UN-mandated action: Malta can no longer hide behind neutrality's skirt

Published: March 18, 2011 at 10:34am

Hope dies last - and a good thing too

Last night’s decision has not increased the tension which built up over the last week as we watched Gaddafi’s forces push the Libyan rebels into retreat.

It has broken that tension.

It might also, with luck, have put an end to the circular debates online as to what should be done, whether Malta should mediate, neutrality this and neutrality that.

People who cannot accept the facts of a situation, who must forever deal with hypotheses because reality doesn’t suit them, will still keep talking. But now it means nothing. Malta can no longer hide behind neutrality’s skirt. This is UN-mandated action. We no longer have an excuse except to say that we prefer to have others do the dirty work and then we can move in for the spoils later, like desert vultures.

It’s interesting to see so many Mintoffjani out in force on the internet and elsewhere, not quite sticking up for Gaddafi (even they are not daft enough to try that) but mocking or trying to sabotage the efforts of those who want him removed, and then crowing with Schadenfreude when he appeared to be ‘winning’ – for what could he win, really – over the last few days.

It’s tough remembering that people who think like this have a vote and will use it to elect Joseph Muscat. But when I look at the groups of people shouting and jumping about in support of Muammar Gaddafi for the benefit of the television cameras, like last night after the Libyan under-secretary of foreign affairs’ press conference, I can’t shrug off the mental image of Mintoff supporters doing exactly the same. Switch the green scarves for red ones, and there was no difference: same mentality, same drop-jawed stupidity, same blind devotion, even kissing pictures of their Salvatur.

May God deliver us from mobs of idiots.

During the build-up to the UN Security Council vote, the Labour Party media seemed to be operating in a parallel universe. Its news website Maltastar ran something about the General Workers Union as its top story. Over on Super One television, they were discussing – yawn – divorce, with the Big Chief of Labour’s Business Forum, who should have been concentrating on more pressing matters, looking as though she was out to nab Spiderman with those tights.

I can’t help thinking that it was Saif Al Islam Gaddafi’s interview, broadcast the day before yesterday, that tipped the balance on the Security Council vote and helped concentrate the minds of ditherers (but not Germany’s). He was so cocksure, so unbearably self-confident and self-satisfied, showing so little respect for human life and so divorced from reality, talking about Arab states which are run by dictators who seize power through imposition or inheritance. Him, of all people?

Then his father went on Libyan state television to warn the people of Benghazi: “We are coming tonight.” And that was it. Then you suspected what the vote was going to be. It couldn’t be anything else, thanks to all the hard work done by Britain, France, Lebanon and latterly, the United States.

We are told that air strikes on Gaddafi’s military holdings will begin today, led by France and Britain. France said this morning that the aim is to “protect the Libyan people and to allow them to go all the way in their drive for freedom, which means bringing down the Gaddafi regime.”

I am glad that I never lost faith, not even over the last few days when everyone seemed to be saying that all was lost, that Gaddafi was likely to stay, that you see, Malta should have stayed out of it and said nothing because now look what will happen. So craven. I don’t know how people can live with themselves, with an attitude like that. What must it be like? Il-mentalita taz-zghir.

But no, not even that, because brave Norway and Denmark, hardly the Titans of Europe unlike yellow Germany, are readying their scant airborne resources, their few fighter jets, to – as Denmark’s defence minister said – “defend the people of Libya”.

Meanwhile, the operation called Gaddafi & Sons carries on this morning with their siege of Misrata, after a night of heavy gunfire.

30 Comments Comment

  1. Sufless says:

    So if you were Prime Minister you would offer Malta as a base to the British, French and US army. Would you let them attack from here? The risk is that Malta will then be attacked without having an army to protect itself.

    [Daphne – Please explain to me why you imagine that Gaddafi will not attack Malta regardless, given that he is currently engaged in attacking his own people in Libya itself, and has said he will attack international civilian traffic on passenger planes and ships. This is a terrorist you are dealing with. Accept it. Terrorists do not follow rules or respect neutrality clauses.]

