How can you condemn violence? Violence has no free will. Condemn the perpetrators.

Published: February 21, 2011 at 1:45pm

Sometimes it's necessary to condemn the sinner, not the sin

The prime minister has just “condemned all forms of violence and bloodshed”. This doesn’t mean he’s got off that fence, but merely moved to a different position on it.

A generic condemnation is, in these circumstances, woefully inadequate and smacks of that ridiculous maxim so beloved of Maltese people who can’t bear to stick their necks out: “Condemn the sin but not the sinner”.

What does that mean, exactly – condemn the sin but not the sinner? Sins are committed by sinners, and they are the ones who should be condemned for doing it.

The prime minister cannot be credible when he condemns violence in general while saying nothing about the perpetrators, or even failing to distinguish between them.

With this statement, he has condemned equally the actions of protestors who are burning down government buildings and the actions of Gaddafi’s mercenaries who are shooting at protestors from helicopters.

A Libyan friend explained to me why there were reports of protests in Green Square, Tripoli, last night, followed by sounds of gunfire, screaming and chaos, and then this morning an eerie silence in the city.

“They allowed the protestors to make their way unhindered to Green Square, then they came out and began gunning them down,” she said. “Many died and are injured. We can’t get much information from our family in Tripoli because calls are being monitored.”

In this situation, rumours are flying around, with reports of a gun battle between two of Gaddafi’s sons, Saif being shot dead by his brother, and their father nowhere to be seen.

115 Comments Comment

  1. Edward Caruana Galizia says:

    The link I posted on an earlier post has links to other Arabic websites. One of them claims that Gaddafi has fled to either Venezuela or Brazil on his private jet.

    Army officers and soldiers are also reported to have defected and joined the resistance. Same can be said of the police too. All rumours though. Nothing official.

  2. Tunnel Vision says:

    “Martin Farrugia(43 minutes ago)As soon as authority breaks down completely in Libya, thousnds of Somalis currently in Libya will start flocking to our shores. I hope the governemnet has a continegency plan to fend them off. Otherwise it is bye bye Malta. And I am not exaggerating.”

  3. R Camilleri says:

    From the in reply to the demonstration in from of the Maltese Libyan Embassy:

    maria(12 minutes ago)
    why doesn t air malta offer them a free one way ticket so they can be noisy in their own country…this is our chance!!!

    What about: ‘Malta hanina, hobza u sardina’!

  4. Hibernating from Malta says:

    When the situation is so clear, why oh why is the prime minister so scared to come out against Gaddafi?

  5. Another John says:

    The prime minister is just upholding the neutrality clause.

  6. Another John says:

    Gaddafi’s time was up already by the 1980s but our KMB did him a good deed by warning him of the incoming American planes.

    Obviously, it is the Libyan people who suffered another two decades of Gaddafi. Imma ahna l-aqwa li konna hbieb ta’ Gaddafi. X’jimpurtana mill-poplu.

  7. el bandido guapo says:

    Certainly reminds me of protests “against drugs” or calls to “ban guns”.

  8. And this is what some of our Catholic Maltese brethren have to say on the situation:

  9. kev says:

    Don’t panic, Daphne, this is just another Soros-inspired ‘colour revolutions’.

    As the ‘Third World’ is ‘democratised’ the Western puppeteers head on towards their ‘one world government’ dream, where no wars exist, just subservient nations who believe they are free…

    Pity the ‘Jasmine Revolution’ is not doing quite so well in China. But then we’d need a spare enemy in our inside pocket to push the dream through, won’t we, especially if Iran is democratised before Israel could wage its war…

  10. vonmises says:

    Gonzi’s statement is pathetic.

  11. gaddafi says:

    Daphne, ghandek punt …imma hi ovvja li hawnhekk qed jikkundanna lil min qed jispara u mhux biss l-isparaturi! Dak hu li ghamel Gonzi. Aktar kien zball il-fatt li ftit ilu mar zar il-Libja. Zball fatali kien dak. U lil Malta se jibqghu jghajjruna ghal dejjem li l-ahhar prim ministru li zar lil Gaddafi kellu jkun dak ta’ Malta.

    Hemm mod u mod kif tindahal. Per ezempju iz-zjara ta David Cameron fl-Egittu hija zball iehor tattiku. In-nies bir-ragun huma irrabjati hafna ghall-Occident ghax kien bi flusu li r-regim ta’ Mubarak baqa daqshekk fit-tul.

    Cameron jafu dan is-sentiment tal-opinjoni pubblika u din wahda mir-ragunijiet ghaliex mar – qiesu jrid jghidilhom “isma ahna m’ahniex it-tradituri”.

    Imma kif jghidu bil-Latin “excusatio non petita accusatio manifesta” – skuza mhux mitluba hi ammissjoni ovvja ta’ htija.

