Here’s a new angle to Mark Camilleri’s Medal for Service to the Republic

Published: December 13, 2013 at 2:53pm

Alex Vella Gera

Mark Camilleri – 25, inarticulate in Maltese and completely unable to speak English – has been honoured with a Medal for Service to the Republic.

The nature of this service to the republic? He published a story – a work of fiction, using coarse language as a narrative device – in a university magazine he edited. He was then prosecuted, by the police and not by the government (the point has to be made because the Labour Party encouraged the view that he was somehow prosecuted by Lawrence Gonzi) under our obscenity laws.

The prosecution was wrong and ill-judged. I had written about it extensively and even published the story on this site to highlight the farce of prosecuting one publisher but not another.

But the bottom line is this: Mark Camilleri neither achieved anything nor did he serve the republic by being prosecuted for publishing a story. He did not consciously campaign, he had no idea he would be prosecuted for publishing it, nothing he did was with a view to changing censorship laws, and in any case, none of that can he considered an achievement or service to the republic.

Worse than that, his prosecution literally scared the living daylights out of him and his comportment was that of a coward rather than that of somebody openly and deliberately defying the law to get it changed. I got the impression that if he could have turned back the clock, not published that story and avoided all the hassle, he would have done.

Now we discover, through the Facebook page of the man who wrote the story – Alex Vella Gera – that he was nominated for the medal too, but did not accept it.

He has written a good account of what he thinks of the political patronage in Malta’s honours system, and of the inherent contradictions in many of those honours, but he leaves out the real reason he should have given for refusing it: that he has done nothing to deserve it. Writing a story and facing prosecution for it do not constitute service to the republic. Constant police harassment because of what we write is normal life for some of us, not a one-off incident, and we don’t expect medals for doing it. It comes with the territory when you live in a place like this.

From Alex Vella Gera’s Facebook page:

Għalfejn m’aċċettajtx il-Midalja għall-Qadi tar-Repubblika

13 December 2013 at 13:08

“Beware of Greeks bearing gifts”

Fost il-lista ta’ persuni li ngħataw onorifiċenza għal Jum ir-Repubblika ta’ din is-sena hemm sieħbi Mark Camilleri, li bħali kien qed jiffaċċja xi żmien il-ħabs ftit tas-snin ilu minħabba l-interpretazzjoni rigressiva tal-liġi taċ-ċensura f’pajjiżna. Bħalu, jiena wkoll ġejt nominat biex nieħu posti fil-lista ta’ unuri iżda ħassejt li ma nistax naċċetta, u għalhekk irrifjutajt in-nomina.

Hemm diversi raġunijiet għalfejn irrifjutajt iżda nixtieq insemmi biss waħda, li għalija hija l-iżjed importanti.

Ma nħoss li nista’ naċċetta onorifiċenza mill-klassi politika Maltija li barra xi eċċezzjoni ‘l hemm u ‘l hawn tant ilha tagħmel ħsara lil pajjiżi. U meta nħares lejn il-lista ta’ unuri u nara l-kuntradizzjonijiet ċari (politikanta Russa qrib ta’ Putin, li nafu sew x’kampanja qed imexxi kontra d-drittijiet tal-omosesswali fir-Russja, u fl-istess ħin it-transsesswali Joanne Cassar, biex insemmi kuntradizzjoni waħda), inħoss li għamilt l-għażla tajba li ma ninvolvix ruħi f’farsa bħal din, fejn wieħed li jaċċetta unur nazzjonali jispiċċa pedina fil-logħba politika meskina Maltija.

Għaldaqstant, f’isem is-sens komun, f’isem ġejjieni f’Malta fejn l-ispirtu indipendenti ġenwin tassew jinħeles mill-gaġġa tal-partiġġjaniżmu, u f’isem il-forzi kollha li jiġġieldu kontra s-superfiċjalità u l-medjokrità li jirrenjaw f’din ir-Repubblika tagħna, m’aċċettajtx l-onorifiċenza.Grazzi tal-attenzjoni,

Alex Vella Gera

26 Comments Comment

  1. The Nerd of Redhead laughiing at the North Face on Gieh ir-Republic Day says:

    Daphne, allow me: L. O. L.

    F*cking L.O.L !

  2. Libertas says:

    Muscat’s first honours list:
    ‘farsa’, ‘kontradizzjonijiet ċari’, ‘meskina’, ‘superfiċjalità’, ‘medjokrità’… couldn’t have been clearer and more damning.

  3. Tony says:

    “Mark Camilleri – 25, inarticulate in Maltese and completely unable to speak English”

    [Daphne – That’s rehearsed and read off a teleprompter. I have watched him being interviewed on television and he’s completely inarticulate. He can’t think clearly or quickly and his sentences are either unfinished, badly structured, or generally incoherent.]

  4. Joe Micallef says:

    I was expecting him to give a last minute award to his friend Kim Jong-un for the way he purged his uncle and mentor.

  5. Giovann DeMartino says:

    No medals for those hunters who shot a flamingo, some eagles and other protected birds? Even they, I suppose, would refuse these honours.

  6. A.Attard says:

    U ghadu ma tghallimx jinhasel, jaqtgha xaghru u jqaxxar il-lehja, tahseb li jista jkun articulate?

  7. Mark-Anthony Falzon says:

    I don’t like the way Vella Gera hides behind the generic cliche ‘il-klassi politika Maltija’. It transforms what could have been a powerful statement into a piece of self-centred (and safe) posturing. How does his work in Brussels fit in with ‘ilha taghmel hsara lil pajjizi’, for example? Sorry, I’m not convinced.

