This is what I think about the prime minister's press conference

Published: March 18, 2011 at 9:30pm

Really gallant, I must say. Qabda knights on white chargers. Perhaps we should replace this on our flag with the red cross of humanitarian aid.

1. If he had nothing new to say, and if he was incapable of firing up the nation with an inspirational speech about fighting for justice and being on the right side of history, then he shouldn’t have called it. He majtezwel have dispatched a low-ranking civil servant to that podium because that’s the kind of ‘speech’ we got.

2. If the idea was to reassure people that Malta would not be used as a military base, it backfired badly. The prime minister appeared to be working on the assumption that everyone is ferociously against it and ready and willing to enlist with the Graffiti Movement, preparing to tie ourselves to Tornadoes and Typhoons and prevent them from taking off.

Wrong. A large chunk of the people he governs want Malta to take an active part in getting rid of the man who has blighted Malta and compromised our peace of mind and integrity for four decades. It is not enough for us to sit back and watch others take him out. We want to be part of the process. We need to be part of the process because if we are not, we will be left with a sense of having been cheated of the satisfaction, and of unfinished business.

If the prime minister was going to insist on the ‘no military base’ thing, and deny us the sense of participation we so badly need, then he should have made up for this by acknowledging the sentiments of this very large part of the electorate – most of whom vote for his party – and give an inspirational speech about fighting for what is right. Not a speech about mopping wounds like Florence Nightingale or evacuating people, for all the world as though Malta is an organisation like the Red Cross rather than a flipping nation-state.

3. The prime minister also starts off on the assumption that those he governs think of this as Libya’s war on Gaddafi. He hasn’t worked out, perhaps because he has maintained such cordial relations with the man, that thousands upon thousands of his electorate hate Gaddafi almost as much as Libyans do. Does he know just how many Maltese people want to see Gaddafi strung up by his ankles like Benito Mussolini? Well, he should find out. We do not see this as Libya’s problem or Libya’s battle. We feel very much involved. That’s what comes, ironically, of foisting Libya on whole generations of Maltese, starting with mine in the early 1970s.

4. The prime minister opened by reassuring us that the security of Malta and the Maltese was and remains his paramount consideration, and that everything should be taken in that context. Bad move. The immediate and instinctive reaction of those listening was: “Oh great. He’s being threatened and has to act accordingly.”

5. If he mentions the evacuation process again, I shall feel compelled to pack a suitcase and evacuate myself. Time to move on, Mr Prime Minister. If you blow your own trumpet on this one any more, it’s going to have a boomerang effect. Let’s face it, it’s not as though we had a choice not to help with the evacuations. The praise we got was for doing it so well, not for doing it.

6. The choice of language was unwise and offensive to those of us who don’t support Dom Mintoff or his ideals. One day I might be able to work out why the prime minister seems to have been actively working to address an audience of Laburisti and Mintuffjani. “Malta mihiex se tigi uzata bhala bazi militari.” “Ma nhallux li Malta tigi uzata bhala bazi militari.” WTF? Has the Nationalist Party leader suddenly morphed into Dom Mintoff or AST, circa 1979? ‘Tigi uzata’ indeed. He could have used a more appropriate choice of words, like ‘Malta mihiex se tkun bazi militari ghax tant hemm alternattivi ohrajn li m’hemmx bzonn.”

7. The Constitution allows Malta to participate in UN Security Council-mandated military activity. The prime minister did not explain this. In fact, the first question put to him, by TVM, was about how he would react to a request for Malta to be used as a military base, given that Malta is neutral. The prime minister did not explain that neutrality has been rendered irrelevant by the Security Council mandate because then the next question would be: ‘Right, so it’s not because of our neutrality. Is it because you are being threatened or blackmailed? Is it because you are negotiating with Libya on this? Or is it because you and the foreign minister are pacifists?’

8. The prime minister said that Malta has not received any requests to be used as a military base, but if he does receive those requests, the answer will be no. The prime minister did not need to call a press conference to tell us this. Tonio Borg announced it days ago, when he made a point of saying that even if action is mandated by the UN Security Council, it doesn’t follow that Malta will go along with it, despite our Constitution allowing us to.

9. The prime minister then offered a sop to the collective conscience by saying that he hopes no enforcement of the no-fly zone will be necessary anyway, “because they will stop fighting.”