    It-tieni zball tattiku ta’ Cameron hu li ma ltaqax mal-Muslim Brotherhood u beda jpacpac li din hi rivoluzzjoni sekulari mhux Islamika. Miniex se nidhol fil-mertu jekk dak li qal huwiex antropolgikament u socjologikament korrett. Kultant certu teoristi jippruvaw ibbellghu go grizmejn l-gharab tikketti li jghoddu biss fil-Punent.

    L-izball tattiku ta’ Cameron jikkonsisti l-ewwelnett fil-fatt li ghamel ghazla bejn partiti u dunque ipperikola gvern ta’ rikoncilljazzjoni nazzjonali. It-tieni zball hu li ironikament il-bojkott ta’ Cameron lil Muslim Brotherhood aktar se jsahhu lil dal-moviment skifuz f’ghajnejn il-poplu Egizzjan li hu irrabjat ghall-Punent.

    Fid-dawl ta dawn ir-riflessjonijiet, nahseb li Gonzi ghamel sew li mexa bi prudenza fil-kummenti tieghu.

    Tinsiex ukoll li hemm Maltin jahdmu fil-Libja. Kieku ikkundanna direttament lil gvern Libjan seta inqala riperkussjonijiet fuqhom. Inti u jiena qeghdin safe id-dar imma dawk il-povri haddiema qeghdin il-Libja f’bahar ta nkwiet.

    • John Schembri says:

      Kumbinazzjoni Malta, taht Borg Olivier kienet l-ewwel pajjiz li irrikonoxxiet lir-Rivoluzzjoni Libjana, li kienet tajjret lir-Re Idris. Dak iz-zmien Gaddafi bil-kemm kien jissemma.

      Ma nahsibx li se jaghjruna li l-Prim Ministru taghna kien l-ahhar wiehed li zaru, l-iktar meta nsiru nafu fuq liema theddida kien mar ikellmu; jekk hux taz-zejt jew ta’ l-emigranti .

  12. David says:

    To condemn the sin but not the sinner is, as far as I know, part of Christian teaching.

    Obviously once there is violence there is the person who acts violently. I think one can condemn violence as one can condone it – or maybe the BBC and/or William Hague have got it wrong as well?

    [Daphne – No, they haven’t. They have condemned specifically the violence against protestors, which inherently condemns the perpetrators. Saying ‘I condemn all violence’ is, in these circumstances, woefully inadequate.]

    • maryanne says:

      “They have condemned specifically the violence against protestors”

      Earlier this afternoon, Malta Today had a sentence to this effect in their report about the prime minister’s statement. They have now corrected it.

  13. Mariac says:

    Apparently it isn’t only our prime minister who has problems calling Gaddafi for what he really is. Yesterday in an interview Italian minister La Russa said more or less the same thing.

  14. H.P. Baxxter says:

    Look on the bright side. At least we didn’t get any reports of Gaddafi fleeing to Malta, as he did in 1986.

  15. Interested Bystander says:

    They shot and killed a policewoman in 1983 in London. The killer got diplomatic immunity and walked away scot free. They deserve all they get. I hope the colonel swings.

    • anthony says:

      I was standing ten metres behind WPC Yvonne Fletcher when she was gunned down on that fateful morning in St James’ Square, and I can’t forget it.

      A round was fired and it was only through luck that not many more people were killed.

      The British intelligence services knew exactly who the perpetrator was.

      He had no right to claim diplomatic immunity for cold -blooded murder.

      The FCO, however, allowed him to be bundled out to Libya.

      The overriding interest was oil, contracts and money.

      This is international politics for you.

    • Joseph A Borg says:

      He shall, he shall and his cronies too, just like Saddam, Chemical Ali and the rest.

  16. Il-Furjaniz says:

    Talking about rebellions, have a look at this to cheer you up…

  17. The Grinch says:

    In such a time one has to tread carefully. It is very easy to issue blanket condemnations. But do you foresee the consequences of such moves? The PM is moving carefully, not to upset either the Libyan regime or the Libyan people.

    But certainly he is siding with democratic values. Remember that it is Malta who will have to foot the bill of thousands of illegal immigrants and where are we to house them, in Malta? So let’s not dirty the water we want to drink from. Condemnations sometimes do not work with dictators.

    • La Redoute says:

      The point is, Grinch, that many of us don’t want to drink that dirty water.

      All that whingeing about immigration doesn’t wash.

  18. vaux says:

    The next best would have been silence. I am sure many would have ‘painfully’ understood. I simply don’t won’t to be in Dr Gonzi’s shoes, in any case he now needs all the understanding and moral support he can get. The unknown frightens everyone, even a Prime Minister.

  19. Joanne says:

    Did I hear right just now on the BBC that two Libyan jet planes just landed in Malta?

