The prime minister announced that the government will be taking back the Żonqor area and the Senglea open space that had been allocated to the phantom so-called American University of Malta. He announced it the way he meant it to sound, like a gift by the government to its core constituency, entitling him to their support in the coming election.

It is a testament to the banal complicity of the so-called journalist supposedly interviewing him on national tv, that the prime minister was not asked how he’s doing that.

The need of the question should be self-evident. Although Robert Abela was using anti-colonial rhetoric like Mintoff liberating St Andrews and Tigné from the clutches of colonial rule, Żonqor Point and the open space that people of Isla use to park their cars were not captured by some invader. The invaders, useless parasitical occupiers of public land who have so far managed to do fuck all with it, were invited over by the same government and gifted the land now being recaptured “for the people”.

The government is behaving like the idiot who sold for a pittance to the local antiques shop a dirty painting they had in the attic assuming it was worthless. Until they saw the painting in the antiques shop selling for millions because it turned out to be a very valuable thing indeed. In order to sooth frustration with themselves they proceed to buy back the painting for its new price and pretend to the world they never gave it away in the first place.

The point is the government has yet to explain the terms on which the owners of the AUM are returning Żonqor and the Senglea site. Is the government buying it back from them? At what price?

Robert Abela said yesterday the AUM’s expansion (they still seem to hope this will happen) will happen at Smart City. But again, Smart City does not belong to the government, not 91% of its value anyway. So, if Smart City land is being used to swap with Żonqor and Senglea, the government is compensating the people the government gave the land to build Smart City. Either way we’re buying what used to belong to us in the first place.

That’s one problem.

The other problem is the way the government declares that the return of Żonqor to public use is ‘good news’ when it rejected any suggestion that the way Żonqor was taken away from the public was ‘bad news’ in the first place.

They’re not just gaslighting us. They expect us to thank them.