10. Bang on cue, he said that this afternoon he took a call from Gaddafi’s prime minister, a man by the name of Bagdadi. I was gobsmacked. Gobsmacked because he took the call, and gobsmacked because he talked about it qisu xejn mhu xejn. “I’ve just had a call from Robert Mugabe.” “I’ve just had a call from Fred and Rosemary West.” “I’ve just had a call from Osama Bin Ladin.” I mean, what was he thinking? What was he thinking to take the call, and what was he thinking to talk about it as though a Gaddafi man is still a legitimate politician whose calls he can take in the spirit of friendship, even at this late stage?

So why did Gaddafi’s man Bagdadi ring his friend Lawrence Gonzi in Malta, the day after the UN Security Council votes for all action short of ground troops to force his boss out? “Qalli li ghamlu ceasefire.” Oh come on. How in heaven’s name are we expected to believe that. The ‘ceasefire’ press conference was all over the international news networks this morning. Malta’s prime minister didn’t need a hotline telephone call from Gaddafi’s office to tell him about it.

The prime minister then made a big deal of how he told Bagdadi that he doesn’t find the ceasefire credible, that the Libyan government’s statements of the past week have been less and less “substantiated”. He told him that nobody is going to take that ceasefire seriously until ‘the Libyan authorities’ remove tanks, guns and so on from the streets and roads across the country. I’m quite sure Bagdadi was really impressed and said, “Yes, boss, right you are.”

I cannot take this rubbish a minute longer, but I shall try. The prime minister (Malta’s) did not address the issue of what comes after this ceasefire he wants. He did not say, as Hillary Clinton did this morning, “ceasefire or not, the ultimate aim of any action is to remove Gaddafi.”

11. The prime minister said that there have been no threats from Libya. No threats? On what basis exactly does he exclude Malta from the real and direct threats made by Muammar Gaddafi over the last couple of days: that he will put through hell those who act against him, and that he will target civilian air and sea traffic in the Mediterranean. Maybe Lawrence Gonzi has done what Alfred Sant failed to do, and turned us into the Switzerland of the Mediterranean. Let’s hope we’re not also hoarding Gaddafi gold, like Switzerland did with the Nazis to keep itself safe.

12. The prime minister was asked whether he has requested protection for Malta from larger countries against the threat of attack from Gaddafi. Yes, right, I said to myself as I heard this: let’s turn to David Cameron or Nicolas Sarkozy or Barack Obama and tell them, look, we’re not going to allow you to USE US as a military base, but we expect to USE YOU for protection. The prime minister replied that he doesn’t feel the need to ask for protection, and that anyway, if Malta is attacked, because we are part of the European Union, a mechanism is triggered which has others come to our defence.

Well, that kind of undermines the argument that we can’t take part in military action because we are too small to defend ourselves, doesn’t it. Turns out we’re entitled to protection and defence by the European Union.

13. The speech was completely lacking in inspiration. It should have fired people up to fight on the right side, because that right side is in the national interest and not just in Libya’s interest. It fell particularly flat to those who had been watching David Cameron for most of the day, saying the right things. “You cannot will the end and not will the means.” “We cannot sit back and expect others to do the work.” “We cannot allow this man to carry on butchering and brutalising his own people.” “It is in the national interest, our national interest, that we should act. Because if Gaddafi is allowed to stay on, then he will destabilise not just the region but the world and make it a very unsafe place.” “It is in the interests of us all to support the movement for democracy in the Arab world.”

14. The prime minister should have made an effort to avoid looking as though he is carrying the weight of Europe, the United States, and the UN Security Council on his shoulders. He hasn’t had to do a fraction of what Sarkozy and Cameron – or Clinton – have had to do over the last few days, and they were all on the news networks this morning looking bright and breezy and ready to take on the world – and Gaddafi.

15. This was a press conference about Gaddafi, but the prime minister didn’t mention his name once. When Herman Grech of The Times mentioned ‘the name that we dare not speak’ it clanged into the silence and woke up the elephant in the room. What’s the problem there – why can’t our prime minister get himself to speak about Gaddafi like other leaders speak about him? Because then he won’t be able to take calls from Bagdadi?