  20. Village says:

    Rai Tre news just said two Mirages and two helicopters of the Libyan airforce have just landed in Malta. Strange indeed.

  21. La Redoute says:

    1657: The entire Libyan delegation to the United Nations has called for international action over events in Libya. The deputy ambassador called for protection for citizens from what he called the genocide being carried out by the Libyan government. He also called for a no-fly zone over the Libyan capital, Tripoli.

    1655: UN chief Ban Ki-moon has told Col Gaddafi that violence in Libya “must stop immediately” and called for a broad-based dialogue, a UN spokesman has said.

  22. Samuel Scicluna says:

    An interesting treatise from Dr. Lawrence Gonzi, which, like most politico spiel, says nothing. Well written.

  23. C Falzon says:

    Probably the PM thinks that the so called ‘Foreign Interference Act’ is still in force and that it applies both ways.
    We wouldn’t want to hinder our dear neighbour’s efforts at ‘normalising’ the situation now would we?

  24. Macduff says:

    Libyan Mirages at the MIA? Does anyone know what is really going on?

    • el bandido guapo says:

      Gifts from the Libyan People. Literally, this time, it would seem.

    • H.P. Baxxter says:

      I do. Gaddafi is trying to save what remains of his air force. They did this throughout the 80s when they were getting their arses kicked by France in Chad.

      He knows our newtralità bullshit hangs like a geopolitical millstone around our effeminate necks, and that we’d never dare impound the planes.

      • H.P. Baxxter says:

        Oh, P.S., since I’ve just read the “defector” theory news reports. Defectors, yes, but pro-Gaddafi ones. The colonels know they’d be the first to go if Gaddafi is toppled, so they fled to Malta and made up some cock and bull story about them bravely refusing to fire against their fellow countrymen. Which our Bernadette Soubirous press swallowed hook, line, and sinker.

        This thing is old hat. When Saddam’s demise seemed imminent back in the 1991 Gulf War, you had pilots defecting all over the place, even to Iran, of all places.

        Besides, you don’t get promoted to colonel unless your loyalty to the régime is tried and tested. Colonel is hallowed rank in the Arab world.

        Anyway, Joseph Muscat’s economic windfall seems to have kicked off rather nicely, with a brace of 1970s vintage Mirage planes up for auction.

      • Macduff says:

        “Which our Bernadette Soubirous press swallowed hook, line, and sinker.” – You crack me up, H.P. Baxxter. Hats off! (For the analysis, too).

    • Harry Purdie says:

      Wonder how our little Joey will fit this into his ‘Massive Marketing Campaign’–‘Libyan fighter jets invade Malta’.

  25. John (not Dalli) says:

    Gaddafi is powerful. How was the Libyan Lockerbie bomber freed from Scotland? Who was it who re-integrated Gaddafi with the western world? Why wasn’t Gaddafi arrested when he was in the US for some UN meeting?

    What will happen to us if we – the nearest and weakest EU member – point our fingers at him and state that he’s a ruthless killer?

    I know the mild answer: all Maltese assets in Libya will be seized, all Maltese citizens will be deported or accused of espionage or incitement against the great leader of the Jemahariya.

    Who’s going to dare to bell this ferocious cat, tiny Malta?

    Let the countries which bent over backwards and wiped their feet on us to accommodate him do the job. There are times when one needs to sit on the fence and watch silently as dictators kill their people.

    Would a frail person go near three bouncers kicking and punching a young man, and shout at them to leave him alone?

    [Daphne – The short answer is Yes.]

    At around 16.30 I saw two Libyan fighter jets circling over the airport and then landing.

    [Daphne – They were two Libyan air force pilots, defecting to Malta rather than obeying orders to shoot at protestors from the air. By your reasoning, we should immediately wave them on or forcibly deport them back to Libya. Like hell. My God, how I despise cowards and appeasers.]

    • La Redoute says:

      “There are times when one needs to sit on the fence and watch silently as dictators kill their people.”

      That’s exactly why Malta has been such a mess.

      • John(not Dalli) says:

        If they are genuine let them stay here, check whether the fighter jets were armed, if armed their story would hold water.

        I’m no coward. I’m just a realist. I know my strengths and if help is needed I run for help unnoticed.

        [Daphne – I don’t think you understand, but then many Maltese don’t, that taking a stand is a moral choice not a pragmatic one, and that the act of defiance is in itself important even if there are no chances of success. Maltese social culture tends towards the spineless and underhand: “running for help unnoticed”.]

        Heroes normally die or are battered, praised and forgotten.

        [Daphne – Yes, but they help others to live. Isn’t that the fundamental tenet of Christianity, or had you misunderstood it?]

        In this case the truth is staring at you: the Mirage jet fighters which are killing Libyan people were supplied by France to this dictator. Wasn’t it Sarkozy who supplied these lethal weapons?

