Why many Maltese want to keep quiet about Gaddafi

Published: March 24, 2011 at 2:15pm

This photograph, taken last October and four months before the crisis broke out, shows St James Hospital in Tripoli, which is owned by a Maltese company, with a banner celebrating Muammar Gaddafi hung down the facade.

The banner reads:

The staff of St James Hospital congratulate the Leader of the Revolution and the Libyan people on the occasion of the 41st anniversary of the (…) Al Fateh Revolution.

53 Comments Comment

  1. cat says:

    If I may ask, does this hospital belong to the same owners of St. James in Malta?

    [Daphne – Yes, though they will have had to draw in Libya partners to be granted permission to set up shop in Libya. One of the US cables disclosed by Wikileaks claimed that Aisha Gaddafi was the Muscats’ partner in the Tripoli clinic, but St James has issued conflicting statements about this.





  2. Edward Caruana Galizia says:

    I think the reason why the Maltese don’t want to assist the coalition is because they are afraid that Gaddafi will bomb us since he will see it as a huge betrayal.

    Also, I don’t think our politicians have ever dealt with something like this in a long time. This is the closest thing to war in a very long time, and dealing with the press and politicians from other countries on this matter might seem very overwhelming for them. They’re playing with the big boys now, and since politics in Malta is so parochial, they have no idea how to go about it.

    That’s not to say that I do. But anyone can see through the actions of our political leaders at the moment. They come from fear. Not fear of Gaddafi, but fear of how to go about dealing with the situation and the possible outcome.

    Plus, they might think that should they join the coalition, they will be drawing Malta into a war. War to many in this country is about being bombed as in WWII, and no one wants that.

    Perhaps if we truly believed in freedom then we would have no problem helping the people of another country fight for it, and the cost will seem worth it.

    • Michael says:

      I totally agree with you, but which side of the coalition should we join? The French or the Italian/Nato.

      • Edward Caruana Galizia says:

        Whichever side we join it won’t really matter in many people’s eyes. People will still see it as entering a war with another country. And since we are all oh so Catholic it would be immoral to do that. I don’t even know what people are so afraid of.

        Don’t get me wrong. I’m all for the flower power make love not war approach to situations. And I would never want Malta to be at war with another country for unethical reasons. But this is a very different situation.

        What I don’t understand, though, is the way people think: that if we do openly support the efforts to get rid of Gaddafi then it will affect our tourism. That ship has sailed. Italy has already advised people who are travelling to Malta to make sure they have proper insurance which covers both health and repatriation. I believe so have France and Germany (although you’ll have to check that one). So we are going to suffer whatever disadvantages regardless of where we stand.

        I also don’t understand how we hate it when our size makes other countries act like we are not important, that we do our best to show the world that we are just as good as any other EU country. But then when it comes to situations like this we use our size to stay out of things. I find that confusing.

  3. Bus Driver says:

    Mhux fl-affarijiet bhal-dawn qeghda d-duda. Hemm wisq kallijiet x’jintrifsu u wisq interessi personali biex jiegu salvagwardjati.

    Meta gie ffaccat bil-mument ta’ prova, il-parlament taghna falla, u falla bl-ikrah. Jistghu mmorru nippuppaw fir-ritratti mal-mexxejja l-ohra tal-EU, izda minn hawn l’hinn dan ma jservi ta’ xejn hlief biex jidru fuq l-istazzjonijiet tat-TV lokali halli jimpressjonaw xi kocc cwiec tal-partit taghhom. Pajjizna tilef kull kredibilita fuq il-front internazzjonali.

  4. A. Charles says:

    If I am not mistaken, Wikileaks had about 110 items about Malta. What ever happened to them? Have they been published? Any juicy contents re: Malta/Gaddafi?

    • La Redoute says:

      No. They haven’t been published. However, Malta is mentioned in a few of the published cables relating to other countries, notably, Libya. You can look them up using the ‘Malta’ tag on Wikileaks.

  5. Anthony Farrugia says:

    We are being treated as village idiots who become of sound mind only every five years when elections approach and we are canvassed for our votes or even taken for granted.

    We are looked down upon and spoken to in a condescending manner as if we are unable to form an opinion or are not well informed; they – being the politicians – have forgotten that there are 24/7 TV channels devoted solely to news and that, through the internet, we can access newspapers all over the world of every hue and colour and form opinions.

    So it is not “prudent” to speak or comment about the mishandling by our political class of this crisis; after all they had since 17th February to prepare for it and are trying to use “prudence” to gag criticism.

    An example is the interviews given by Tonio Borg and Lawrence Gonzi on Sky News and Al Jazeera; within minutes, links and comments had been uploaded on this website and everybody had his say. I would love to see the briefing papers – if any – used by our politicians during these interviews or were the replies off the cuff?

