Traitors and artful dodgers

Traitors and artful dodgers

This is such a weird country. Within the same news cycle when the civil rights minister waxes melodramatic in parliament about a junior ombudsman stepping out of line, Tony Zarb warns international journalists to look away from Malta and brands anyone speaking to them – yours truly included – traitors.

And to top it all off the President of Malta complains to ambassadors accredited here that our picture postcard sunshine and soviet progress on the 5 year plan would have been unblemished had not that Daphne gone and have herself blown up.

But, the President assures the ambassadors, Daphne is not really Malta so please don’t get the wrong impression.

Thank you President Coleiro Preca. You can assure the ambassadors the real Malta is Tony Zarb. After all he is so exemplary of the standards that are expected of the Maltese, he is retained after his well-earned retirement as a senior adviser of the government. He is not criticised in Parliament by our civil rights minister because branding government critics traitors and warding off the international press is completely kosher.

The ambassadors can see that in this Malta occupants of institutions do not know their place.

Helena Dalli can’t be arsed to hold government officials (accountable to her or her colleagues) to account but will demand that officials of autonomous entities are disciplined. Obviously her real concern is the power play. It is ensuring that no public official ever dares to come in her way. It is an opportunity for the executive to continue to crush the Ombudsman.

Marie Louise Coleiro Preca sheds her tears. Not for Daphne, but for the dilution of the propaganda impact of the economic performance of the country. Now how is it the role of the President to publically discuss that? Can you imagine the Queen of England lamenting that the bombing of London buses made the government’s economic forecasts look bad?

It is all really echoes of Joseph Muscat mourning his own reputation on that interview with the BBC. He asked the world to pity him (he actually used the royal “us”) because after criticising him so harshly in her life Daphne made him look bad by dying. Naughty girl.

I find myself writing what I’ve already written before. The government’s complete misreading of the implications of Daphne’s killing, three months in, has not gone without comment. Yet nothing changed in their attitude. And the world looks on in disbelief.

Daphne did not die to spoil Joseph Muscat’s breakfast or to extract some pathos from Marylouise Coleiro Preca. Daphne died because she was killed. And she was killed because this is Malta and this is what happens here to journalists who ask hard questions.

Few want to come to terms with this reality out of some misguided sense of patriotism. But if we truly love this country we need to admit it is sick before we can start healing it.

Malta is a country where journalists that are critical of the government are killed. Face it. Stop looking away from this ugly truth. Stop having delusions that “it only happened once” so it’s not really typical. Just how many journalists need to die before you think our democracy has a problem? You know what? Our democracy has a problem because you’re still wondering if it does.

The world will continue to shove the simple ugly truth in our face. Especially if we continue to present to the world stage to speak on our behalf that smug, guilty smirk of our passport-selling, artlessly-question-dodging, corruption-covering, greedy, dictator-fondling slime-ball we call prime minister.

I’m not going to line up in front of the victim protection window any time soon.

But let me assure Tony Zarb that the world press has taken note of the fact he — a government senior official — called me and a handful of others a traitor because I dared speak my mind. The world press knows full well what happens to traitors under regimes like Malta’s where journalists are blown up for asking uncomfortable questions. And the world press won’t take their hands off this story just because Tony Zarb asked them to. They’ve seen worse buffoons than him. They’ve interviewed more artful dodgers than Joseph Muscat.

  • Beingpressed
  • Stephen Bonello

    This is exactly what I thought when I read about President Coleiro Preca’s delivery, so soon after hearing Joseph Muscat’s pathetic reply during the BBC interview. It really is all about them, isn’t it? The poor Prime Minister was made to suffer oh so much by Daphne’s assassination while Marie Louise Coleiro Preca’s opportunity to carry on with her positive “best-in-Europe” OPM-written speech was ruined by this car bombing. Damn! My heart bleeds.

  • donc

    Back to Lorries and smashing up our freedom but trying to fool us, by not using visible thugs .

    HOMES …………………………..

  • Shameelna

    “… that smug, guilty smirk of our passport-selling,
    artlessly-question-dodging, corruption-covering, greedy,
    dictator-fondling slime-ball we call prime minister.”