15. When I talked about this afterwards, somebody said that it’s all right for David Cameron, thousands of miles away and with all that firepower to help him. My response was that the gap is not geographical but cultural. Germany is even further away from Tripoli than Britain is, but it is even yellower than Malta. Italy is only 60 miles further away from Tripoli than Malta is, but that hasn’t stopped it allowing its airbases only a hop and a skip from Malta to be used for enforcement of a no-fly zone. And it’s got Sigonella, the US base, too.

Nor is distance any protection from Gaddafi’s aggression. Gaddafi’s greatest acts of terrorism were in fact committed against Britain or in British airspace: the PanAm bombing over Lockerbie in Scotland and his enthusiastic funding of the Irish Republican Army which allowed it to pay for the bombs that blew up British soldiers and British civilians.

Malta doesn’t play ball because Malta is yellow. End of story. Perhaps it’s time for Britain to ask for the return of that medal we got for bravery – you know, when we had no choice but to stay here in Malta biex immutu ghall-barrani.

74 Comments Comment

  1. Louis Camilleri says:

    Brava. Today, the Prime Minister let us down and I felt embarassed seeing my country on the wrong side of history.

    • A. Charles says:

      Please Dr. Lawrence Gonzi, read Daphne’s blog and contemplate how weak you are when this issue of Gaddafi crops up. I hate this neutrality excuse and there are many, many like me. We want to be involved.

  2. David Buttigieg says:

    What a frigging chance we had to show we deserved the George Cross and we shove it down the toilet.

    It is absolutely disgusting!

    Even from a egoistic/political point of view it was stupid – it could have won him an election.

  3. H.P. Baxxter says:

    As any sportsman or soldier will know, in a crisis you do not rise to the occasion. You sink to the level of your training.

  4. Frank says:

    Completely 100% with you on this one. But could you satisfy my curiosity on one small matter?

    How can you claim that a large chunk of the electorate want active involvement and Gaddafi out?

    One could quickly conclude otherwise if they were to go by on line comments (and that is the only source I have to go on as am not on the island). In fact I am quite disheartened and depressed by what seems to me a nation wide display of moral cowardice. Wish that I am wrong.

    [Daphne – Because I don’t judge only by the comments board on That’s the stamping-ground of Laburisti and xenophobes. You can tell because most of them are subliterate.]

  5. Jelly Bean says:

    Hello, Lawrence?

    Hello, hold on a second. I’m with the Libyan PM.

    Ceasefire, ok?


    Sorry Dave, what can I do for you?

    Can we land a few planes in Malta?

    No, sorry. We’re neutral.

    C’mon Lawrence. What if you’re attacked?

    I’ve got the army and two mirages. Cheerio!

  6. Joseph A Borg says:

    I missed what seems to have been a droll speech. If it’s as you say then I have only to conclude that PN’s foreign policy is dictated by the Vatican and judging by how the PN is acting on divorce, even domestic policy is in the hands of the Vatican.

    We’re going to be sidelined for the next couple of decades from the international community that counts over this…

    [Daphne – What does the Vatican have to do with it?]

    • H.P. Baxxter says:

      I think he’s referring to the Florence Nightingale-cum-Laboratorju tal-Paci foreign policy, and he’s right.

      • Joseph A Borg says:

        Thanks, Baxxter. It was a bit of a bombastic statement but you cannot fail to see the arm of eternal compromise emanating from Rome.

        After all we strive to be more Catholic than the pope.

    • J Abela says:


  7. pip says:

    Libya calls for observers from Malta, China, Germany and Turkey to enforce ceasefire.

    • Nina says:

      And the Maltese government denied this when it has just been stated by the Libyan deputy FA minister in a press conference that ended just a few minutes ago. I might not agree with all decisions being taken by the PM, but we do deserve the truth.

    • Min Weber says:

      Daphne: Can you explain to me what the hell you’re doing? Criticizing Gonzi and Borg like this?

      What’s wrong?

      [Daphne – I don’t agree with them at all. I think their behaviour is wet, yellow and gives rise to suspicion.]

      • il-Ginger says:

        Labour voters treat their politicians as if they were infallible demi-gods who are never wrong.

      • Josephine says:

        Regarding your “give rise to suspicion” comment – That was my immediate reaction. I automatically assumed that Libya-Malta hotline made some threats, to which some eggless-wonder immediately succumbed.

    • pip says:

      Why Malta?

    • Stefan Vella says:

      This is acceptable only if Ghaddafi and his regime relinquishes control and face the International Criminal Court.

