The Malta Independent 5 August 2021, Thursday

Jason Micallef brands environmentalist as ‘enemy of Malta’ for featuring in concrete paradise film

Albert Galea Friday, 4 June 2021, 16:51 Last update: about 2 months ago

Valletta Cultural Agency chairman Jason Micallef has once again found himself in a Facebook spat, this time branding environmental activist Claire Bonello as a “traitor and enemy of Malta” for featuring in a documentary which exposed Malta’s concrete-ridden landscape.

Micallef, who also happens to be the chairman of the Labour Party’s television arm, took to the Facebook comments board to lambast Bonello over her appearance in a 10-minute documentary produced and published by French station ARTE.

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The documentary, published on Friday, shone a light on Malta’s concrete-infested landscape, and included short interviews with Bonello, who is a lawyer who has made her name in taking the environmental fight to court, and other figures such as Din l-Art Helwa’s Alex Torpiano, Moviment Graffitti activist Karen Tanti, and Qala mayor Paul Buttigieg.

Taking to a Facebook post where Bonello shared an article about the documentary, Micallef branded the lawyer as a traitor, saying that the only person who should be ashamed is herself.

“Claire, you should be ashamed of yourself not the other way round. Actively participating in deceitful foreign productions trying their utmost to harm Malta and the Maltese is disgraceful and appalling. One word... traitor and an enemy of Malta and the Maltese that’s what you are,” Micallef said.

Bonello replied: “I think the persons and authorities who are allowing the uglification and ruin of our country should be ashamed of themselves. The truth is out there – the country that we love has become an ugly, over-developed, polluted, unsustainable mess – also due to the many persons of trust sucking greedily at the public teat and acting as cowardly yes men to environmental atrocities.”

Instead of addressing the point, Micallef then posted screengrabs of criticism towards ARTE for what was described as a lack of reportage about riots which happened in France.

“We discussed the cementification of Malta as that is a problem that cannot easily be greenwashed and which affects our health and wellbeing. I'm not revealing any secrets Jason - when people visit they can see for themselves that the place has become ugly and crowded”, she replied.

“Permits are issued like pastizzi, enforcement is nil, good governance is the exception, direct orders galore, a multitude of persons of trust...Now we can simply say that other countries have their problems as well, and think that it's fine. It's not. Malta is our home, why should it be subject to further degradation.”

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