        [Daphne – Most rich countries have fighter jets, and even some poor ones. The thing is, they tend not to use them to bomb protestors in their own country.]

        Maybe the armaments which are killing the Libyans in Benghazi were British, supplied by Tony and gas canisters by Berlusconi’s Italy.


        [Daphne – You might well say the same of Malta, which has spent the last 40 years or so making money through corruption in Libya while screaming against corruption (at least since 1987) at home. Ironic, isn’t it, that the Maltese businessmen who bang on against corruption in Malta are more than delighted to do business through corruption in Libya – the only way to do business there, because there it’s OK; it’s normal.]

        This is just like when Hussein was supplied with armaments from the West and then when public opinion turned against him, they called him monster. Remember Bush,“We got him!”?

        [Daphne – Well, they did, didn’t they.]

        Maltese investors in Libya don’t supply armaments. They supply oil services, fire fighting systems, tourist resorts, and hotels. We cannot feel guilty, and we are helpless.

        [Daphne – We ARE guilty, and we are NOT helpless. All those things you describe have been supplied through collusion with the regime, because there is no other way to do it. Business is business, yes, but let’s not be mealy-mouthed about it and pretend that the business was straightforward, because it wasn’t. High gains are always associated with high risks, but for some reason all those who invested in a psychopath’s dictatorship somehow failed to make the risk-reward equation. The part we are seeing now is the risk made manifest.]

        Let the ones who are responsible for supplying dictators with armaments stop the carnage.

        If we shout “Gaddafi, stop this bloodshed” we will be knocked out of our senses once and for all.

        [Daphne – Really, by whom? We’re a nation of cowards, and you sum up the typical sentiment. If we hadn’t been a British colony at the time we would have surrended to Mussolini in 1939 for just the reasons you outline. That George Cross went to the wrong people. We endured the bombings because we had no choice and not because we stood up to fascism. Given half the chance, we would have embraced fascism rather than be bombed.]

      • Harry Purdie says:

        Jeez that’s good, Daphne!

      • John(not Dalli) says:

        Daphne, I wasn’t around in the last war, but tell me what did the Maltese get with the George Cross? Ok it is an honour to have this ‘medal’, we were on the right side of history, bl bla bla.

        I tell you what we got AFTER the war: hunger , unemployment, mass emigration to Australia, UK and Canada, redundancies and poverty. But we were heroes.

        Those who during the war and after thought otherwise were interned far away from THEIR country. One was even hanged and others who stayed in Italy were tried – unsuccessfully – for treason after the war ended. They were called Quackers, if I’m not mistaken. Our ‘enemy’ Italy got Marshal Aid.

        We should point our fingers at our European ‘partners’ who provided Gaddafi with weapons and welcomed him (read his money) with open arms in the ‘civilised’ world – and tell THEM to go and stop him.

        Of course I feel for the suppressed Libyan people, but sorry I don’t feel that I’m the right person to stop Gaddafi the butcher. It would be naive of me to do such a thing.

        We’re dealing with a ruthless family here. They are ready to ’fight till the last soldier’ to protect their accumulated wealth. Ben Ali is an amateur when compared to ruthless Gaddafi.

        “Really by whom?” you said. I’ll put you in the picture: what if those two armed fighter planes entered our territory with malicious intentions? What if they attacked parliament, Castille and the US embassy?

        [Daphne – You do realise, John, that they could have done this at any point in the last 42 years, which is one reason why successive Maltese governments have debased themselves before Gaddafi. You see it one way, that we shouldn’t try to get rid of him. I see it another way: that after the Libyans, the Maltese are those who stand to gain most by getting rid of this threatening menace on our doorstep, once and for all. Just imagine the sheer pleasure of not having to suck up to Gaddafi any more. Never again.]

        Please note that we were helpless in front of this situation, they hovered round our airport towards Mqabba turned on to Zurrieq, Hal Far , Freeport , Birzebbuga and touched down on our soil unhindered. No Missiles were ready to be fired in case of an attack, there was no red alert.

        Now we have two sitting ducks at MIA…..waiting to be attacked.

        Get real, Daphne.

        [Daphne – Realistic is exactly what I am, John. Attacked by whom, and for what purpose? Hadn’t you noticed that they’ve got their hands full in Tripoli?]

    • kev says:

      The main piece of ‘evidence’ in the Lockerbie case (electronic fragments of a timer) was faked/planted by the CIA while the main witness (Gauci) turned out to be unreliable – and not just because he was paid for this evidence.

      Al Megrahi had appealed this judgement and was to present evidence destroying the prosecution’s sorry case. The release-deal included an all-important condition: that the appeal be withdrawn.