    • Emanuel Borg says:

      The government of Malta denies that it was contacted by the Libyan authorities to ‘enforce’ the ceasefire because it would confirm that Malta is sympathetic to Libya. Just like China and Turkey.

      Libya rightly judges that the Maltese are too scared to tell the truth when it is not in Gaddafi’s favour. They know that our politician are a bunch of f**king cowards. Shame on them. I just heard Tonio Borg defending the ‘Malta will not be used as a military base’ twaddle on Sky News and it was cringeworthy. Kick the bastard Gaddafi and be proud that the Maltese were party to getting rid of him.

  8. Harry Purdie says:

    Now we know why they always stick him on the back row at the EU photo ops. (He’s the little guy with the bewildering grin). His yellow ‘halo’ interferes with a presentable pic. Sickening.

  9. Anthony Farrugia says:

    His appearance was jaded with an “if I ignore it and look the other way, it will go away by itself” look. This could have been his finest hour and got him a head start in the election campaign and he blew it.

  10. kev says:

    Malta cannot be an aircraft carrier with 450,000 people on board along with enough military hardware to blow up half the world, and at the same time serve its humanitarian role.

    We cannot have a dual humanitarian and military role.

    A dispassionate argument would have gone a longer way, Daphne. Stop undermining the prime minister in this delicate matter.

    • H.P. Baxxter says:

      You’re out of order, Kevin. It will take much more than an air package to blow up half the world.

      As for your new excuse: we can simply ditch the humanitarian and keep the military.

    • dudu says:

      Now this is funny!

      Kev telling Daphne to stop ‘undermining the prime minister’.

      [Daphne – Yes, in fact I sent a message to the prime minister and I hope he gets it: that when the main support he is getting is from subliterate xenophobes on, Mintoffian neutrality maniacs and people like Kevin No2EU Ellul Bonici, it’s time to worry.]

      • kev says:

        Oh, so you sent him a message did you? As if Gonzi is going to heed your rubbish. You have lost your credibility, Daphne. You will realise this after the dust has settled.

        And Corinne, what idiotic stuff you write, really. ‘Selling my vote to the highest bidder’? It doesn’t even make contextual sense.

        [Daphne – ‘As if Gonzi is going to heed your rubbish’. Ahem. If anyone is going to come out of this with their credibility cracked, Kevin, it isn’t me. I have been consistently on the clear-thinking side in this from day one. Correction, from before day one, given that I was the first to say that Gaddafi was about to go up in flames. When was that – January? Shame the prime minister didn’t heed my rubbish and visited on February 9.]

    • Corinne Vella says:

      Kevin Ellul Bonici, you’d be a whole lot more credible if you didn’t sell your vote to the highest bidder.

  11. Lovejoy says:

    We’ve had our disagreements in the past dear Daphne, but on this I am four square behind you.

  12. Farrugia says:

    You are wrong about Switzerland. Even the Swiss despise Gadaffi especially after he called for the dismemberment of the Helvetic Confederation some years ago (one of his sons was arrested in Switzerland).

    [Daphne – My reference was to Switzerland’s role in WWII, when it circumvented Nazi invasion by banking the Nazis’ ill-gotten goods.]

    But you are right in the rest of your comments. Our PM looked stressed, surprisingly now that the tide is turning against Gadaffi. By his body language he is giving the wrong message to his people, unless there is something that the PM would not tell us. I fear it is the latter.

  13. M. says:

    Spot on, Daph!

    Even my highly-perceptive eight-year-old, who did not comment on hearing Gonzi’s speech, and who simply lost interest almost immediately, clung onto every word of Obama’s subsequent speech, and said “I like Obama. He’s got a strong voice” – as in “he means business”.

    It’s all in the packaging.

  14. Dr Francis Saliba says:

    Not all Malta is yellow just because a few are yellow.

  15. John says:

    Could Nostradamus have predicted this one right?

    From the Orient will come the African heart
    to trouble Hadrie and the heirs of Romulus.
    Accompanied by the Libyan fleet
    the temples of Malta and nearby islands shall be deserted.

  16. Dr Francis Saliba says:

    The Maltese who earned the George Cross are not the same Maltese who are now ducking their heads and taking cover under the pretext of a neutrality clause in the Constitution that was opriginally imposed on them by a blackmailing MLP.

