Gaddafi is dead. And AST is redundant.

Published: October 23, 2011 at 6:57pm

This is my column in The Malta Independent on Sunday, today.

The Labour Party has made a pathetic sight over the last few days as it tries to come to terms with Muammar Gaddafi’s death. A significant element of its Golden Years, as they were described by Karmenu Vella, the man who has gone to sleep on an electoral programme, died with him last Thursday.

That same afternoon, Alex Sceberras Trigona, revealed his pain and consternation by responding with a single word – hmieg (dirt) – to a request to appear on Bondi+ to discuss the subject.

Perhaps he can be forgiven his loss of self-control. Muammar Gaddafi was Sceberras Trigona’s golden calf. He absolutely adored him.

Gaddafi was one of the main reasons he had been brought down from the Mile End attic, given a good scrub and wheeled out anew as Labour’s international secretary.

Now all his dreams of a new set of Golden Years have been unceremoniously dashed.

Shadow foreign minister George Vella did not turn down the invitation to go on the show. He composed himself, put on the sort of large smile (“I’m all right, you know”) that people wear when they have to walk into a party after the news has broken that, say, their wife has run off with Julio Iglesias, and appeared on our television screens.

But five minutes into the conversation, his facade crumbled and his behaviour became hostile and defensive.

Nobody knew how bad Gaddafi was and what he was up to, Vella said. So how could the Labour Party know? We only found out what he was up to when the uprising began last February.


I suppose he is oblivious to the inherent racism in that reasoning: that Libyans are inferior and different and don’t mind living like that or occasionally being rounded up and shot in a football pitch en masse after being tortured.

In the interim, Joseph Muscat’s office had issued a press release: the Labour leader would be paying an official visit to Malta Dairy Products the following morning and would the newsrooms please send photographers and reporters to capture the historic occasion?

As I write this two days later, he has still said nothing about Gaddafi’s death and is currently relaxing at the Hotel Ta’ Cenc with his wife and other members of his immediate family who cannot be mentioned, lest nominally Nationalist MP Jeffrey Pullicino Orlando and Labour MP Gino Cauchi become apoplectic once more and this time suffer a stroke.


The Labour leader deserves his middle-class break, for he has had a trying week.

He hasn’t been besieged with press questions about what he thinks about Gaddafi’s death, that’s true, which is a great shame because now he can finally cease to be prudent as he can’t very well be pursued by a bullet-ridden corpse.

But he has had rather a lot of questions about his imprudent exchange of emails with Sabrina Agius, a reporter with the church radio station.

There was nothing even vaguely adulterous about this exchange. There couldn’t be, because Miss Agius is not heterosexual. But still the Labour Party felt obliged to issue a statement that theirs is “a long-term friendship – nothing more”. Far too many people had read the mutual sucking-up and multiple ‘smilies’ as flirtation, and I don’t blame them.

“This is part of a political vendetta of the worst kind”, the statement went on. I would say it is more to do with Miss Agius’s decision to sue her employers for passing her over for promotion, and the unilateral decision of one of her colleagues to do something in retaliation.

But who cares what the reason was?

What is important is the information contained in those emails: that the Labour leader is working to have stooges and stool-pigeons at the church radio station, The Times and PBS. Joseph Muscat has furiously denied this, but those emails speak for themselves.

His party statement tells us that “Dr Muscat regularly corresponds with journalists from various newsrooms”. Indeed. I had been under the impression that the Labour Party thinks this sort of thing a grave crime, which is why they consider it to be headline-making news if this particular columnist rings politicians or their communications people for clarification on any point or for information about anything that might matter.

If Muscat wishes to begin corresponding with me by email, he is welcome to do so. I can tell him now, though, that all my communications are notoriously free of smiley faces.


I’m tired of hearing the woollier among the liberals talk about how Gaddafi shouldn’t have been lynched and should have been brought to justice instead.

They miss the point: he was brought to justice in the most appropriate way possible given the circumstances and considering all things.

No ‘civilised’ punishment could possibly fit his multifarious crimes, and because of that, any attempt would make a mockery of them. A trial would have achieved nothing, would have dragged on for years, and we would have had to put up with yet more Gaddafi grandstanding.