  26. Tunnel vision says:

    “Joseph Calleja(5 minutes ago)I always said, Let the Middle East and Arab Countries take care of their own problems. All other nations including the US, UK or any other nation should mind their own business. This is an internal uprising and we should stay out of it. Russia lost their patut in Afghanistan and the Us and UK are doomed to the same destiny. I am sure both the US and the UK have their own internal affairs to worry about. Both the US and the UK almost went bankrupt and both economies are up in the air. It all started with the invasion of Iraq by a very not so famous Ex President. ” Mission accomplished, he said “. Malta has to definitely stay neutral in this Middle East and Arab World uprising. Our government has enough of it’s own troubles to worry about. Enemalta, Air Malta, the Power Station, Divorce, Cohabitation, Honoraria Pay Raise, finishing City Gate and the Open Air Opera House. Not to mention finishing the Cirkewwa Ferry Project etc.”

  27. Another John says:

    Out of all the revolutions against tyrants, it is only in Libya that there is a risk of civil war.

    The responsibility lays squarely on the pig Gaddafi who does not want to bow out gracefully.

    Neither does he want to flee, apparently. What a character! The worst of the worst.

    History will surely put him amongst the ranks of Idi Amin and Saddam Hussein when his heinous crimes against his own people start coming to light after his down fall.

    • red nose says:

      I think the “true” Gaddafi has fled the country days ago and he left his other “doubles” to face the music

  28. Ragunament bazwi - the unlimited edition says:

    stephen camilleri(17 minutes ago)
    Now is the time for malta to strike oil and not worry about Gadaffi sending war boat to stop us,lets start looking for oil,gadaffi will not stay there for very longer!!!!

    ROBERT VASSALLO(21 minutes ago)
    No way we can’t let them land in our lovely island MALTA this is totally unacceptable get them out we have no wars we are civil not like them.this morning there was also a protest which i think is unacceptable too .they could have crashed on our families

    victor pulis(29 minutes ago)
    If we’re not careful we may get dragged into this mess. We are just interested observers at this stage but events may overtake us and we’ll find ourselves as major protagonists in this tragedy. The Egyptair hijack showed the world that due to our size and limited resources we are incapable of dealing with situations where the rules of law no longer apply

    JJ Mercieca(29 minutes ago)
    Totally unexpected? You mean totally undetected. What if they were on a bombing mission? They’d have been noticed only after they dropped their bombs. We should ask the US to install an Early Warning station and set up a military base here to help protect our islands since Europe is a bit too pacified. Though now that I think about it Obama is no Reagan or Bush unfortunately …

    Martin Camileri(24 minutes ago)
    oh the drama! so exciting ;o) Malta is the centre of the world afterall.. hehe

    silvio axisa(33 minutes ago)
    auction them on e-bay..and put the money in airmalta’s account.!!!

    Keith Camilleri (36 minutes ago)
    If I was the governments I’d be releasing tenders for oil exploration at this point! there is no turning back after this. People have been waiting since the 60’s for this day to arrive.

    D Farrugia(41 minutes ago)
    Lets now expect shortly dozens and dozens of boats carrying hundreds of immigrants. Hope the Authorities are prepared for this…..
    G.Pisani(53 minutes ago)
    Cool, give the planes to AFM, we might need for our oil exploration.

    J Farrugia(1 hour, 3 minutes ago)
    The helicopter people could easily be members of gaddafi’s mercenary force going on their plan B, seeing their plan A being thwarted by the Libyan masses.

    Manuel Micallef(1 hour, 5 minutes ago)
    We might end up with an airforce after all this mess!!

    JFarrugia(1 hour, 6 minutes ago)
    Excellent aquisition for the AFM, free jet fighters and a couple of choppers, good day for the afm boys. Any chance of a few Mil hind d gunships and a couple of battle ships while your at it.

    Karl Consiglio(1 hour, 11 minutes ago)
    No more rubbish boats, they will be arriving like this from now on. We should confiscate such planes.

    R.Scerri(1 hour, 12 minutes ago)
    What’s happening? are they bringing the war here?

    • Giovanni says:

      Other comments that might be of interest they delete. Veru marru l-bahar dawn tat -Times

    • ciccio2011 says:

      With the exception of the comment of Robert Vassallo, I find these comments perfectly fair in a free speech democracy. This is the opinion of individual persons, not of the government or of the government in waiting.

      Comment boards and blogs are not meant to suppress different voices.

    • Galian says:

      This is exactly why I stopped reading the comments on Simply shocking!

      • I totally agree. I am fed up with the Maltese mentality. Jaqq! Reading the comments on makes me want to escape from this country once and for all. It is one thing to have ignorant people and it is another to have an ignorant nation.

  29. ciccio2011 says:

    Labour’s friends in the Maghreb will soon be all gone. Mintoff had to live long enough to see the toppling of his “friend” Gaddafi from power. What a momentous political moment.

    [Daphne – Too bad he’s senile.]

