Il-Colonna Tal-Partit – what front, honestly

Published: February 7, 2011 at 10:57am

Reno Calleja should ask Karmenu Vella, seen here behind regime prime minister KMB at a Labour mass meeting in 1986, when he was minister of industry, about incitement to violence and the aristocracy of the workers.

Reno Calleja, who in the Mintoff and KMB years sold himself to the electorate as Il-Colonna tal-Partit, and who was instrumental in huilding our relationship with Communist China when the Cold War was freezing, has risen from his political grave to write a letter to The Times – why, because I work for that newspaper? – warning of the dangers that I pose to democracy because I incite violence against Joseph Muscat and the Labour Party.

And just like John Bundy and that array of pr**ks on his ‘pennill’ the other week, he discussed me without mentioning the unmentionable: my name.

What front, honestly. What nerve. What brass neck. This is a man who felt comfortable playing a key role in the Labour regime of the 1970s and 1980s, and who didn’t gather his skirts about him and flounce out when, say, the newspaper to which he writes was burned down by a mob incited by his great leader Dom Mintoff.

He sat around and did nothing when thugs and mobs ransacked private homes, shops, clubs and assaulted people protesting against the excesses of the regime of which he formed part.

If Il-Colonna tal-Partit wishes to know what incitement to violence is, perhaps he should read my post before this one, in which I describe – courtesy of, irony of ironies, Malta Today as it was before John Dalli lost the leadership battle – the terrible violence at the law courts when an attempt was made to arraign Labour Party thugs on charges of violence and coercion at the Zejtun polling booth in 1987.

And does il-Colonna tal-Partit know who was there at the law courts among the chaos and violence and Labour thugs that day? Yes, that’s right: the decent and moderate Karmenu Vella and the decent and moderate Lorry Sant.

Reno Calleja should sit on a rocket and light it, and the rest of the ghouls from the past that Joseph Muscat is resurrecting should do the same. Preferably, he should join them. The man is either nuts or hopelessly inept if he thinks that this collection of brontosauruses is the solution to Malta’s problems or the source of a plan for the future.

Daphne Caruana Galizia with her Thursday and Sunday columns in The Malta Independent and her one-woman blog incites violence against Laburisti and poses a danger to democracy. Don’t make me laugh, you bunch of stooges. You have such front, with your newspapers and your radio station and your websites and your television station and your armies of people employed in your vast and underpaid propaganda machine.

So you mean to say you’re scared of one 46-year-old woman with a blog? Qabda pussies bla bajd. You’re even more tan-n**k than I thought you were.

I’ll tell you what incitement to violence and a danger to democracy is, Mister Colonna tal-Partit tal-Passat Immuffat. Incitement to violence is an entire political party propaganda machine – television, radio, newspapers, websites, speeches, the rumour mill, anonymous blogs – used to attack one journalist and every member of her family because, in the Labour mindset, it’s a case of ‘Write nice things about us or die’.

Labour’s idea of freedom of expression is the freedom to say pleasant things about Labour, or do like the rest of the extensive press corps here is doing now, and avoid saying anything at all.

You know what, Labour? You’ve managed to frighten people into silence. They say nothing because they don’t want to end up in my position, targetted day and night, and viciously, by the Labour machine. “How do you cope with the stress of all those attacks?” one key reporter at a leading newspaper asked me the other day.

Simple – I don’t give a flying f**k about them. Let them do their worst. Bring it on. That’s why they hate and fear me, because they can’t bully me into submission like they bully others. Let’s put it this way, when you lived between the ages of six and 23 under the worst of the regime with people like Karmenu Vella and Lorry Sant and Joe Grima running the show, putting up with anonymous slander and Super One’s utter fixation is a breeze.

At least I know I’m not going to be dragged off to some dank, shit-plastered cell by Inspector Farrugia the deputy leader of their cruddy party.