    • Esteve says:

      The gallantry, courage and ready-to-help attitude of the Maltese are just myths – I realised that when I was a child and nothing that has happened in the last days has changed my mind.

  17. J Abela says:

    Perfect! Exactly my thinking!

  18. Bob says:

    First I thought your site had been attacked by hackers, like the Malta Today.

    But when I read this: Perhaps it’s time for Britain to ask for the return of that medal we got for bravery – you know, when we had no choice but to stay here in Malta biex immutu ghall-barrani.

    I got upset.

    I do not agree with the neutrality clause, and it would be better spent if the referendum was to include a question on this! But as long as it is the our PM is obliged to follow the constitution of OUR country.

    [Daphne – Neutrality is overruled by UN Security Council -mandated action. Therefore the prime minister’s decisions from here on in have nothing to do with neutrality. They are entirely his own personal decisions and may he live with them because I certainly can’t.]

  19. gel says:

    Now with Libya putting us in the same category as China, Germany and Turkey is really the limit. What a shame that we had to end up with this when it could have been a winning card for Malta if tackled in the right way.

  20. Ray says:

    How I miss Eddie.

  21. Observer says:

    Really disappointed especially with some contradictory statements from the PM.

    First we are told that the security of Malta is paramount in all this and then we are informed of our non-participation in a mission sanctioned by the UN which even our expired neutrality and time-warped clause in the constitution provides for.

    So are we afraid of Gaddafi? Even though as our PM stated any form of aggression against our country triggers and automated response from the EU.

    How come we do not need military protection when at the same time we are afraid to take part into a no-fly zone sanctioned by the UN?

    Regarding security, we should really ask ourselves if we are really safer now with Gaddafi still in power.

    Meanwhile Libya asked Malta to oversee the ceasefire even though the Maltese government had declared some hours before that no such request was made. Why Malta?

  22. Tim Ripard says:

    Looks like Dr Gonzi (and even more so, Dr Borg) are still unsure of the outcome a) they desire b) they want to be seen to desire. What they expect the outcome to be seems to be some form of continuation of Gaddafi in power.

    The worst thing about it all is that Malta is sending the message that it has no faith in the resolve of the international community, as led by France, Britain, Lebanon, the USA and the Arab League (in that order), to finish with Gaddafi once and for all.

    I have to admit, I too have my doubts about how it will all pan out, but I’m the man in the street and I can afford to have them. As a nation, we can’t.

    You are doing the P.M.’s job, Daphne, trying to put some backbone in the country, whilst LG, TB (and JM) fudge. fudge, fudge.

  23. gaddafi says:

    Dak salib fuq il-bandiera? Innehhuh minhabba l-ateji, l-Graffiti w il-klawsola tan-newtralita.

  24. me says:

    This is not a ceasefire. It sounds more like ‘see us fire’.

    Pick up your balls, Mr. Prime Minister and throw them at this tyrant.

    We have been under the heel of this maniac far too long, we have lost our youth mainly because of him and his crazy counterpart who ruled in this fair land. This hour belongs to us too, we who have helped change the course of history by sheer dedication and sacrifice.

    Rise to the occasion and carve your name in the hearts of all freedom lovers and remember that ‘when man tastes freedom he will settle for nothing less.’

  25. Grezz says:

    “22:22 Al Jazeera Arabic

    Ajdabiya residents who have fled the city towards Tobruk have been speaking about the horrors and massacres that their city has been subjected to over the past 24 hours. Merciless killings that spared no one be they young or old, man or woman. Residential areas that housed peaceful families were heavily bombed with tanks and heavy artillery. The civilians were unarmed and were simply overwhelmed. Many have fled and are now near the Libyan-Egyptian border.”

    L-aqwa li m’ghandniex bazi militari hawn Malta, u kulhadd mohhu mistrieh.

  26. ciccio2011 says:

    Daphne, I see you have used the time well in counting 1 to 10.

    However, I have expressed a dissenting view, and if you allow, I would like to add some comments.

    The position taken by the PM avoids the creation of any differences with the opposition. This is an important point, since it means that there will be broad support for the PM’s position across the main parties and the nation.

    I perceive a risk that if the PM’s position could be determined by threats from Gaddafi’s PM, or any fear whatsoever, any other action by our PM could have provoked threats from the Labour Party – could Gaddafi unleash the Labour Party against the government? We know Labour’s position about neutrality and Libya.

