They wanted to impress us, and instead, we laughed

Published: December 26, 2016 at 8:56pm

The two Libyan men in their 20s made no demands. They let all the passengers and crew leave the plane unharmed. They were carrying fake weapons – which we didn’t get to see. And they were considered so non-threatening that the pilot and co-pilot were hyper-relaxed about it. And most telling of all, Chris Fearne, the publicity-addicted health minister, didn’t even bother to put the state general hospital stand-by alert, let alone tweet about it – as he did when a small plane containing around eight people was incinerated shortly after take-off, and there was never going to be anybody left alive for the hospital to deal with.

But yesterday, when everybody was celebrating Christmas, the two ‘hijackers’ were escorted to the Courts of Justice by Malta’s anti-terrorism squad in full gear and armed to the teeth: 12 officers in black, carrying assault weapons, six per ‘hijacker’. They looked ridiculous, and everybody who saw the photographs and video footage said so. The government wanted us to be impressed, and instead, we laughed.

Those two men needed no more than the usual police escort and a car straight in the back of the Courts through the Strait Street garage, as usually happens even with the worst sorts of actual murderers.

But yesterday they wanted to put on a big show, in a last-ditch effort at demonstrating in a visual manner just how dangerous these ‘terrorists’ are and, by default, how very impressive Strongman Joseph was in dispatching their non-demands so quickly.

Meanwhile, Mrs Muscat was making gingerbread men (yes, again – gingerbread men have featured fairly regularly in her PR repertoire) while being filmed at this charming pastime by the Xarabank crew. Joseph, she told her interviewer, was at the gym, the reason why he has lost so much weight.

  • L-argument

    One thing was missing: David Essex singing Oh What A Circus.

  • Edgar Gatt

    So if these two men were so dangerous why did they get them in and out of the main entrance? Very impressive comedy, dahhaqtna Dott. Muscat.

  • callixtus

    I thought that photo was a spoof.

  • Peritocracy

    This reminds me of the Triccas song that went:

    “Puluzija bil-lembubi, kollha jaqbzu fuq xulxin…”

    They look like Santa brought them some new toys they wanted to show off.

  • Gejtu Bongailas

    Instant Brigadier Curmi was the negotiator for this fake hijack. He is a very well known negotiator in the Maltese army. When the Nationalists were in government, and against army regulations, he negotiated very well with his Labour Party counterparts behind his superior’s back, and then in 2013 he was compensated with four promotions in a couple of weeks.

  • M Farrugia

    Kieku barra minn fuq dan il-pajjiz kellu jitwettaq attakk terroristiku, niggarantilek li tghidx kemm jigru, jitwerwru. Gimmicks u xenati biss, Carmelo Abela jonqos hdejhom.

  • Mela Darba….

    An intriguing issue that nobody seems to have mentioned regards who will be the actual witnesses for the prosecution (for eventual cross-examination be the defence) during the trial in our courts.

    In normal “real” circumstances one would expect that the captain, as a very bare minimum, should have been withheld from leaving the island until clearance by our courts. This is what usually happens in normal circumstances.

  • Macduff

    The hospital was indeed put on high alert, Daphne.

  • U Le!

    ‘Peppi Maltese’ the epic sequel to Rowan Atkinson’s Johnny English is to hit he big screens next summer.

  • Major Tom

    This must be “Hot Shots” (Part Trois) in the making. When is it going to be released?

  • Benny Hill

    What a farce.

  • Anthony T Mamo

    The cherry on the cake. The hijackers were wearing bullet proof vests going to court.

  • Evarist Saliba

    This excessive show of strength, considering that no evidence has emerged that some terrorist group is involved, only adds to the strangeness of the event.

  • Mark C GATT

    They tried to conduct a super PR exercise, but it backfired right up their sorry arse.

  • Ghoxrin Punt

    I’m so glad I am not the only one who thought that yesterday’s show was a farce. what were they expecting? Some Die Hard type assault and rescue?

  • Luke B

    Please check your facts, Friends of mine who work at MDH were in fact alert and were preparing for such eventualty of emergency. and on showing the big guns I agree, these prankster scum didn’t deserve such high security. as u said the usual treatment of polics car drive trough straight street would be enough.

    • Superman

      Minister Fearne tweeted nothing about this. I’m sure he would have posted.. biex jiftahar zgur.

  • callixtus

    In spite of all the trips to the gym, Joey Schwarzenegger’s physique has remained stubbornly unimpressive. Had this not been the case, I suspect the hijack script might have included the storming of the Libyan aeroplane by Commando Joe in person.

  • callixtus

    But that entrance does not lend itself to impressive shots.

  • EarthwormDave

    Farce news.

  • Bernard Manduca

    Nail on the head, Daphne. Exactly my thoughts at the time.

  • Anthony Borg

    He has impressed the Silvio Parnis supporters and as a result the goats are gathering again due to the splendid Panto of the year.

  • Ruth Bonnici

    At least we ve got the gear ! Un believe it as Vera Tastee says .

  • Cyrill Sammut (Sliema)

    Mrs. Muscat may have some dark and twisted sense of humour because we all know who the gingerbread man personifies, and what happens to the gingerbread man in the end.