The problem that the Labour Party has with me is that they can’t burn me down like they did with The Times or ransack my home like they did with the leader of the Opposition’s. They can’t have me arrested or roughed over. They can’t shut me up by any of the means they would have used before 1987, so they are using a variant that is equally undemocratic: using their massive media machine to make me a figure of hate.

If there is anyone who is at risk, Mister Colonna tal-Partit, it is me and mine – precisely because of the Labour Party’s incitement to violence against me and members of my family. That’s exactly why, from time to time, the Commissioner of Police feels a pressing need to persuade me to accept police protection.

Police protection against whom and what, I wonder? Not the violent supporters of the Nationalist Party, Mister Colonna tal-Partit, that’s for sure.

Perhaps Reno Calleja would like to take a look at the violent anonymous threats I receive on a regular basis through this blog, from people who make it clear that they think they are defending the interests of the Labour Party.

Pack a suitcase, the lot of you, and go roast in hell where you belong. You devastated this country and screwed up the lives of at least two generations of people for 16 interminable years. And now you’re presenting yourself as the future.

Like hell will I let you get away with it. Even if everyone else has decided to suffer from amnesia and a lemming-like predisposition to race over a cliff-edge, I haven’t.

Letters to the Editor, The Times, today
Learning lessons from the Arizona shooting
Reno Calleja, Żurrieq

The horrific shooting in Tucson, Arizona, of Congresswomen Gabrielle Giffords at the beginning of last month, which left nine other people dead including a young girl, should, in my view, teach all Maltese politicians, journalists, bloggers and columnists a lesson.

Vitriolic rhetoric can be dangerous. Using brazen violent language and symbols is dangerous and, as the County Sheriff Clarence Dupink said a day after the shooting, in every society there are unbalanced people who respond violently to vitriol that comes from certain mouths.

He lamented that the anger, hatred and bigotry that some people in politics evoke is outrageous. He was probably referring to Sarah Palin and other fanatic right-wing politicians.

Unfortunately, reading some blogs makes me think that we have our own Sarah Palin. We have our own group of frustrated journalists who use their powerful pen to evoke hatred against Joseph Muscat and the Labour Party. I have spent a number of years in politics. I have never hurt a fly. I have never been able to hate someone, not even those who attacked me personally.

But I have been no angel. Sometimes in my speeches I may have aroused emotion and hatred towards my political adversaries. For this I apologise.

Fortunately, age brings with it maturity and a sense of balance which is not always present when you are young and making fiery speeches.

I confess that I usually do not read those bloggers known for their personal vindictive vitriol in their writing. However, make no mistake. They have their own followers. Maybe hundreds if not thousands. The way they demonise people, the way they direct their toxic stream of hatred, terrifies me. The inflammatory rhetoric lays bear their troubled soul.

We have a collective responsibility to expose these people.

29 Comments Comment

  1. A. Attard says:

    a very interesting article published in “il-Mument” February 1989

  2. Ian says:

    What is it with these guys’ penchant for “fiery” speeches?

  3. Antoine Vella says:

    They’re building a balcony to their HQ, so majtazwell change the entire facade. Columns and dinos represent the ‘new’ party very well.

  4. D. Zammit says:

    This is the same guy who wrote a letter to Time or Newsweek in 1989, defending the actions of the Chinese army in Tiananmen Square.

  5. Loyalist says:

    “We have a collective role to expose these people” and then he doesn’t even mention your name. U le.

    Keep it up, Daphne – You are doing a great job in seeking the truth about a party that masquarades as a new movement but then openly states it wants to take Malta back to the ‘glorious’ Mintoffian era.

    What a bunch of sad hypocrites. I feel sorry for them. Though in the end you have to admire their propaganda campaign – it’s so effective they’ve managed to brainwash themselves.

  6. Joe Micallef says:

    The biggest problem of the Labour Party is not their past but the fact that through a conscious choice they haven’t grown out of it.