  30. Philip says:

    Al Jazeera reporting Libyan Air Force shooting at crowds. This is not Egypt guys, or Tunisia for that matter. Real gangsters hanging on to power for dear life.

  31. Philip says:

    Al Jazeera Reports: Live ammunition fired on protesters who marching on Muammar Gaddafi’s compound in Libyan capital Tripoli.

    All landline and wireless communications cut in Libya.

  32. Neil Dent says:

    Gripping viewing. Al Jazeera live – Karl Stagno Navarra was just interviewed giving details of the Libyan Mirages.

    The pilots are apparently senior Libyan Air Force colonels who decided to defect (and escape) after having been ordered to bombard the protesters in Benghazi.

    Protesters in Tripoli are under fire from the ground AND the air as I write this.

    [Daphne – So that makes them our first political refugees from Libya.]

    • RF says:

      While Malta is on high alert because of the two defectors, Labour MP Evarist Bartolo has raised a breach of privilege complaint against the head of the Security Service, Godfrey Scicluna.

      He told parliament this evening that a phone call to Jeffrey Pullicino Orlando in relation with the conduct of their parliamentary duties last Wednesday was ‘intercepted by the Security Service’.

      How petty-minded can they be? I am eagerly awaiting declaration from these blood brothers of Gaddafi to state their position.

  33. C.Cauchi says:

    Breaking news on Al Jazeera

    Two Libyan fighter jets land in Malta.

    Not a peep out of MTV, One or Net.

    We hear what is happening at home from outside.

  34. Herbie says:

    Just watched BP’s CEO being interviewed on BBC.

    Utterly disgusting.

    He avoided answering a direct question by the interviewer as to whether BP would continue business relations with Gadaffi should he remain in power, even following the genocide he is committing.

    • The chemist says:

      No, it’s not. He is just protecting the hundreds of BP employees still stranded in Libya. That is also why the prime minister was cautious in his criticism of the Libyan leadership. Remember there are still 300 Maltese in Libya.

      • Joseph A Borg says:

        yeah right… like they cared about the risks on Deepwater Horizon. It’s all about pounds, shillings and pence

  35. Insolja says:

    @ C.Cauchi
    Breaking news on Al Jazeera

    Two Libyan fighter jets land in Malta…..

    Net TV actually did report the arrival of the planes and helicopters in its six o’clock bulletin.

  36. Joseph A Borg says:

    Fighter jets seem to have landed in Malta – Al Jazeera.

  37. La Redoute says:

    BREAKING: Tripoli being massacred
    Posted on February 21, 2011 by admin
    All updates in Tripoli Local Time

    20:29 Al Jazeera: Army officers report that Gaddafi said: “I was the one who created Libya, and I will be the one to destroy it”

    20:25 Al Jazeera eyewitness: more than 250 people dead so far.

  38. Jake says:

    We should never have compromised on freedom and liberty. Better to have fewer business opportunities than to have colluded in this oppression of millions of people.

  39. Another John says:

    Imagine if Gaddafi survives this and stays as the undisputed leader of Libya. Imagine the brutal reprisals against his own people. Poor Libyans, what a choice. Having to choose between all out conflict to oust the dictator or to scale down and face the music (assassinations) later.

    [Daphne – Let’s talk sensibly here. How exactly is he going to stay on? How would this Plan Z be organised, in practical terms?]

    • Another John says:

      Ahmadinejad, Gbagbo, and the Chinese leadership come to mind.

    • C Falzon says:

      I think there is unfortunately the possibility, even if remote, that he can outlast the people. He can just stay put for weeks or even months just waiting for the protestors to become tired, long as the military stays on his side.

      He has the technical means of protecting himself and much of what gives him power and also a great incentive not to back down as he has nowhere to escape to.

      Unlike Ben ALi, Mubarak and leaders of other normal countries Gaddafi has military-grade buildings as residences and for various government entities so while he cannot do much controlling he is however likely to be in a position to just wait it out.

      [Daphne – Yes, and then…what?]

      • C Falzon says:

        My guess is that when the people are weakened enough he would use the military to gradually ‘re-conquer’ territory, irrespective of whether or not some form of alternative government has been established.

        I see it as rather likely that he will manage to keep his military machine intact.

        This of course assuming that there is no international intervention to prevent him from doing so.

        I must add that I do hope I will soon be proven wrong.

    • Corinne Vella says:

      There is no need to wait for brutal reprisals. That is what is happening now and what has happened for the past 42 years.

  40. Corinne Vella says:

    1843: Further to Mr Dabashi’s comments, Libya’s team at the UN has called on the bloc to impose a no-fly zone over Tripoli, following reports that warplanes were being used against protesters there.