    As had been suggested, although vaguely, by the PM, Gaddafi is inevitably on the way out. After the Security Council resolution, it is now a matter of when, and it will be soon. At this point, the PM’s position should minimise the damage for Malta. Why risk having Saif Gaddafi going on Libya TV and mentioning or threatening Malta with retaliatory action? Why risk an actual attack on Malta or Maltese interests? Any such action could damage our tourism sector, for instance.

    I see nothing wrong with getting the others – the big ones, like the US, the UK, France, Italy, and the Arabs – to do what we would have liked to do for 42 years. For once, we will let the others do the fighting for us. After all, our financial interests in Libya are far smaller than those of the US, the UK, France, Italy and the others.

    This is of course, unless we have been threatened or bought out.

    • Scipio says:

      What do you mean ” for once”? The “others” have always done the fighting for us, habib! Our PM’s stance is perfectly in line with the way we do things here – a real fool’s paradise.

    • La Redoute says:

      You are quite out of your mind. Quite apart from the fact that Malta’s tourism industry is already damaged and will not recover as long as Gaddafi’s in power, you’ve nailed one of the key problems: Malta is, was and will continue to be a vassal state of Gaddafi.

      Malta is not ‘getting the others’ to act. They are doing so despite, and not because of, Malta.

      • ciccio2011 says:

        La Redoute, The fact that the others are acting despite of Malta is further reason why we do not necessarily have to be part of this. For instance, France was not part of the Iraq War. The US proceeded despite France. Is the Middle East any safer now, considering that Saddam did not have any weapons of mass destruction as the British government of Tony Blair had alleged?

        I am further concerned that the others did not consult with Malta in their formulation of a reaction to Gaddafi. They did not ask us beforehand how we will fit in their plan, but seem to be compromising us as a fait accompli.

        If Gaddafi threatens our country publicly, I am sure that the MTA will find it very hard to convince tourists to come to Malta for some time. Not even if it employs Joseph Muscat as CEO with immediate effect, that is.

        I will add something else to my analysis. I may be wrong, or I may be right. It is true that we paid a price when neutrality was placed in our constitution.

        It was an act of blackmail. But then, think about it. The one to pay most was the Labour Party, which was put in opposition for 25 years.

        That was an important gain we made, because that ensured that Malta could join the EU, even if this took a very long time.

        If it is true that the constitutional deal involved some manouvring from Gaddafi as we are made to understand, then we can at least say that the Libyan government never stopped (bar for 1996-1998) our process to join the EU. It may have made it harder, but we prevailed.

        We cannot sit here and discuss “what if we had not become neutral” – because this is only a hypothetical scenario. If we had not become neutral, Gaddafi could have made our life a misery in other ways. And our development could have been halted any way.

        In no way I am defending the Gaddafi regime. I know I cannot go back and I am living with that reality. If I could go back, I would go as far as 1969 and make sure that his coup would fail.

        I know we will not agree on this. It is Gaddafi’s intention to divide the West. He is good at that. Like Mintoff. Divide and rule.

      • La Redoute says:

        I note that your lengthy response does not rebut the claim that Malta remains a vassal state of Gaddafi.

      • ciccio2011 says:

        La Redoute, I will leave that rebuttal for the PM to make, instead of taking another call from Libya.

  27. Dee says:

    Gaddafi violates blatently the ceasefire and is reported to be only a few score kilometres from Benghazi and yet the international community looks on and does nothing. In the meantime , Libya calls for its FRIENDS China, Turkey, Germany AND Malta to be ceasefire observers.

    What a dubious honour.

  28. Anthony says:

    OK. Point made. So Lawrence Gonzi is out of his depth.

    Actually he has drowned.

    He should have asserted, in no uncertain terms, Malta’s right and determination to lend its facilities as a military base within the framework of UNSC resolution 1973.

    The circumstances are without precedent for our country.

    The Prime Minister has delivered himself well against all odds.

    He could not have done any better. Nobody in Malta could have.

    Thank God, Malta is run by a pair of safe hands.

    The alternative government would have been an unmitigated disaster in the present mayhem.

  29. Antoine Vella says:

    Many Maltese expect government to provide everything they need for free. They think Malta owes them a living; they think the world owes Malta a living.

