towards infrastructure, social mobility, hospitals (the new oncology centre was 80% EU funded). Before EU membership Malta was still considered to be a developing nation.
All in all let’s say we benefitted money-wise, even though I don’t agree. Young people like you rely on the EU because you have been fed this dogma that everything good we’ve achieved is because of the EU.

When we became independent and the English left in 1979, they thought we would starve but we managed, out of our own good work, to achieve success.  Malta had built everything, our airlines, our banks, which are now all owned by foreigners. Malta was doing very well, the workers built their own houses. How many build their own houses now?
Malta could have used the EU to better itself but this is not the pact we signed up to. We are no longer Maltese, but EU citizens. The country had to accept rules it did not need. And the worst thing of all is that Malta has become grossly overpopulated.
Borg Olivier was supportive of the EEC but still refused to join. Because of our proximity to Italy, he was scared that they would come. Everyone made fun, but look where we are now. We have ended up the rubbish dump of Europe. There are good people but ask the residents of St Paul’s Bay, Marsa, San Gwann. We are in this situation because we had to sign on to the Schengen [agreement].

What would you say to the many Maltese people studying and working abroad?
Is this new? I went abroad, my friends did. Should you sell your country for these things?

You say people are fed up with EU but we have one of the highest approval ratings for the EU.
Did I say I wanted to leave?  First of all by the time I would actually say that we leave completely, it would have crashed because signs are that way. It is clear in our manifesto that we are eurosceptic, because events show us that we are right, we are very eurosceptic. But we will not call for a referendum because not one Member of Parliament is saying we should get out. It would be illogical and stupid. We should renegotiate.

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