“Hysterical”: the word all Maltese male chauvinists use for the women who challenge them

Published: August 12, 2017 at 1:43pm

Adrian Delia woke up this morning to write a defence of his actions in which he describes me as “hysterical”. Maltese men always describe angry women who they know are justified in being annoyed as “hysterical”. There will be hundreds, if not thousands, of Maltese women out there reading this who will be nodding silently because they know exactly what I mean.

The coded messages I have been picking up all along from Adrian Delia’s public pronouncements, his communication style, his choices and his bandying about of his five children as symbols of his virility and potency, are that he is socially and politically conservative, and not in a good way, but in a bad way. He is probably to the far end of the Right, which is why he refuses to be drawn on what he thinks about key issues.

Yesterday, I got a good dose of the way in which he thinks that women, even if they are highly trained in a professional career, should stop working completely when they have children and give their husband a full and general power of attorney so that he can take all the decisions just like in the good old days, regardless of what the law says.

He also thinks that when you have a woman at the other end of the line, you can talk to her in a tone that you would never use with another man or with a lawyer, but a tone that you might use with an uneducated client who’s just popped in to Valletta from some village to ask: “Irċevejt din il-karta, dott. X’inhi?”

He seemed to think that he could palm off on me the duplicitous explanations that he’s since been giving to others: that owning 9% of the shares means he is only liable for 9% of the debt (absolutely untrue); that he is not personally liable because it is a business loan (ditto); that the Mgarr flats still left to be sold are worth more than the €7.2 million and interest accumulating at 8% that they still owe the bank (but he refused to tell me how many flats are still unsold and pretended he doesn’t know).

Also, he assumed I didn’t notice that a big chunk of the asset value is tied up in the land on which the flats are built – land that has become technically worthless to the bank (and anyone else) now that flats built on it have been sold to third parties. Nobody is going to buy it under judicial auction, if they default, just to collect the ground-rent – not unless it goes for a fraction of its paper-value.

The biggest mistake Dr Delia made in our telephone conversation was to take me for a fool or for somebody who is impressed by the way a certain type of Maltese lawyer speaks in a circular way.

That instantly told me he is not as bright as he is made out to be. If he hadn’t worked out that he had better start off from a point of assumption that I know what a constitution of debt is, how limited liability works, what company shares are, and how limited liability does not safeguard you when the banks have made you personally liable for the loans, then I can’t imagine why people say he’s intelligent.

I always know when a man – or a woman, for that matter, but in political journalism I’ve mainly dealt with men over the last three decades – is intelligent because he never tries to outwit me or use circular arguments. He will either answer candidly and hope for the best (it usually works), or say in a completely non-hostile way that he would rather not tell me but he will keep the conversation going anyway. Here’s the thing: intelligent people recognise each other instantly. Intelligent people also instantly recognise those who aren’t.

The second biggest mistake Dr Delia made was to be condescending. When a man speaks to a woman in a condescending tone, especially when the woman is Maltese and of my generation and has had a lifetime of having to contend with this kind of dreadful behaviour, it is one of the worst things he can do. Perhaps Dr Delia is not aware of this (because he isn’t particularly bright), but when a woman deals with a man at any level, she knows that his attitude towards her codifies his attitude towards women in general.

The worst of it was the studied deceit. The constitution of debt which I published yesterday was not one which Dr Delia planned on making public – not only because his fellow shareholders would obviously have objected, but mainly because he doesn’t want anyone to know.

Because it features no new hypothecs but only refers back to the original ones made in 2006, it will not come up in a notarial search of the registry. So nobody would ever have found it. I was just lucky because I heard something on the grapevine, worked out who the notary could be (it was either X, Y, or Z), discovered that notaries can’t refuse to give you copies of public deeds when you request them, and rang for one.

When Dr Delia said to me in a condescending and patronising “iva jaħasra” tone of voice that he intends to make his assets and liabilities public after he is elected Opposition leader, he said it as though it is entirely normal and reasonable and I am being totally absurd for pointing out to him that it should be done before the election so that councillors and party members can take an informed decision.