    I can see the same reasoning in the present situation: Europe and the US not only owe us protection but they have to provide it for free. We expect to have rights but no duties because, ħeqq, we are “small and neutral” hux?

    • ciccio2011 says:

      Antoine, the truth is we have few rights when compared to the huge interests of the big countries you mention.

      We have no control of, and have never been allowed to control, any natural resources, like oil, for instance.

      While we were neutral, we did not meddle in the affairs of others for our benefit.

      We did not sign oil deals with Libya and then let a person serving a life sentence in one of our prisons for the Lockerbie bombing be freed to return to Libya as a hero.

      When Gaddafi sent his gunboats to drive us away from drilling for oil in OUR territory, we had no assistance from whoever – and we were not a neutral country then.

      If we can get protection for free, why not? Why pay for a free good? Why pay for a good from which others stand to gain a larger profit?

      The ousting of Gaddafi is not being done solely and mainly for our interests. The Prime Minister is right. We need to defend our national security first.

      • La Redoute says:

        “The ousting of Gaddafi is not being done solely and mainly for our interests.”

        Seeing as we don’t live in Libya, that is perfectly true, but Malta certainly has an interest not only in seeing him overthrown once and for all, but actively working to make that happen.

  30. John C says:

    I too feel let down by the Prime Minister’s press conference today. It was sitting on the fence taken to an extreme. At the very least he could have emphasized that Gaddafi has to leave Libya, but he couldn’t even muster the courage to state that.

    I’m not sure why Dr Gonzi, who had previously handled the situation reasonably well, suddenly felt the need to pander to that section of the population that will never vote for him, and blurt out the totally irrelevant concept of neutrality – a concept not particularly dear to his supporters. In so doing, he’s making our nation a laughing stock again, just like it was in the 70s and 80s.

    At this point, given the recent performance of Dalli and Gonzi, perhaps its time to recall Simon Busuttil from Brussels. The PN and the country urgently need someone as clear-thinking as him to lead the way.

  31. Mark Micallef Eynaud says:

    There are those born to greatness and those that have greatness thrust upon them. There are also those who fail to inspire in times of crisis.

    Whilst I do not agree with our PM on the issue of hosting forces enforcing a legally binding UN resolution issue, a bit of fire in his belly explaining to us and to the world why he adopts this stance would have done him and us a lot more good than the limp-wristed, tentative, apologetic approach we and the world were treated to.

  32. J. Parnis says:

    quote – Perhaps it’s time for Britain to ask for the return of that medal we got for bravery – unquote

    Go ahead, with pleasure. It’s a stain on our national flag. Anzi, we should post it back asap.It’s a dishonour to our forefathers who built, and sacrificed themselves for a prosperous island. Hundreds of Maltese killed for His Majesty’s service, in a war that NO country ever declared on us. The capital city and the glorious Three Cities decimated because of the RN warships in the docks, and never had the decency to help out in the reparation. 65 years later and we are creepingly rebuilding(!) the Opera house on our own. Malta was attacked due to the British occupation of our sacred islands. Punto e basta.

    [Daphne – I’m not going to bother to answer you. You are beneath contempt. It was worth whatever Malta suffered because the alternative would have been Hitler and Mussolini. No doubt you would have loved that.]

    • NGT says:

      I was waiting for a comment like that – really predictable and petty.

      This was the same war that NO country declared on Poland, Denmark, Norway, France, Greece etc. -and yet they were all pulled into it and guess what? They weren’t attacked because the British had bases there.

      Thankfully the Maltese weren’t occupied by Nazi Germany (and try to find out what the alternative would have been like for us, not just Jews or gypsies) because of the presence of the British. I imagine that people like you would have hated the British for not being here to stop the attacks.

      Perhaps you believe that we would have had the equivalent of Mintoff is-Salvatur at that time to kick the Germans out?

      While we’re at it – why don’t we stop using the so-called Maltese crosses too. After all, the Knights of St John ‘occupied’ Malta too, and I guess, with your reasoning, one could argue that we attracted the Turks to our shores because the Christian knights were here. Or do you think that the Siege of Malta was won only by brave Maltese men and women throwing burning oil down bastion walls?

      Really, isn’t it about time you freed yourself of those chips on your shoulders?