    • Jozef says:

      Call it Fondazzjoni Guze’ Ellul Mercer or Klabb Kotba Alfred Sant.

    • The Nerd of Redhead says:

      His line of thinking is warped.

    • Brussel Zibla tal-Mizbla says:

      He’s just a translator or an interpreter which is equivalent to the desk clerk in Malta: always doing the same depressing job. The only little plus is the end of the month but who said people don’t make a lot of money in Malta?

      Brussels is boring and depressing and so are the people there most especially some of the Maltese.

      I would rather invest in living life in ‘a happy’ place than in BORING Brussels and make money from an interesting career that rewards me with a big pay cheque at the end of the month.

  8. Betty says:

    Diehard Mintoffian dinosaur Mr Lorry Dimech was found to be too old to be able to be granted the Office of Ambassador to Australia and therefore the choice had to fall on the other MLP idiot man in Canberra.

    Dimech has today been given the consolation prize of National Order of Merit by the Castille Cretins and they have now bestowed him with the title of People of Australia Ambassador for today’s ceremony.

    Joseph Muscat’s bandwagon of egotistic people the likes of Dimech clearly don’t know the meaning of embarrasment.

    Ma x’misthija. PULCINELLI.

  9. Yanika says:

    Funny, but in this article he does say that he does not think that he deserves it (he is reported saying that actually, not quoted directly).

  10. Bubu says:

    “He was then prosecuted, by the police and not by the government (the point has to be made because the Labour Party encouraged the view that he was somehow prosecuted by Lawrence Gonzi) under our obscenity laws.”

    The Maltese electorate, by and large have never grasped the concept of separation of powers. This is probably the result of the mentality being shaped by colonialism for so long and cemented by the years of being an independent totalitarian dictatorship where there *was* no separation of powers.

    Labour have made good use of this mentality during the past five years, depicting Gonzi’s entirely appropriate refusal to intervene in the operation of the police and the judiciary as being evidence of corruption, when in actual fact it was the exact opposite.

    They are now hard at work dismantling the separation of powers that has been in place thanks to the PN in government, through the hard work of our august minister for internal affairs with the valiant help of his henchman (do you know who he is?).

  11. Nitpicker says:

    Next time round the honours would probably be available for the paltry sum of say 650,000 Euro with a capping of 50 members.

  12. Denis says:

    Was expecting one to JPO for his dog handling abilities.

  13. Antoine Vella says:

    Vella Gera is a snob, highly impressed by his self-importance. He thinks it is beneath him to accept an award from the “klassi politika” and would have refused it from Lawrence Gonzi himself.

    • Nerd says:

      A snob does not speak like him. A snob does not comport himself as he does.

      No, he is not a snob. He’s irritable.

      • Antoine Vella says:

        There are different kinds of snobs. Vella Gera sees himself as an intellectual giant, Malta’s gift to world literature.

        He also happens to be perfect so it’s only fair that he is disdainful of the imperfect “klassi politika”.

      • Redhead says:

        ‘Snob’ my great-aunt Fanny.

        His literary works don’t impress me, neither do the interviews with Albert Marshall, the write-ups in the newspapers or his life-story.

        How he sees himself is irrelevant. What matters is how people see you when you publish your work, and not how one sees himself.

  14. socrates says:

    Recommendations for next edition of Gieh ir-Repubblika:

    AZZOPARDI, Peppi
    Just for the Friday fun for his many programme viewers.

    BALZAN, Saviour
    For being so confused and intelligently illiterate as a reporter, a confused brain and a pseudo journalist.

    CARDONA, Chris
    For having done nothing of substance so far, and for being so helpful through his post lap-dancing tantrums.

    DEBONO, Franco
    He deliberately gave full freedom to his inferiority complex and frustration by seeking revenge against the PN and its former leader, Lawrence Gonzi. Above all he made us laugh through his unique verbal fits and mental misfits. He deserves this award for his ‘strange way of being’.

    FARRUGIA, Angelo
    For spending taxpayers’ money to attend (dare not use the verb ‘participate in’) some forlorn conference in no man’s island, and for designing the ever best U-TURN in the history of mankind.

    MALLIA, Manuel
    For his size, his odd statements to cover up his mistakes, his legendary ‘policemen-converted-chefs’, his unacceptable interference in many matters which were publicized without taking their revealers to court, for his inability to accept the fact that without him on Joseph’s band wagon our country would be much and much better.

    MUSCAT, Joseph
    He managed to take the entire nation (including and especially PL supporters) for a ride.

    MUSCAT, Michelle
    She has made it a point to behave like someone who is important when she’s not that important, by seeking to dress differently without succeeding to impress the public, and for helping the nation’s present and prospective parents to bring up their children in a way so differently from how she has done so far.

    For replacing Jerry Lewis in Malta through his pro-divorce campaign, his scaring off so many ladies within the timeframe of his matrimonial history so far, and for his general irrelevance to our blessed country.

    SCICLUNA, Edward (hekk imsejjah ‘il-Profs’)
    For bringing to our faces so many smiles when he thinks that he’s talking and for his recent unforgettable defence of the local government’s mess in selling Maltese passports while facing European music in Brussels (please, read his speech or listen to it…it clearly shows Edward’s lack of preparation for politics and that he is the most unbefitting politician of PL’s government).

    ZAMMIT, Peter Paul
    Just for being a puppet in PL’s hands.

    ZAMMIT LEWIS, Edward
    For being humble enough to keep himself unnoticed.

  15. Gahan says:

    Why isn’t Norman Vella in the list?

Leave a Comment