There’s no shame in begging if you are in desperate need. The shame must lie with people who need to be begged to stop allowing the conditions in which begging is necessary.
Jean Paul Sofia’s mother spent the day outside Parliament yesterday collecting signatures to persuade the prime minister to order an inquiry to find out if the state was at least in part responsible for the death of her son.
Investigations are not started willy-nilly. After all, resources are not infinite. But they must start when there is probable cause, when there are reasonable grounds to suspect something did not work as it should have and it should therefore be checked out.
Let’s just pause to admire the tenacity and sheer will of Isabelle Sofia Bonnici. Months ago, I looked at her and felt pity and that fear and involuntary relief that grips parents when other parents bury their dead children. Now I admire her and feel anxiety and doubt that if I were ever in a situation such as hers, where I had to choose between fighting and giving up, between confronting the hatred and pathological indifference of people who cannot possibly imagine what she’s going through and curling up in a corner to pity myself in private, I would likely choose to cry alone.
Let’s then understand that Isabelle Sofia Bonnici is not fighting a personal battle. Never mind that she’s not getting her son back. The fact is she’s fighting to prevent men and women she does not know from becoming orphans or widows or grieving parents. That’s just complete and absolute altruism. She’s begging in the streets of Valletta, but she’s begging on all our behalf, on behalf of everyone even, rather than herself who has already lost everything and has nothing more of her own to protect from the callousness of abusive construction and complicit bureaucracy.
We’re hearing of loud rumblings from inside the Labour Parliamentary group with some MPs, even ministers, asking anyone who would repeat the question to an absent Robert Abela, what sort of heartless cruelty would leave Isabelle Sofia Bonnici to beg outside rather than order an inquiry into her son’s death to give her answers to entirely reasonable albeit painful questions.
But no one should be surprised at Robert Abela’s attitude. He’s the man who as Joseph Muscat’s lawyer accused Daphne Caruana Galizia’s children of hating Malta more than loving their mother and this was what motivated them to ask for a public inquiry.
When the public inquiry happened, and it found the state responsible for their mother’s killing Robert Abela privately “apologised” to Daphne’s mourning family insulting them and the entire nation by proceeding to ignore every recommendation of that inquiry.
Robert Abela does not believe in state responsibility let alone being held to account. As Isabelle Sofia Bonnici begs him to allow the inquiry to happen, the shame is on him for looking away.