    It takes the jet fighters, armed with bombs 15 minutes to leave the northern coast of Libya, and attck the warships in the grand harbour, or our only runway. And we all know Gaddaffi will have no problem to send those type of instructions. It is him against the world at this point.

    As a PM will you be able to take that decision? Put the life of so many people at risk?

    [Daphne – You’re not very bright are you.]

  2. gaddafi says:

    Malta lanqas id-dghajjes bir-refugjati ta’ povri Libjani mhi se taccetta, ahseb u ara kemm se thalli li artna tintuza b’mod attiv fil-konfrontazzjoni militari.

    [Daphne – Dawk ir-refugjati kienu Marokkini.]

    Taf li qed nisthi li jien Malti? X’misthija gabu fuq art twelidna l-politikanti taghna. Imbasta jiftahru li Malta saret l-infermiera tal-Meditterran. Dan veru … imma Malta kellha wkoll vokazzjoni ohra cioe li tkun l-aircraft carrier tal-Mediterran.

    Il-gvern biegh ruhu.

  3. Dee says:

    The press conference held in Libya last night by the undersecretary-minion of Gaddafi & Family Co Ltd was surreal and got even more so when the rent-a mob draped in green were allowed in by the tight cordon of security surrounding the hotel to monkey all over the place.

    But who were they kidding?

  4. Anthony Farrugia says:


    No comments yet from our prime minister, foreign minister and, to be expected, leader of the Opposition.

    Let us hope our political leaders will rise to the occasion.

    • john says:

      Our political leaders are busy fighting the fight on divorce. Give the poor fellows a breather. You want them to multi-task or what?

  5. john says:

    Germany wages war when it shouldn’t – and doesn’t do its bit when it should.

  6. Anthony Farrugia says:

    Where is the PM? Is he holding a cabinet meeting? Consulting with the President in Australia, if need be?

    Consulting, for what it is worth, with the leader of the opposition?

    Are we going to have some wishy-washy statement which means nothing?

    This is the time when poiticians become statesmen by taking the right decision.

  7. Antoine Vella says:

    It would make it so much easier for RAF and other planes if they could use Malta as well as Cyprus and Sicily.

    But of course, the usual ‘viljakki’ will protest that “we are small” (forgetting that Cyprus is hardly any bigger) and that we should be ” “friends to all” (but i don’t want to be friends with Gaddafi).

    The cliche that “we are small” is not only pathetic but also false. We are not ‘small’: our island is small but we Maltese are exactly the same as everybody else.

    We expect to have the same civil rights as people from the rest of Europe and North America but then we must also shoulder the same responsibilities..

    We have less resources than bigger countries but nobody is expecting Malta to provide bombers and missiles. What we could and should do, however, is offer what resources we have – namely our geographic position – to help the Libyan people. We should look beyond the jets and weapons and see the real purpose of the UN resolution.

    Even those who have “business interests” in Libya and think in terms of profits and personal gain should realise that, at this point – when the eventual end of the Gaddafi regime is guaranteed – it is counter-productive to remain on the sidelines.

  8. Anthony Farrugia says:

    maltastar.com is still in la-la land. Main item is “Joseph Muscat reaction over divorce motion”.

  9. what a sad mish mash of facts by an opinionated person ….


    just say …. Ghaddafi we want war too

    [Daphne – Stick to the drugs, Jon. That’s something you know about at least.]

    • La Redoute says:

      Doesn’t Jon Lukas live in London?

      • Anthony Farrugia says:

        He conveniently commutes.

      • La Redoute says:

        The point is, the UK was the prime mover behind that UN resolution. Is Jon Lukas shooting his mouth off on UK blogs too?

      • @ Anthony …. yes i conveniently commute after about 35 years away … do u hve a problem wth that .. it’s my country of birth too bro …. do i sense a rascist remark here ? Please enlighten me .

        @ La Redoute …. yes I blog in the same fashion in the UK as I am understood somewhat better at times and given respect back for my views something some people in this blog lack.

        There is an undemocratic mood in here of hear what I say or yr an idiot which is sooo ugly

    • Antoine Vella says:

      Woodenman? Would that be wooden brain?