    I do not think any Maltese TV channel or newspaper went further than a cursory mention, let alone an analysis of what was said and, more important, how it was said.

    They have even tried to sell us that whopper that Malta cannot form part of the coalition because of the neutrality clause in our constitution, when this has been overridden by the UN Security Council resolution. It had to be retired President Eddie Fenech Adami to prick that balloon.

    This is all a matter of perception. No need to turn Malta International Airport into Trapani – Birgi but an offer to base a tanker or AWACS aircraft at MIA cound have been accepted or “thank you but no thank you” and we would have been seen still as willing to participate in the coalition.

    How about port facilities – but, oh, this is not the “Great Humanitarian Evacuation”.

    But then when one reads the comments on timesofmalta.com one is tempted to give up all hope. It seems that they are rooting for the status quo as it would not rock the boat and we can continue business as usual. I bet some of our wise guys are already planning on how to circumvent sanctions as in the “Tolotela” days.

    Another domino – Syria – has now started trembling in a process which will see North Africa and the Middle East changed beyond recognition. But we in our little Don Camillo world are afraid of change as our mantra has always been “mhux dejjem hekk ghamilna” (we have always done things this way).

    • Il-breefink says:

      X’briefing papers, briefing papers.

      That’s the trouble without our political classes – their slipshod approach to policy-making at village council level is now writ large on the international scene.

      When Alfred Sant said ‘ghandi feeling’ as a reason for his pronouncements, he was only a hairline away from this other lot.

      • H.P. Baxxter says:

        I wish I could come over and give you a tearful bearhug, Breefink, because you couldn’t have put it better.

        Is there anything we can do? I’ve tried sending opinion pieces to the papers but they’ve never been published.

      • Grezz says:

        Not HIS hairline, surely?

      • Il-breefink says:

        Publish them on your blog.

  6. Karl Flores says:

    As Aristotle put it, the rare skill ”to be angry with the right person, to the right degree, at the right time, for the right purposes, and in the right way”.

  7. el bandido guapo says:

    From: “Corinthia about to kick off work on €300m Medina Tower”



    MIH last week announced a €30 million, 7-year bond bearing an interest rate of 7.15% per annum payable annually as from 23rd July 2011.

    The bond is being issued in three currencies, Euro, Sterling or US Dollars. The Bonds are redeemable in 2017, but can be redeemed earlier at the Issuer’s option as from 2015. In the case of over-subscription, the bond issue will be increased by €10 million up to a total of €40 million.

    Application forms and copies of the prospectus became available from today from authorised financial intermediaries. Subscriptions open on Monday 12th July 2010 and the offer closes on Friday 16th July or earlier if over-subscribed.

    Mr Fenech said the Medina Tower project would be financed jointly by MIH, International Hotel Investments p.l.c. and EDREICO, which together will contribute €125 million as equity contribution, or 42% of the total project cost. The remaining funds would be raised by way of bank finance.”

    The interest could be far more widespread.

    • jd says:

      Corinthia (including related companies such as IHI, MIH) have issued over €200m worth of bonds on the Malta Stock Exchange.

      On a separate matter, when is the government going to release information regarding the action they have taken as a result of the sanctions imposed on Libya?

  8. Interested Bystander says:

    Off topic: no DNA from David Gatt found at crime scenes. But if he masterminded it, then he wouldn’t have had to be there would he, yet defence is making such a big deal about it.

  9. Tony says:

    What’s wrong with Maltese companies opening for business in Libya? They are employing many Maltese directly and indirectly. They are a source of foreign exchange income to Malta. Maltese businessmen and women took risks when opening in Libya.

    If you expect Tonio Borg and Lawrence Gonzi to take a firmer stand on Gaddafi don’t blame it on Maltese businesses who have a business in Libya!

    I thought that you checked your facts before posting your comments … did you check the accuracy of Wikileaks news? Are you 100% sure that every foreign business needs foreign partners to operate in Libya?

    [Daphne – “Are you 100% sure that every foreign business needs foreign partners to operate in Libya?” Yes. And if you won’t take my word for it, ring Alan Camilleri at Malta Enterprise and see what he tells you. He was categoric about it on BondiPlus last Monday. But if you don’t believe either of us, try working it out for yourself: why on earth would you be allowed to set up in business there without a Libyan partner? They’re obviously going to want a piece of the action. Also, nowhere did I say that it’s wrong for Maltese businesses to open up in Libya – far from it. I have interviewed many people who do business in Libya and admire them for the risks they are prepared to take. But I have always taken it for granted that they are fully aware of those risks, and most of them are. The point I am making with this photograph is something else entirely: doing business in Tripoli is one thing; hanging a Gaddafi banner like that down the facade of your premises is another.]