  7. Bus Driver says:

    “The inflammatory rhetoric lays BEAR their troubled soul.”

    ‘Maltstar’ showing through?.

  8. willywonka says:

    A troubled soul, Daph. You have a troubled soul. This is a new one now. Condescending and patronising. Almost clerical or clinical, depending on how you want to look at it. How nice.

    Goodness, how times change! Now Reno Calleja is either on a witch hunt (we must expose these people – er, I thought that the fact that ‘they’ write in blogs means they’re already exposed…but never mind) or he intends looking after your soul….Your Soul! Fr. Reno Calleja!

    So now it is clearer than ever. The old guard thinks it has a a fighting chance with Joseph Muscat.

    They’re all dancing round the camp fire now and intoning the rain dance. It’s actually quite spectacular how they’ve all come out of the woodwork in such a very short period of time. I mean can’t you see it ?- First it was Anglu Farrugia and Toni Abela alone, then Karmenu Vella was pushed in to take advantage of his literary skills…now all of a sudden Joe Grima jumped onto the band wagon with Reno Calleja thinking he’s got a role to play.

    It’s like watching one of Sir Richard’s pieces in time lapse…fascinating. I wonder what’ll be next.

    • red nose says:

      You forgot Alex Sceberras Trigona. I hope they all remember to brush off the moth-ball powder before appearing on the balcony they are building.3hen the time comes for them to tell us about the new programme which Karmenu Vella has written.

  9. Antoine Vella says:

    The second paragraph of Calleja’s letter is a good description of the Mintoff-KMB years,

  10. Hot Mama says:

    Daph, just a suggestion…

    Would you consider collecting your posts in a book in the run up to the election? I think that we must not be made to forget what Labour was and still is – a party hell with no vision and still stuck in history as they choose to see it. Such posts and others like this one will serve as a good tool for discernment. We must not forget!

    • maryanne says:

      I am printing some of the posts for my children to read. Maybe they will start believing what I used to tell them. Sometimes they act like when my generation hears stories about World War II.

      • Hot Mama says:


      • M. says:

        My children – although nowhere close to being teenagers, let alone adults – are already aware of Mintoff and the bad old Labour days. I think that it is necessary to keep the memory of such times very much alive, lest history repeats itself.

  11. Brian*14 says:

    @ Reno Calleja – the only “troubled soul” I have is the one I lived between 1971 and 1987.

    Or is it only a nightmare of mine watching carcades with live bulls painted “B.O.Barri”?

    The burning of all the Nationalist Party clubs across the island must have been another nightmare.

    Which sector of society, exactly, if you can fill me in, did your government not argue and quarrel with?

    Are the strikes of ’77 just a figment of my imagination? Teachers, doctors, bankers, a never-ending list – just about everyone, except for your beloved stronghold – the drydocks.

    You can bet your sorry behind that “using brazen violent language and symbols is dangerous” – imagine therefore how more dangerous and serious being violent and supporting the vicious thugs your party endorsed actually is.

    Thugs, who without fail beat fellow citizens every time they returned to work from a “strike”, or others who attended mass meetings, especially on Independence Day.

    You come now and apologise because sometimes in your speeches you “may” have aroused emotion and hatred towards your political adversaries.

    Sorry, but I just don’t buy it.

  12. d.r. says:

    Ma niflahx ma niktiblekx biex niringrazzjak ta’ dak kollu li qeda taghmel ghal pajjizna.

    Sfortunatament, wasalna fi zmien fejn in-nies qedin jinsew dak kollu li ghaddiet Malta minnu taht il-gvernijiet socjalisti, u il-magna tal-Partit Laburista qeda tghamel minn kollox biex tnessi dan il-passat.

    Anki sempliciment fuq YouTube qabel kont issib il-films tas-sensiela kolla Liberta Mhedda, sensiela li kien ghamel in-Net biex ifakkar x’ gara Malta taht Mintoff u Karmenu u il-klikka kolla – issa m’ghadekx issibom.