“You’re expecting the party members and councillors to trust you blindly like you said your wife does with her power of attorney,” I said to him. “You’re basically asking the party members and councillors to give you their five-year power of attorney so that you can do what you like without feeling the need to explain yourself. And in five years’ time, you want the entire electorate to give you a full power of attorney to run the country as you please, but you know best and you will decide what the people need to know. You have a really bad attitude.”

I’m oblivious to being described as “hysterical” by old-fashioned, straight-from-the-backwoods, patronising and condescending middle-aged Maltese men, Dr Delia. Do you have any idea how many Maltese men exactly like you I have had to deal with over the last 30 years? Back then they were practically all like that. Now, you’re a bit of a fossil from another era. But you’re doing nothing new there. It’s the only line of defence your sort of Maltese chauvinist uses in a panic when he’s up against a woman who he fears might be sharper than he is, and who has ‘shamed him in public’ (because that’s the way your type sees it).

Hysterical, eh? I’d love to know what word you use when you’re outsmarted by a man – because given your unimpressive level of intelligence, it must happen a lot.

This man wants our full and general power of attorney so that he can take major decisions which concern us without our consent and without feeling the need to tell us about them. We have a prime minister like that already. I see no need to change.

23 Comments Comment

  1. A Mallia says:

    Daphne … pretty sure that a constitution of debt does come up in searches if the notary registers it.

  2. Flintstone says:

    Holy crap! With that kind of debt they will need to fleece potential buyers alive. With his bid to become PN leader, Delia is also indirectly harming his business partners.

    No one in his right mind will buy those apartments now.

  3. Please don’t bore me with your obsessions.

  4. T.A.X. says:

    Get out, man. Not fit for purpose. Be careful how you vote, councillors and members.

  5. Thoughtful says:

    It is clear that Delia’s refusal to declare his assets and liabilities prior to the vote was nothing less than an attempt to hide the negative situation with this project and his compromised position.

    This on its own is enough reason for him not to be trusted. There appear to be a number of other reasons for him not to be given anyone’s vote. His clear lack of interest in politics and his not having taken positions on matters of gravity occurring nationally is another. His alleged close business links with key people in the Labour Party is yet another. Shall we go on?

    The saddest thing is that the choices are limited.

  6. Nibqgħu nafuhulek għomorna kollu li ma vvotajtx kontra Austin Gatt, Franco Debono.

    Fuck off, why don’t you.

  7. Il-blog tiegħek x’sar minnu, Dottor Riformi? L-eluf li jappoġġjawk x’sar minnhom, Dottor Riformi?

    Għaliex qed tinqeda b’dan il-blog biex tisfida lil xi ħadd għal dibattitu? Żgur li biżżejjed li tisfidah minn fuq il-blog tiegħek, le? Minn hemm żgur li tkun taf id-dinja kollha li Dottor Riformi qed jisfida lil Dottor Riformi II għal dibattitu fil-pubbliku. Le?

  8. Angela Galea says:

    F’Malta kulħadd ifajjar il-kelma ‘arroganza’ bl-amment. Kultant, ċertu sarkażmu jew ġbid tas-saqajn, li mhux l-istess bħall-arroganza, jiġi skorrettament imsejjaħ arroganza. Mhux biex niddefendih, biss fl-opinjoni tiegħi nara lil Dr Sapiano iżjed sarkastiku (tip kif jużawh l-Ingliżi) milli arroganti.

    It-tieni, ma naqbel miegħek xejn li l-Arriva kienet fjask. L-Arriva, li qiegħda mal-Ewropa kollha, kienet miexja fuq ir-rubini, ħdejn il-kaos ta’ servizz (jekk tista’ ssejjaħlu hekk) li hawn llum. U meta qed inħallsu mal-20 miljun iżjed mit-taxxi tagħna. U ejja nimxu bl-irġulija u l-abjad insejħulu abjad u l-iswed iswed. Ma ninsewx ukoll kemm kienet imfixxkla (sabotaged) mill-klikka korrotta u kriminali li hemm illum f’Kastilja, ewlieni fosthom, Keith Schembri megħjun minn sieħbu Adrian Hillman. Orkestrazzjoni sħiħa ta’ min jitfa’ l-iżed bsaten fir-roti, mhux hekk Dr Debono?