    • Tony says:

      Dear Daphne, i won’t take your word for it nor will i take Mr. Camilleri’s.

      “Full foreign ownership is permitted, in ventures established in the context of Law No. 5 and approved by the Foreign Investment Board.
      Foreign Investment Law 5 of 1997 amended in 2003 allows for investment in the following sectors: industry, health, tourism and agriculture, following the positive list approach.
      The law 5 of 1997, modified by several decrees that followed, encourages investment of foreign capital in the areas that necessitate transfer of technologies, formation of Libyan technical cadre, and regional development.”

      I am also attaching the full text of Law No 5 http://www.investinlibya.ly/PDF/LawNo5ExcutiveEnglish.pdf

      As for hanging banners from one’s business balcony in Tripoli i’m sure that there is a lot of freedom as to whose banner you hang! Gaddafi banners hang everywhere in Tripoli and business do not have a choice.

      [Daphne – Please don’t quote Libyan ‘laws’ at me. There is no rule of law in Libya. That much has been established. It is the reason the uprising happened in the first place.]

      • Tony says:

        lol ok ghandek ragun dejjem int

      • Anthony says:

        I give up.

        If there is one human being around, just one, quoting current Libyan law, I give up.

        The rule of law in Libya?

        I must be going completely mad.

        I will refer myself to Mount Carmel Hospital tomorrow morning.

        This is just unbelievable.

        As we say in Maltese : “L-imgienen barra qeghdin”.

      • Tony says:


        Just because you accept the fact that companies operating in Libya were subject to Libyan Law does not make one completely mad.

        Maybe you used to travel to Libya without obtaining a visa or without following their regulations?…. yes they had rules and Laws which foreigners including all Maltese who traveled and worked in Libya had to follow them rigorously to avoid problems.

      • Zorro himself says:

        And no-one mentions the massive backhanders Maltese businessmen have to pay to their Libyan agents, contacts etc.

        Beats having to be a partner as we understand ‘business partner’ in Malta. All gain, no pain for the Libyans. Established business will tell you they would not survive without their corrupt contacts.

      • Corinne Vella says:

        There are laws, and there is the rule of law. They are related, but they are not the same thing.

        You are subject to Libya’s laws, but you have no recourse to law if things do not work in your favour. More precisely, Gaddafi’s regime is not bound by law.

  10. Albert Farrugia says:

    I think we are treated as idiots all round. Here’s our boy at the European Parliament, Dr Simon Busuttil, as quoted by timesofmalta.com. He was being questioned about his support for the push-back agreement agreed between Libya and Italy, which practically stopped all illegal immigration from the North African country.

    Dr Busuttil said: “Whatever we may think of him today, at the time Gaddafi was an accepted part of the international community. Things changed, however, when he turned his guns on his people. That is when he became illegitimate.”

    Now, there were, in fact, groups (which are sometimes not heard because they are branded as “looney left” by the mainstream media) who DID try to warn the international community that those Africans turned back to Libya might be in danger.

    Just saying that your opinion changed because shots were fired during demonstrations begs the question, and what about Bahrain, Yemen, even Syria now?

    [Daphne – My opinion hasn’t changed. I always felt the same way about Gaddafi and his regime. And I am far, far from being a member of the loony left, but I wrote repeatedly against sending the immigrants back to Libya. Even before I read the Jesuits’ report on what became of them, I was fairly certain of it, having seen how they were treated in Tripoli itself.]

  11. carlos says:

    A. Charles, Il-Mument has published the Wikileaks parts pertaining to Malta.

  12. gaddafi says:

    Iz-zejt ilu li tela f’wicc l-ilma. Il-Maltin bieghu lill-Libjani ribelli ghal tletin bicca tal-fidda (cioe negozju bhal dik il-klinika).

    Meta l-biza u r-reghba jsuqu d-decizzjonijiet tal-bniedem ir-rizultat inkun ingustizzja kbira.

    Hrigna ta’ hmir quddiem id-dinja kollha. Postna fid-dinja wara li dhalna fl-Ewropa gie rovinat. Hemm bzonn mexxejja b’vizzjoni bhal ma kien Eddie.

  13. gel says:

    It was reported that in Tunisia, anybody who wanted to start a business had to have somebody of the president’s family involved, even up to 50% shareholding. In Libya the Gaddafi family were even stronger than the Tunisian president and therefore one assumes that anybody who has a business in Libya, even owning a house, the Gaddafi family or their network are involved. The bigger the business the bigger the involvement. There must have been lots of pressure from these investors on our politicians.

  14. Pat Zahra says:

    Has the President said anything about the situation in Libya?