    1841: Libya’s deputy ambassador at the UN, Ibrahim Omar Al Dabashi, tells BBC World the Libyan leader will not be able to hold onto power for much longer. “I think it is the end of Col Gaddafi, it is a matter of days, whether he steps down or the Libyan people will get rid of him anyway,” he says.

    He believes Col Gaddafi should be put on trial: “Certainly the best scenario is to have him before the court, to prosecute him and to know from him everything about the crimes he committed before, whether it is the genocide of the prison of Abu Saleem or the genocide he is committing now or the disappearance of certain important personalities… and all the other crimes he has committed during the 42 years in power.”

  41. K Farrugia says:

    According to ONE TV the jet fighters landed because the pilots refused to open fire on Libyan citzens.

    On a separate note, it seems that JPO and Evarist were right about their phone tapping suspects, and your post some days ago mentioning the FBI was far from superflous.

    [Daphne – What do you mean, they were right? This is what they think, not what they know. They are both paranoid conspiracy theorists if they have assumed interception by the security service.]

    • K Farrugia says:

      I guess they didn’t raise a breach of privilege based simply on some suspicion.

      [Daphne – What can it be, if not suspicion? They are in no position to know whether the security services are listening to their conversations, and common sense should tell them that the security services have more relevant matters to be getting on with. It fits in 100% with their character that they should do this.]

      I am hearing far more conspiracy theories with regards to the landing of the Libyan jet fighters when, in my opinion, abusive phone tapping by the government is far more of concern to us than some Libyan aircrafts landing in Malta.

      [Daphne – Oh my, you do have your priorities in a muddle.]

  42. RF says:

    Libyan ambassador Saadun Suayeh said that Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi ‘should not go’ as he is a guarantee for the country’s unity. Indeed, Gaddafi should be arrested and not allowed to leave as Ben Ali. He should be tried for the atrocities he has committed against his people and for the fortunes he and his corrupt sons have amassed.

  43. just watching says:

    I just heard that Gaddaffi moved in to the El Fateh Libyan Arab school in Ta’ Giorni. It’s full of black cars moving in and out.

    • Fairy Liquid says:

      Oh, so you mean that he snuck in on one of those Mirages? I don’t think so.

      As for staying at the school, why would he do that when Libya owns at least three Corinthia hotels in Malta?

  44. Ralph says:

    Funny, somehow: Debkafile reports: “Casualties soared to an estimated 600, with 250 in Tripoli alone as Qaddafi rallied for a bloody civil war that could linger for years.” At the same time, Malta Today calls the situation in Libya “delicate.” Delicate, indeed.

    • Grezz says:

      Most of the Maltese interviewed by TVM at the airport when they returned from Libya today said that there was “nothing going on in Tripoli”, and that the situation is calm. Trid tkun Malti, insomma.

  45. Another John says:

    I think that it is high time that Malta revises its neutrality status because in effect it means nothing.

    No power will respect our neutrality if push comes to shove, and in the absence of any defence agreements, Malta would easily be taken over by whoever has aggressive intentions planned.

    Malta’s neutrality was declared to appease none else than Gaddafi and to, sort of, stick a middle finger to the Western powers of the time. Then again it was agreed between the PN and the MLP to keep the neutral status as a bartering chip against an agreement on the boundaries of the local electoral districts pre-1987 elections.

    But nowadays, as a long term strategy, I think that it is high time that this situation is courageously (by politicians), revised.

  46. Ragunament bazwi - the unlimited edition says:

    John Azzopardi(24 minutes ago)This situation is very dangerous. We need to keep out of it in the name of neutrality and let the Libyan people handle it. We have fellow maltese in libya and now we have these planes. What if Gaddafi use this excuse to fire some rockets our way. Are we prepared for this kind of involvement. Let us all proceed with cautious because this situation is very fluid and dangerous.

    JOhn Portelli(35 minutes ago)Malta needs to be very cautious on this whole situation. We hve no idea what is happening, who will be in government, etc. I for one do not like to see foreign demonstatrors demonstating on our land for their rights. This is a very dangerous situation. we are nuetral and people must respect our nuetrality. Malta cannot afford to mess it up and let this situation reach our shores because it will have a major impact on our tourist industry. in one month times, we have seen massive changes in the North African countries. We as a EU and nuetral country need to really be careful of how to handle this whole situation. To do otherwise, would be suicidal for Malta.

    Gerard Cassar(59 minutes ago)In such circumstances Libya should send two pilots to regain posession of the planes,and the two pilots who came to Malta must be accepted as refugees. That is the normal international procedure. No country could send pilots who flee from their country backk from where they came No doubt in such circumstances they would be condemned to death . The planes are Libya’s property. It is as if they were stolen.

  47. gel says:

    I have a very strong suspicion that K.Farrugia votes Labour.

    • K Farrugia says:

      I don’t.

      I fail to see what’s so special about the unrests in Libya and jets landing in Malta. Wasn’t it all of this expected?