  9. Thought as much – you can always suss them out from their attitude to women. A man’s attitude to women tells you EVERYTHING about his attitude to homosexuals, Muslims, people of other races and ethnicities, and ‘foreign stuff’.

    And if he were not far right, he would not think it entirely normal to be making all the decisions on behalf of his wife, while she reduces herself to housewife level.

  10. F. Fenech says:

    Sorry but you did not understand what I meant.

  11. Francis X Darmanin says:

    Bhala persuna li kont – u ghadni – regolarment nuza it-trasport pubbliku bil-fors ikolli naqbel mieghek dwar it-tahwida li hawwad Sapiano, bniedem li ghandi dubju qatt rifissx lis-staffa ta’ karozza tal-linja. Jiena mghallem fejn ma nifhimx ma nersaqx. Sapiano pruzuntus – imma insomma il-flus b’sahhithom ukoll.

  12. I know him personally, so whatever we say to each other is said directly to each other.

    You, on the other hand, don’t have a name or face.

  13. Joe Fenech says:

    Certain men would place a burka or a hijab over women’s faces if it weren’t for the fact that they are racist against Muslims and would want to dissociate from them.

  14. Joe Fenech says:

    Ghaliex? Mela sirt xi alla? Jew forsi issa m’ghadekx favur il-free speech? Kemm ghajjatt li “hadd m’hu ha jsikktek”! Issa qed tipprova tbezza lin-nies li tharrikhom? Jigifieri jekk tghid “fuck off lil xi hadd tista’ tigi mharrek”? Veru? Jew dan paroli fil-vojt? Jew dan huwa l-kaz veru l-ligijiet ta’ Malta huma tad-dahk.

  15. Arlette Vassallo says:

    This is a slight departure from the above article. However, I generally find derogatory comments aimed at people’s innate intelligence or beauty to be completely counterproductive and exceedingly cringe-worthy, as are the allusions to one’s own intelligence.

    Whilst I completely and wholeheartedly agree that condescension, sexism and uncouthness are vile behaviours, they are not synonymous with a lack of inherent capability. Very many people lack the necessary prowess to critically evaluate information and apply it towards problem solving. This alone does not a vile person make. It is called an average IQ precisely because roughly half of the representative population falls below it, assuming a normal distribution.

    I love your blog, almost as much as I love Harry Potter – and I am a diehard fan. I abhor ad hominem attacks as much as I hate JK Rowling’s depiction of everyone with shoddy morals as being physically unattractive or toad-like. Rant over.

    PS In this sexism vein, a wise woman once said (paraphrasing slightly I’m sure) “You can always tell who the ambitious women are from the shape of their head. It is flat at the top from the patronising pats of men.”

  16. Sowxal says:

    A poor attempt at laundering your sordid actions, Franco. As for nies li jdardru kull m’hemm you are there at the top with the worst of them. Give us a break and respect our intelligence, trid? If you want your bullshit to gain traction, go and write it on Facebook or Malta Today.

  17. Joe Fenech says:

    “jekk issibni burdata hazina”

    Jigifieri int, il-Gran Kummissarju tal-Ligi tar-Repubblika ta’ Malta, ‘bil-burdati’ tiffunzjana? Kieku mhux irtirat u kelli bzonn xi konsulenza legali kont inqabbdek ghax veru tidher li int stabbli u toffri kwalita eccellenti bla waqfien.

  18. Antoine Portelli says:

    Let’s assume you are right, Melissa – so who is in your opinion?

  19. You know ad I do that love means putting your foot down – and not just with your children.

  20. “Gone are the days when a husband dictated to his wife because he is the sole breadwinner.”

    You couldn’t be more wrong.

  21. By which time it is generally too late.

Leave a Comment