  15. Antoine Vella says:

    Gaddafi’s son claimed that his father had contributed to Sarkozy’s electoral campaign. Although Sarkozy denied it (and Saif is has been known to lie, on occasion) I can’t help wondering whether Maltese candidates and parties also received money.

    In that case, the question is of course what did Gaddafi expect in return.

    • Another John says:

      Simple. Gaddafi is an environmentalist at heart (that’s why he is so fond of the tent) and did not want a lot of different sources of crude oil running around, and especially in the Mediterranean.

  16. Benghazi says:

    Demonstrations in Benghazi in support of air strike.

  17. Steve says:

    That might be the reason why ‘some’ Maltese would rather keep quiet, but my bet is that the majority think a) Libyans are somehow beneath us and not worthy of help and b) they think if they shut up, it might just go away.

  18. Misurata says:


    1838: A BBC contact in Misrata says the central hospital there has been turned into an army base by pro-Gaddafi troops. She says no civilians are there and all the surrounding houses have been evacuated. It is not possible for us to confirm the claims.

  19. Dr Francis Saliba says:

    I seem to remember a consignment of propaganda T-shirts emblazoned with something like “Lorry Sant for Prime Minister”, impounded on arrival in Malta. I am sure that there are people who could supply more details. At that time the Mintoff-Sant relationship was not at its most friendly.

  20. yor says:

    Has anybody pussyfooting around the issue of calling Gaddafi a murderer stopped to think that all those BILLIONS should have been money spent on the Libyan economy and Libyan social services.So people in power are worried that we shall no longer be able to lick crumbs off the floor, when in fact we should have had a multi billion economy on our doorstep .

  21. yor says:

    Never have the interests of a few so overshadowed the aspirations of Malta.

    • Interested Bystander says:

      How very true. They got into bed with the colonel, and now if they try to leave him they will find that they are handcuffed to the headboard.

      I mean, how much money would persuade you to turn a blind eye to the atrocities he committed and would carry on doing if he is left in power? How much blood money?

      Most of the maltese people I know are good honest folk.

      The few money-grabbing greedy unethical bastards really let the rest down.

      I hope they lose every last cent. And that no government bail them out for their risk that went wrong after first going right.

    • Il-Cop says:

      @ yor
      I have to disagree with you on this one. Rewind back to the 80s with a clear and unbiased mind and evaluate the history that evolved during those golden years.

      It was then that the aspirations of the few so blatantly and forcefully overshadowed the aspirations of the many and hence Malta. And the butcher of Tripoli was the paladin of those few. Judging by what KMB, Reno Calleja et al said during these troubled times, he still is. Golden years, my arse. If you remove the ‘Never have’ at the beginning of yor comment I will be in full agreement with you.

      • yor says:

        The wrongs of past and present are what they are: WRONG. The reference timespan that I am taking a look at is approximately 35 years, give or take a few. The only bias that I have is that the people involved now are more relevent to the current events unfolding and I expect a lot more from them.

        KMB speaks drivel, so he is not worth mentioning. As an end note, wouldn’t it be apt if the incoming Libyan government were to erect a statue to KMB with the legend: THIS MAN IS RESPONSIBLE FOR US HAVING HAD TO ENDURE MUAMMAR GADAFFI SINCE 1986.

  22. Adrian Pace says:

    Daphne, you bring so many things to light. We have been bending over to this bedouin terrorist for four decades.

    We signed secret pacts with him in the seventies to turn against the British and NATO. We even had to endure a green passport (written in Arabic) for years on end.

    We had to adopt Arabic as a compulsory language at secondary level. He sent military hardware on us when we were exploring for oil in the Medina bank in 1979.

    One of our ex prime minsters warned him of the US attack on Tripoli back in ’86. Just a few months ago, Gaddafi threatened to turn Europe ‘black and Muslim’ unless the EU pay him 5 billion a year.

    Since Malta joined the EU, he has taken his revengue by allowing hundreds of banana-boats packed with illegal immigrants to leave his shores for Malta. He has made us sleep with Ceaucescu, the North Koreans and the Chinese throughout the eighties having Mintoff make a fool of himself on the council of Europe on more than one occasion.

    And while ths present government was aware of all these humiliations they are still reluctant to step on Gaddafi’s toes and allow the coalition forces to use Malta’s resources to attack him.

  23. Alley Mizzi says:

    Daphne… get your facts right before blubbering away!!! you’re not right about your article….again get your facts right dear!!!!

    [Daphne – Tell me the facts then, sweetheart. I’ll be happy to upload them – if you can articulate them.]

  24. Peter Borg says:

    Quite an achievement for the leader of the ex-Freedom Fighters!

    Take away money and you get rhyme and reason.

  25. red nose says:

    Alley Mizzi seems to be pissed off by the truth.

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