    Ghalhekk dak li qed tikteb int huwa imprezzabbli, u la qed jihduwa kontrik sinjal li ghax iweggaw.

    Tinsiex li l-verita twegga. Tiehux minni ghax jien jigri x’ jigri dejjem PN nivvota – ma nistax nivvota il dik il-marmalja ta’ partit u jistaw jibdlu elf leader u arma ghax ma nafdom qatt.

    Imma nies li jkunu qed jahsbuwa biex jivvutaw PL u jaqraw dak li qed tghid int nemmen li mal-ewwel jibdlu fhemtom.

    Grazzi mil-qalb ghax il-gid li qed taghmel qas hemm kelma biex tiddiskrevih.

    Alla jilliberana li Malta terga tispicca mmexxija minn dawk in-nies li mexxew il-pajjiz 30 sena ilu.

  13. TROY says:

    Reno Calleja is a wash out, always was.

  14. Carmel Scicluna says:

    We have a collective responsibility to expose these people.

    Le, le, Ren, jahasra, le! Tikxifnix ghax naghmel tahti bil-biza’.

  15. Gahan says:

    U min irid jitkellem! Dan Reno hu l-istess Reno Calleja li taht il-protezzjoni ta’ l-immunita parlamentari kien iheggeg lill-pulizija biex ma’ jaghtux kaz il-hasshazinijiet ta’ Pietru Pawl Busuttil u jkaxkruh quddiem l-imhallef “ghax dawn kollha kienu recti. Hu l-hati”.

    Dak kien diskors inflammatorju minn bniedem irresponsabbli fi zmien jahraq nar li ma l-inqas xrara kienet issir spluzjoni. Din kitba fuq blogg fi zmien ta’ kalma.

    BTW Kolonna bil K .

    Nahseb li Reno kienet aktar toqghodlu ta’ ballavostra tal-partit.

  16. Grezz says:

    Maybe it’s time people started relating any atrocities they remember. Here’s one, for starters.

    A bomb placed in the Nationalist Party club in St Julian’s, during a supper with some 70 or so MZPN members present. It was some time in the mid- to late 1980s, if I recall correctly. Maybe Dr. Peter Fenech would care to confirm the details, because – unless my memory fails me – he was present that day. Someone noticed the bomb and, I believe, threw it across the road just in time.

    • Suldat ta’ l-azzar Guzeppin says:

      Dik il-bomba kienu se jaghmluha mad-dar ta’ Bertu Mizzi li joqghod preciz hdejn il-klabb tal-PN ta’ San Giljan. Imma meta raw il-pulizija, tefghuha fuq il-blat u splodiet, u minn kriminali saru eroj.

  17. silvio farrugia says:

    After noticing the Labour’s shadow cabinet and what future we will have if they are elected, I say now (after wavering) that I had better support the Nationalists with all their faults and arrogance.

    How stupid ‘new”progressive Labour is. We are remembering their past with these people back in the limelight again!

  18. Vanni says:

    RenO Calleja is a fine one to talk about violence, when his beloved party and its supporters were the aristocracy of violence and mayhem.

    Whenever I see a ‘torca’ I remember a friend who was shot, and had to live till the day he passed away in tragic circumstances with a bullet lodged next to his heart. The shot was fired by a SMU (Labour’s uniformed bullies for those with short memories) member at a mass meeting held in Rabat. The victim, a young lad, was not armed.

    RIP Mario Pavia.

  19. John(mhux Bundy) says:

    Mario Pavia died by his own hand a day before he had to appear in court as witness against a police officer who is Josette Grech’s brother. Josette Grech is married to Norman Hamilton.

  20. the Saint says:

    Please can sombody refresh my memory why the kolonna tal – partit sive Reno was unexpectedly demoted by is – Salvatur Mintoff from minister of tourism way back in the 70s.

    Was he involved in some form of corruption?

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