Let’s see what Konrad Mizzi is saying here, shall we?
“You escaped from your country. We saved you from drowning. We sheltered you in our home. We clothed you. We fed you. But now learn to respect us. Us, our country, our culture, our religion and our people.”
He’s addressing whoever has been causing trouble in the concentration camps in Marsa, set up to lock people up indefinitely in spite of a promise to them that they would be relocated elsewhere and given the opportunity to live a decent life.
“You escaped from your country”. On its own that sentence could be ambivalent. In Konrad Mizzi’s list of magnanimous graces “we” have “given you”, the escape from their country is something they should not have done but we’re kind enough to tolerate.
That shows Konrad Mizzi does not have the first idea why inmates in our racial concentration camps “escaped from your country”. It wasn’t because they did something wrong. It was because they couldn’t find a way of earning a living for themselves and to feed their parents and their children.
“We saved you from drowning”. “Now” we expect something in return. Because saving people from drowning is not a moral imperative. It’s a bit like insisting children in the street somehow repay us for not running them over with our cars while using them as target practice in a sport from a post-apocalyptic dystopia.
Saving people from drowning is not going out of one’s way. It’s just what we must do, not because some law says so but because it’s what humans moderately deserving of that name, do. And on average most humans do it better than we do. The people in our Marsa concentration camps were left to bob in the water for weeks before we deigned to let them sail in our harbour and then proceeded to put them in a filthy case. We did not save them from drowning as much as got bored waiting in the hope they drown before we had to let them in.
“We sheltered you in our home”. Where precisely does Konrad Mizzi have in mind? Are they staying in his Sliema waterfront apartment? Have any of them got anywhere near anywhere he lives? Was he inconvenienced by any migrant arriving from the sea? Did he have to stand on a bus where too many seats had black bums on them? Did his local run out of anisette too soon because the local Ghanaians took a liking to the drink? Have Konrad Mizzi’s children been bumped off public school because there weren’t enough desks for them?
No one in Malta – least of all Konrad Mizzi – would go as far as calling the hell-hole of the Marsa concentration camps ‘home’. You might call it hell-hole, stable, farm. If you’re not dramatically inclined, you’d maybe call it by its proper name: prison. But unlike an ordinary prison there is no sentence to serve, there is no date for freedom to count down to, no lawyer to speak with in hope of an appeal. There is no routine, no schooling, no chapel, no work, no exercise, no reprieve from the misery.
And there is no one to ask questions to. When will be allowed to leave? Week after week there is no answer but ‘soon’.
It is in the nature of being human to refuse subjugation. The more unceasing, unforgiving, unjust the subjugation is, the harder the refusal. When no one listens, you must shout louder. Or you’re already dead.
These are people who refused to die in their poor countries. They refused to die in slavery in Libya. They refused to die in the desert. They refused to dry drowning. They will refuse to die in Konrad Mizzi’s ‘home’.
“We clothed you.” Are many of them wearing hand me downs from the Mizzis now? “We fed you.” Has Konrad Mizzi considered sharing the swill du jour at the Grand Marsa lately?
And now Konrad Mizzi pivots from his graces, the gifts he has imparted on “them” – the unmentionable blacks without a name – tolerating their escape, saving them from drowning, and providing a sheltering sky complete with room, board and some fashion apparel, and focuses on payment.
Because you know, when you’re Konrad Mizzi, you expect to do nothing for free. Konrad Mizzi wants respect. He doesn’t get much of that these days.
Sure, he still gets Żeża ta’ Ħal Tarxien to shout his name – wrongly – “Aw Korratt, ħi!” – from across the street and pinch his rosy cheeks to the point of exquisite tenderness because of the perverse pleasure she takes in seeing a man in his 50s react to her attentions approximately like a hapless gustuż liebes tal-preċett.
But Żeża was always merely an occupational hazard for Konrad Mizzi. He understood she was a price to pay to go along with the attention he really appreciated. The wealthy businessmen who flutter their eye lashes and hang on to his every word like expensive Moldovans in a Paceville joint smelling of sickly-sweet perfume and paid by the spiked drinks they get you to pay while you flatter yourself with the notion that they’re interested in you.
Konrad Mizzi’s invitations to parties, dinners, boat trips and shindigs have run dry. No one seems to be interested in him anymore. No one is offering to line his pockets anymore. All the respect he still enjoys comes from Żeża. Yorgen Fenech is now in jail and he’s not sending hampers any time soon. But the others are not in prison. He’s wondering why they don’t return his frantic messages any more.
Even speaking to the faceless, nameless suwed that Żeża ta’ Ħal Tarxien despises though she’ll not be arsed to think quite why, he finds his plea for “respect” for himself hollow. So, then he proceeds to insist on respect “for our country, our culture, our religion, our people”.
It is remarkable that Konrad Mizzi has discovered at such a late stage of his life such profound attachment to “our country, our culture and our religion”. Pray, Konrad Mizzi, what are these? As a traitor to this country I know nothing about these things. I would dearly love to know.
How has Konrad Mizzi shown respect to his country, culture, religion and people? Robbing it dry, closing deals with Azerbaijan so his “people” pay higher fuel and energy rates. Line his pockets hidden in off shore accounts to avoid even the nuisance and having to pay any taxes to support those of his “people” who need government support.
Even shelving the Electrogas nightmare for a moment, try to remember him justifying his Panama imbroglio with his excuse that he was setting up trusts that he would “populate with his assets”. That phrase, which still sounds like a special one-off category from the “Bankers’ Favourite Porn Stars Awards” at the Frankfurt red light district, betrayed a callous indifference to “our country and our people”.
He didn’t want to pay any taxes in Malta on the back of all those assets he was populating his off-shore companies with. At first, we thought it was because of his insatiable greed. But now we know he wanted to make sure no escapee from West Africa would benefit from any of Konrad Mizzi’s money as he’s being saved from drowning, clothed, fed and welcomed “in our home”.
With Konrad Mizzi’s tax dodging he’s the last one to claim he actually fed, clothed or housed anyone at all. Except himself.
Which brings me to “our religion”. I am disqualified from criticising anyone for their faith. I have none. But I happily go as far as saying that I am glad I have not seen the light of a religion that allows Konrad Mizzi to accept bribes, stash them in a foreign jurisdiction, lie through his pink nose and rosy cheeks for years on end – including to the oblivious Żeża ta’ Ħal Tarxien – and to then bash the most vulnerable in our community and hang them to the onslaught of your average xenophobic, racist, fascist, black-baiting, bigoted, barely-literate redneck who still thinks Konrad Mizzi is the dog’s bollocks.
Konrad Mizzi cannot teach respect to anyone. He doesn’t have any for himself left. All he has is the burst capillaries that barely survive the iron grip of Żeża’s 2-inch red and gold razor sharp nails which she stuck on at her local salon where they play re-runs of the best of Manwel Cuschieri just for kicks.
They don’t play Super 1 in the concentration camps.