Tyrants are always dispatched immediately, usually along with their wives or mistresses (this one was lucky to get away in time). It is only their aides, sidekicks and underlings who end up in the International Court in The Hague.

The woollier liberals, too, miss the point that Gaddafi was not captured by a legitimate army, which would have brought international law into play. He was captured by a mob made up of men in their 20s who had left their jobs and their homes to pick up guns and fight.

“But the NTC said that Gaddafi would not be killed,” some of us protest. The NTC was in no position to guarantee any such thing. It was inevitable that when Gaddafi was found, he wouldn’t be found by NTC soldiers because there aren’t any. He would be found by civilians who are temporarily fighting and who will now have to go back to normal life, such as it is. And that’s exactly what happened.

Mussolini and his mistress were strung up by a mob, not by the incoming US Army. Mobs are not regulated by the Geneva Convention but by national law, and there is no national law in Libya now that Gaddafi’s law is lying in a meat-store in Misurata.

As The Times (London) put it, his death was the preferred outcome because a trial “would probably have revealed little that the world did not already know”. Even the left-wing The Guardian, generally the woolliest of the lot, said that “there could have been no more prophetic a sight for the tyrants who remain” than that of Gaddafi’s body being bundled off after he was savaged by those he had oppressed for so long.

“This may well be the fate that awaits (Syria’s) Assad or Yemen’s Ali Abdullah Saleh, and they must now know it,” the newspaper said in its leading article.

Now it’s time to move on. Assad must be quaking.

14 Comments Comment

  1. K.P.Smith says:

    Very true, but lest we forget:

    but as the old adage goes: with friends like these…

    Before I’m accused of being a fluffy liberal or anti-Europe (I voted yes to EU and ‘would’ do so again), I like to think of myself as a realist.

    Just swap ‘recipe’ for freedom of movement and ‘them’ (Indians) for the euro and I think we would have been OK….
    (start @ 01:22)

    Here’s one for your Sunday playlist in keeping with the spirit of the emergency meetings of our continent.

  2. mark v says:

    AST the loser, the opportunist, the tyrants’ ass-licker. I hope PL realise they can do without him now.

  3. Anthony says:

    Very few voices of dissent were heard in 42 years of murder, mass murder, international terrorism, rape and desaparecidos.

    On the contrary. The number of accomplices ran into hundreds of millions. Handshakes, state visits, bear hugs, smiles, orders of merit, billion dollar contracts. The lot. Money talks.

    Deja vu.

    Dongo 28/4/45.

    No further comment is called for.

  4. Matt says:

    Daphne, somebody commented that AST tried to hit Dr. Sant? Is this correct?

    [Daphne – I wouldn’t know. I wasn’t in the bedroom at the time.]

  5. ciccio2011 says:

    Excellent article. The only thing missing: the smiley faces.

  6. TROY says:

    Gaddafi was killed by the people he tormented, raped, mocked, tortured and treated like animals for 42 years.


  7. Matt says:

    Whose bedroom? I am missing something. Did something happen in a bedroom?

    [Daphne – It. Was. A. Joke.]

  8. TROY says:

    Wake up, Matt.

  9. J. Galea says:


    I am not on anyone’s side here… but could it be the case that AST responded with the word ‘hmieg’ in the text message, not due to the pain and consternation he felt towards Gaddafi’s death… but due to the fact that he thinks Bondi is an obnoxious annoying prat ?

    [Daphne – J. Galea, I spend my working and social life dealing with obnoxious and annoying prats. I have never been known to respond to a text message, a telephone call, or even direct rudeness to my face in that manner. There are better ways of seeing somebody off, and I’m putting one of them into practice right now. It is actually AST who is obnoxious – and very, very rude.]

    • Kenneth Cassar says:

      It is bad enough to be devious or rude in speech. It takes idiots like Alex Sciberras Trigona and Joseph Muscat to put it in writing.

      • Nestu tax-xahar says:

        Why would they have any qualms about that? They have to appeal to the other chavs, after all.

  10. TROY says:

    J.Galea, you annoy me with your twisted mind.So buzz off.

  11. kev says:

    A must-watch for lovers of gladiatorial wisdom:

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