    • Frank says:

      ‘…sacred islands. Punto e basta.’ Dead giveaways as to the author’s “ideological” leanings, aren’t they.

  33. Edward Clemmer says:

    I am entirely disappointed with the PM [sorry, Joseph, it does not mean, therefore, that the PL have my support].

    While I have regarded Dr. Gonzi’s personal position regarding divorce as a disappointment, and the PN’s general position against the introduction of divorce to be a pandering to the electorate, I regard his handling (or mishandling) of Gaddafi and the Libyan issue to be still more misguided electioneering. It’s what Joseph does all the time. It’s expected of them, clowns that they are.

    But, I would expect courage and rational vision from the PM, genuine leadership. While the Libyan crisis may finally bring about the end of Gaddafi, the Libyan tragedy, ironically, also has terminally altered my former regard for Dr. Gonzi.

    Fortunately, my regard and correct judgement of Dr. Simon Busuttil has been well supported by his clarity and forceful reason in this crisis leading to war. He is the man who should be PM. We are fortunate to have him as Malta’s leading MEP.

    On the relative scale of the political universe, I can tolerate Dr. Gonzi’s personal position on divorce [while I disagree with it entirely]. But, on moral principle and history, I regard the PM’s personal position on the Libyan crisis a failure.

    It very well may be a tragic failure, shared with other political leaders. By not being clearly and forcefully forthright in opposition to Gaddafi, Libyan lives may have been lost because the Tyrant of Tripoli’s illusion of non-support for opposition.

    The French president has won my admiration. And David Cameron, too. The French and the English are leading, but it was the vision and moral force of Sarkozy that provided the enlightened stance on Libya. It seems that France still carries the torch of the Enlightenment for Europe.

    This crisis, for me, also has highlighted the need for Malta to amend its Constitution regarding “neutrality,” on the basis of proper moral leadership, and forcing our political leaders to be responsible and less equivocating, when they are inclined to make excuses to do so.

  34. Ghar u Kasa says:

    Ciccio 2011: You couldn/t have said it better. The easiest thing to do in similar circumstances is to do what first comes to mind. I think our Prime Minister counted to THOUSAND before yesterday’s press conference. And we all should thank him.

  35. Thanks for this, Daphne. My feelings exactly, except they are here expressed more eloquently. Thanks to your talent.

  36. j.l.b.matekoni says:

    If this was football I would be jeering from the terraces ” are you Joseph in disguise?”

  37. Neutral says:

    Unity with and respect for our leaders are important factors during these difficult situations.

    Am sure that our leaders know more than we do.

    [Daphne – What an attitude. ‘Our leaders know best.’ You know, sometimes they don’t. And if they know more than we do, then that’s because we haven’t been told. But we should be.]

    • Grezz says:

      Oh, come on, Neutral! You sound like one of those classroom suckers who would never dare challenge a teacher, even if they knew him to be 100% in the wrong.

  38. Jellybaby says:

    I think Malta’s attitude is absolutely disgusting. I doubt I’ll vote for anyone in the next elections; none of our political parties have any balls. The sooner Gaddafi is blown up the better.

    • Corinne Vella says:

      I don’t want to see him blown up. I want to see him brought to justice by the very system he’s thumbed his nose at while making people’s lives hell – him, and his ghastly offspring.

    • Josephine says:

      I would rather see Gaddafi being meted out the same treatment given to those who oppose him.

      Incidentally, having him blown up is no solution either, because one can then never be truly sure that he was really blown up.

  39. John CD says:

    Sabih ikollok hafna hin f’idejk tiggudika in-nies. Sabih ikollok ‘attitudni tal-gallarija’ tghajjar u tmaqdar u minghalik li kulhad jarak sabiha. Sabih kieku thares harsa fil-mera u tiggudika lilek innifsek l-ewwel u qabel kollox.

    Opinjoni tieghi hi li minghalik li tifhem f’kollox mentri hlief argumenti bazwin, bla bazi u ma jregux ma semmejtx. Trid tara l-affarijiet fil-kuntest li qedghin fih mhux iddawwar il-fatti ghal vizjoni tieghek.

    Nispera li titghallem mil-izbalji tieghek.

    [Daphne – As I said with reference to Kevin, the prime minister’s actions have served only to earn him the support of those with a wretched ‘Labour’ mentality, and the severe disappointment of almost everyone else who voted for him.]

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