      [Daphne – http://www.broadjam.com/jonlukas ]

      • @ Antoine Vella … possibly and then possibly not and there’s no call to be disresctful to me about this geesa’ as i have the right for my opinion as well which incidentally is that I have understood from the start of Bondi’s wall thread (which is where all this debate started for me and through that I found myself here on this somewhat sad blog) the UK know how far they can go with this and they can only help the rebels up to the point of getting things even for them with their or rather US sophisticated weapons. The rebels have to then actually topple Ghaddafi themselves as no one has the right to full assault against another sovereign country since this sets a dangerous precedent . It is not a question of being a coward or not having balls as Ms Galizia puts it. backed by Bondi who a couple of days ago was talking of the West blasting the head of Ghaddafi out of the way with a full a la Saddam onslaught …. period,
        This is a deeper situation that has serious repercussions even for Malta. We in the UK have been through this pre Iraq and I spoke like u guys then …. not now cos’ we are wiser since UK ‘n America lost respect in the world for what was a forceful enforcement of democracy. ONE CANNOT COERCE DEMOCRACY cos’ it will come back to haunt one.
        Please check this out… check the lyrics on this by America’s highly rated poet Bob Dylan standard

        I am not saying Ghaddaffi is ok FARRRR FROM IT ! But we have to use our head to accomplish a long term good result.
        Since then both Gonzi & Muscat coolly are doin’ the right thing for all in this blog and in Malta.
        THE WORD is STILL …. L O V E

        [Daphne – Better come down from your trip, Jon, because your time-machine is about to leave without you.]

  10. Mark VB says:

    Correction, it took six minutes between take-off and landing, i.e. the including the 3-minute dash, for the defecting Mirages to reach Malta.

    And so what?

    Are we to sit and look on as though an exciting “telenovela” is unfolding?

    We belong to the UN and respect its charter and any decisions it takes.

    I am sure that we were in total agreement with last night’s decision, or shall we hold a referendum?

    Now is the time to stand up and be counted and for the PM to show his true statesmanship.

    How about removing that horrible Gaddafi flag in Notabile Road for a start.

    [Daphne – That is the Libyan ambassador’s decision, not Malta’s.]

  11. Farrugia says:

    Lets remember that Gadaffi had already attacked an oil rig on our Medina Bank and this happened when Malta and Libya were very ‘close’. One wonders what can happen now that we have sequestered two Libyan Mirage?

    One cannot exclude the possibility that Gadaffi may attack neighbouring countries. His words are very threatening to the outside world. Malta would be a ‘good’ target being defenseless and having no airforce (thanks to ‘neutrality’ clause) to protect us. This is a very dangerous period of time. It is at these times that our politicians will be tested,

    • Mark VB says:

      @Farrugia – That was nothing more than a joke.

      I was in the Gulf at the time and there was a shortage of offshore rigs. An oil executive asked me: “What’s your government up to! We contacted Agip immediately to secure the rig and their reply was that it was leased to the Maltese government for three weeks only.”

      It’s not difficult to understand who was conning the Maltese public.

  12. gianni says:

    I am no constitution expert. As I know it the final say regarding neutrality in any type of situation will always be the prime minister’s.

  13. Frank says:

    Neutrality is a deplorable and immoral concept. Moreover the way it was implemented should raise questions as to its legitimacy.

    Similarly the legitimacy of the infamous article 2 (Catholic Church and all that) should be questioned. It has come the time to have BOTH overturned and relegated to were they belong, the dustbin of history.

  14. Robert Martin says:

    Can you please explain why you continue promoting “”MINTUFJANI”” LABOUR, JOSEPH MUSCAT etc.etc…. I love your writings, but don’t understand why you got stuck in the eighties ! honestly speaking i’m afraid that you’re doing this to promote the LP to win the next election. At the beginning I used to smile, sometimes to agree with your stands, but after reading them for zillions of times, its like pfffff, have a break, its 2011 & we’re not taking it anymore !!! (SENZA OFFESE)


    Robert Martin

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