Noblesse oblige, Mrs Muscat. But then so does any other position of power and privilege.

Published: October 14, 2013 at 10:36am

Twins birthday party invitation

While Mama Michelle presided over the final details of a sixth birthday party at Girgenti Palace for the new Infantas of Castille, the bodies of children the same age were being hauled out of the water, while others, wearing the shocked, blank expressions of the deeply traumatised, freshly orphaned or with one parent where before they had two, were carted off to God knows what destiny in this second stage of this asylum-seeking nightmare.

The proper thing for Mrs Muscat to do would have been to cancel or postpone the party, explain to her children why (those lessons in life and behaviour are best learned early) and then to lead by example, using her position and her influence not to organise Spanish princess parties at Girgenti Palace but to ensure that everything possible is being done to help those other children who survived the migrant boat tragedy, particularly those children who have been orphaned, and those who have been separated from their parents.

There is a big drive on now to collect clothes, sheets and other basics for adults and children who have come out of the water with nothing. It is all organised by ordinary women, volunteers, while Mrs Muscat faffs around with Spanish-princess-themed cakes and dresses at Girgenti, which she appears to be turning into her very own version of Marie Antoinette’s toy farm, Le Petit Hameau.

If Mrs Muscat is alien to the concept of noblesse oblige, as I rather suspect she might be, then an appeal to baser sentiments might work. Throwing a party for your children at a state-funded palace to which you have access only because of your position of privilege, on the very day when the bodies of children the same age have put Malta in the world news once again, shows appalling judgement in terms of public relations, and reveals a blindness and indifference to the fate of others that is really quite brutal. It is the amoral pragmatism of a southern Mediterranean peasant, not of a palace incumbent.

17 Comments Comment

  1. albona says:

    Comment not related to this article:

    On page 14 of today’s Corriere della Sera (only in the print edition) there is a scathing attack on Muscat and on the island’s response to the rescue of human lives in the Med.

    The article is by Luigi Offeddu

  2. Corinne Vella says:

    This group is helping to collect and deliver goods:

    This list was posted online yesterday evening:


    1. PILLOWS
    2. SHEETS
    3. TOWELS

    • Corinne Vella says:

      It’s Eid tomorrow, normally a time for families to be together. That makes the situation harder for families who have been separated and all those who have lost whatever they had.

      Please make the effort to help out if you can.

  3. helen says:

    Please can anybody tell me who are these volunteers who are collecting clothes etc. for the Syrian people?

  4. winston psaila says:

    I’m sure that your thoughts must have touched many a mother’s heart; sadly, I suspect, not the most important one – too busy making the most of her temporary lease on power to bother about such trivialities as the loss of human lives.

    • Osservatore says:

      A good read indeed which puts Muscat’s gripe well into a wider context. Bottom line, his whine is starting to irritate even our nearest and dearest neighbours.

    • Jozef says:

      Note to Ramona Attard who was interviewed by the BBC, was all you could string together the usual slogans and that Malta can’t take this invasion, etc etc? How venial.

      So we’ve been landed with 1800 since January eh? Wow, that less than 2 immigrants every 400 Maltese, Ramona.

      And do please look up this country’s policies before spluttering erms and umms. So what if Malta has the highest pro capita acceptance of refugee applications? I should think so, perhaps Iceland could do better, but then who’s landing there?

      And did you notice how the journalist preferred speaking to the survivors, who were much more articulate and, crucially, authentic in what they had to say than your lines?.

      • john says:

        Most Maltese are incapable of stringing a sentence together without the interjection of one or two erm errs. I just can’t take it any more.

        [Daphne – Be kind. First they must marshal their thoughts, then they must scroll through their limited lexicon for an approximation of what they mean. The ‘errrr’ fills the aural void while this is happening.]

  5. Peritocracy says:

    Le Petit Hameau is at the disposition of Les Grands Hamalleaux.

  6. Oscar II says:

    This was such a great opportunity to lead by example and show some humanity towards these unfortunate souls. And our very own Michelle managed to screw this one up as well. Palace incumbent, my foot. Give up, Daphne – they will never learn.

  7. Aunt Hetty says:

    Marie Antoinette’s toy farm was The ”Petit Trianon”.

    [Daphne – The Petit Trianon is the house. Le Petit Hameau/Le Hameau de la Reine is the whole thing. Hameau means hamlet and hamlets were originally a single farmstead.]

  8. Gaetano Pace says:

    Ramona Attard must think that there is no difference between the BBC and Super One, her old haunt.

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