  48. Ragunament bazwi - the unlimited edition says:

    Carmel Cilia(2 hours, 40 minutes ago)Our government has to make it clear to all the E.U countries that Malta is not going to accomodate any illigal immigrants from North Africa. The maltese citizens have the need to know what our governments intentions are about such illigal invasions. Can anybody say that we can sustain thousands of refuges. Now is the time for action I hope we don’t have traitors as politicians.’

    Anthony Borg(2 hours, 24 minutes ago)I second your opinion Mr. Cilia. We, Maltese citizens need to be more aware and on the look out at what’s happening around us. Put simply, or put up a sign on our shores if you like: ” We don’t have any room to accomodate people fleeing by the hundreds from African shores”.

  49. Ralph says:

    Thank you for editing again, and for the teaching, Daphne. I’ve been in Malta for some time now, but only thanks to you, your wit and your bravery I am finally learning something about Maltese politics, society, history — and all the vileness I have discovered bit by bit, too. A very good thing indeed, given that the only happiness in this world comes from cognition (according to Theodor W. Adorno).

  50. Anthony Farrugia says:

    Reading the posts on should carry a health warning: heartburn.

    All the wackos, pettyminded weirdos, people who have never read a book or even a newspaper in their lives: they all come rushing out of the woodwork to post their inane comments based on total ignorance, grocer hearsay, conspiracy theories, beware of the bogey man attitudes, the more the merrier.

    If you need evidence of the failure of education coupled with selfish characters plus I am all right so f&%k Jack attitude, it’s all right there. I forgot the lack of grammar, punctuation, spelling; it makes one weep with frustration.

  51. gel says:

    Well if you don’t vote Labour, then you must be a friend of John Bundy.

    [Daphne – I don’t think Mr Farrugia is either. ]

  52. Village says:

    I am full of admiration for the Libyan resistance and the strong character they are showing in fighting the regime of Gaddafi.

    But if the country precipitates into civil war the death toll will escalate to tens of thousands if not more.

    By comparison, the civil war in Algeria of 20 years ago took some 200,000 lives and the government won the war in the end.

    A huge price to pay for a failed revolt which may see the protesters ending on the losing side and no guarantee the country will have freedom or democracy in the end.

    Let’s all hope Gaddafi comes down to his senses and desists from pushing further the Libyan people into a brutal confrontation with the military as this will inevitably end in a bloodbath of large proportions.

    [Daphne – You cannot have a civil war unless the country is divided into two factions. There can be no civil war in Libya because there are no factions. There are only people who hate Gaddafi and want him out, and then there are Gaddafi, his family and his hangers-on, temporarily shored up by the militia. That does not make for a civil war, but for a revolution against a ruler, which the ruler may or may not suppress.]

    • C Falzon says:

      Daphne, as far as I know there there are factions in Libya, and not just two. They are just not very evident because of Gaddafi’s heavy handed rule, in some ways like Yugoslavia was under Tito.

      That is not to say that Libya is better with Gaddafi than without.

      [Daphne – By factions, I meant pro and anti Gaddafi.]

  53. maryanne says:

    Some comments really make you weep. What a selfish nation we have become. Whenever we need something we expect the world to help us (for free) and when it comes to helping others, we find all sorts of excuses. There is a saying which fits us to a t. Gib ‘l hawn u tiehux ‘l hemm.

    • H.P. Baxxter says:

      Slap yourself and grow up, maryanne. Sending blankets and baked beans won’t help the Libyans, or the spread of Western democracy.

      This is one mess where it’s best to stay put, roundly condemn the dictator, his methods, his repression, and his violence, promise “support for anyone who yearns for freedom” and evacuate your citizens pronto.

      Other than that, it would not only be construed as meddling, it would BE meddling. As for oil, it’s time we looked to other sources, of which there are plenty.

      • maryanne says:

        ” roundly condemn the dictator, his methods, his repression, and his violence”

        I wasn’t thinking in terms of sending material help but moral support, yes. You put it perfectly in the quoted phrase. However, it seems that Italy and Malta are the ones who are holding back on a harsh condemnation.

        Do we stop and think for one moment what repression Ghaddafi will bring on his opposers if he is returned to power? We wouldn’t get to know half the story.

  54. Silvio Farrugia says:

    The Maltese mentality – look at the divorce debate. Some want to impose their ‘morality’ on others.

  55. vaux says:

    @ ragunament bazwi

    Where did you get the idea I said that goverments do not speak in our name, hogwash. What I said was at times silence is also a language ‘spoken’ by goverments on our behalf.

    [Daphne – Silence in the face of atrocities is abominable.]

    • Ragunament bazwi says:

      Governments speak in our name even when they say nothing at all. To be silent in such a situation is an excruciating embarrassment at best.

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