    • Natalie Mallett

      My thought exactly.

    • R Gatt

      Hard to beat that description of the dodger, we call prime minster. Prosit Manuel. It’ll be on Facebook within the hour.

    • Winston Psaila

      Brilliant indeed, especially if one reads the passion behind it.

  • Patricia Mifsud

    Even the very fact that we think the thought (regarding democracy and the rule of law) means that we don’t have them or they are threatened. Come on someone, please count the number of times the PN governments of Eddie Fenech Adami and Lawrence Gonzi were accused of threatening democracy and the rule of law.

    • Tom Beckett


  • Fed up


  • canon

    The foreign press should understand that the Maltese can’t handle alone this corrupt government. The government took complete control of the country”s institutions and is undermining them. We just had a rigged general election and no institution raised a finger.

  • pete ross

    Daphne’s assassination has ruined this government’s international reputation and both Joseph Muscat and President Coleiro Preca know it. More than this they both know that their government is now being considered as a pariah state within the democratic nations especially within the EU. The way the world reacted to what they had believed would be a locally bounded event has become their biggest strategic mistake of their incumbency even bigger than all the corruption cases put together.

    The world has noted and the President and the Prime Minister, ( that slime ball etc) are reacting to the world’s reaction with panic and a sense of foreboding knowing that Daphne’s assassination, contrary to what they had believed, will not go away. It is their stinking dead albatross stuck to their dirty necks.

    This government is in a fix now because apart from the world’s reaction, on many levels but especially the media and politicians, this has impacted heavily on our international reputation effecting foreign investment.

    I cannot see how honest investors would risk their hard earned millions in a place where journalists are blown up and former police investigators have to check underneath their cars and do their jobs wearing a holster and a gun to protect themselves from criminals in power.

    This situation only exists in Mafia dominated countries.

    • R Gatt

      Have you seen the Eu Commission report. Dodger, hide in shame.

    • Anthony Bartolo

      The situation is desperate,

  • Smith241

    Well done Manuel. A brilliant piece.

  • Natalie Mallett

    Daphne would have been so proud of you Emanuel Delia. This blog has so much of Daphne’s wit in it.

  • Tom Beckett

    Excellent piece Manuel… the situation is so desperate that it makes you feel like an alien that wants to just go away and get lost in outer space.

  • Joseph Muscat

    Thank God you’re back Manuel and in great form. I worry about you though. You are a very very brave man in light of what happened to Daphne, and I’m also afraid for you.

  • rmicallef

    Why oh why is Malta lumbered with so many windbags.
    There are too many Zarbs and Coleiro Precas mouthing off and the stupidities they utter show us for what we truly are, a sad disgraceful nation where the murder of a hugely intelligent investigative journalist is seen as a minor blip on our economic performance.

    Shame on the pitiful idiotic gits.

  • Lord Lucan

    Have no fear Manuel. These vermin are running for the shadows and it’s only a matter of time before they crack.

  • quickmick408

    I am of the opinion that Tony Zarb is mentally challenged, with a speech impediment from years of bellowing hot air, and his master should take pity on him and get him admitted to that third world entity, Mount Carmel which Marylouise Coleiro Preca studiously avoids on her tours to help the world and her fellow Maltese. I am also of the opinion that Helena Dalli contributes very little to the running of this country and is just another snout in the trough and should have the letters FLUB after her name. In fact whenever I see or read or hear anything they have an opinion on I usually have severe flatulence.

  • Mariatheresa Micallef

    Ahhh Manuel I just love the way you say it! May Malta’s adjective mongering ‘traitors’ like your kind self and other traitors in general, like the rest of us, become louder and larger in their numbers.

  • Damian Doving

    Our democracy has a problem because you’re still wondering if it does. So right.

  • Zeppi

    The logical and only sensible reply to Mr. Zarb would be “F**k off Tony”

  • Sai Kick

    A great piece.Well done.Shows you as the worthy banner bearer after Daphne was brought down.Keep up the good work.