The Malta Independent 6 August 2020, Thursday

The dung beetle takes a bow

Claudette Buttigieg Thursday, 5 December 2019, 07:58 Last update: about 9 months ago

What extraordinary times. Valletta is being rocked by some of the largest protests ever.

The numbers keep growing. The crowds are angrier. What started as a group of “annoying women”, who simply would not give up, has turned into an angry sea of people. They love this country and want to live a normal life, in a normal democracy, run by honest people, not crooks.

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On Sunday, the massive protest was followed by Joseph Muscat’s address to the nation. He told us what we expected but he still managed to insult our intelligence.

While we waited for the recorded message on national television, we were kept "entertained" by short documentaries on the natural habitat of our islands. North Korea, anyone? I was particularly struck by the one on the dung beetle. In the circumstances, I thought it fitting.

Many waited in hope. Perhaps Muscat had finally got the message. Maybe he really would finally do the right thing. You think?

Muscat’s speech was one big hollow lie, a dictator telling his people how beautiful and perfect everything is. It will take far more hard work to wash out that "damn spot” which rivals Lady Macbeth's.

He tried to fake a tone of triumph, telling us that he has accomplished his mission. He told us he had kept his word to leave office once the assassination of Daphne Caruana Galizia was solved. Strangely, the country doesn't feel the triumph or that the case is anywhere near closed. A businessman has been arraigned but others are implicated in this case.

Basically, Muscat told us he would resign but not yet. Perhaps, as a good friend put it, he needs to be reminded that he does not need to work the notice. He should leave immediately.

As I write, the letter written by Melvin Theuma implicating Keith Schembri has been published. For this alone, Muscat should not only resign, he should be questioned by the police.

Justice cannot be served with Muscat occupying Castille. Given his outrageous behaviour, we cannot be sure he will not obstruct justice.

In his address on Sunday, Muscat made no reference whatsoever to Keith Schembri. He expressed no remorse for what happened to our country thanks to his inaction.

Worse still, there was little feeling shown for what happened to Daphne Caruana Galizia and her family. Muscat did not have the courage to refer to Daphne by name.

I have no problem jogging his memory: Her name is Daphne Caruana Galizia. She was a mother to three very brave sons. She was a wife, a daughter and a sister. She was a journalist who had the courage to reveal the shocking secrets at the heart of our government. She stood firm even when she was alone.

On Monday, the Opposition walked out of Parliament because we refuse to debate with Muscat while he is Prime Minister.

We threw fake five thousand euro notes at the Government Members of Parliament. All the Labour side needs to understand that by allowing Muscat to hang on, they become accomplices in the ruin of Malta's reputation.

The betrayal of our country, the betrayal of our people and our democracy is called high treason. Knowing what we know now, and predicting that more might yet come out in the coming hours, days and weeks, I have these questions to put forward to my honourable (and not so honourable) colleagues:

How will your children and children’s children remember you? Will they be proud to mention your name, or will they do their utmost to hide any possible connection to you? Will they be able to hold their heads high because of what you did, or will they hang their heads in shame?

Your names will go down in the history books of our country. Surely you don’t want to be remembered for the wrong reason. You all can, and must, do the right thing.

Muscat must leave today, not tomorrow, and not a day longer. He must also face justice. There are others who should follow Muscat out of the door. This is the only way we can start afresh to fix this country’s reputation and to guarantee that true justice will be served.

Two years ago, Antonio Di Pietro addressed us outside Parliament. The man behind “Mani Pulite” came to encourage us not to give up. Just over a month ago, Leoluca Orlando, the man who fought the Mafia in Palermo, told us that the crowd would grow, and justice will be served.

It was hard to believe it then, but my hope has been rekindled by the crowds and by Eve Borg Bonello, a young sixteen-year old who, like many other students, is standing up to fight for her future.

She loves her country and will do what it takes to protect it. So should we all.

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