While the worldwide press watches, reports and comments in shock at the political and institutional collapse in Malta; while people march in the streets demanding for deep changes in the political and institutional realities of Malta; while a journalist is blown up in a car bomb the like of which Malta has never seen, the government of Malta has adopted the callous look of protocol and business as usual.
The Prime Minister stood in Parliament today and spoke on cabbages and kings ahead of the vote to approve his office’s budget for next year. The Office of the Prime Minister, responsible for Cabinet, responsible for the decision-making and the leadership of the entire administration, responsible for the appointments of heads of other institutions, sought approval of its expense account today. And, at least in theory, the head of the office — the Prime Minister — stood in front of Parliament to give account of his work.
Studiously and callously, consciously and intentionally, heartlessly and cruelly, he refused to even acknowledge the call for democratic changes in this country. He spoke about other things as if any of the other things can have any value and any relevance while Malta burns.
The business as usual attitude in the Prime Minister is an act of contempt. To Parliamentarians to whom he is accountable because he does not run Parliament. Constitutionally Parliament runs him and he’s answerable to them. It is contempt to the people of Malta who have, in their sound majority, entrusted him to lead them in the good times and the bad times. And he betrays them by pretending the bad times don’t exist.
It is contempt to the world that turns to him to explain the inexplicable that is happening in Malta: quite how journalists get killed in the paradise we project to the world.
Contrast Joseph Muscat’s day in Parliament today with the day of Peter Caruana Galizia and his sons in court. They went in place of wife and mother Daphne as respondents in the libel suit Chris Cardona filed against her. For the Caruana Galizias today was still business as usual.
At a time when they are perfectly entitled to give the two fingers to Maltese society and take care of themselves and each other, they go to court to continue to defend in the public interest the uncovering of the dirty secrets of our politicians.
Compare Joseph Muscat’s behaviour in Parliament today — expecting the extension of his grasp on power by ignoring the reality that surrounds him and us — and the behaviour of the Caruana Galizias who go to court asking for nothing, expecting no reward except the fulfilment of what they consider their duty to serve their country.