Mickey Malta

Notes from the zone where 'normal' things don't happen very often

Posts Tagged ‘Protest

Idiots turn ordinary people into stars

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An ordinary person who achieved a cult status thanks to an idiot

Does the name Muntadar al-Zaidi ring a bell to you? Probably not. However, I’m sure that you are well aware of his stunt. He’s the guy who threw his shoes at George W Bush in Iraq.

Now we have our local version of al-Zaidi. The only problem is that he or she is anonymous. Someone created a Facebook fan page called The guy that spray painted Pedobear onto the Pope billboards, and as I write, this person has already garnered 559 fans.

This person is our own Muntadar al-Zaidi. It’s a pity that s/he did not sign his graffiti like Banksy does. He or she used the Banksy’s stencil technique, but should have been more proud of one’s work by signing it.

Written by mickeymalta

11/04/2010 at 21:27

Dangerous liaisons

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Now we know how the failed coup was born

A friend of mine suggested to watch last Monday’s edition of Bondiplus because he found Tony Zarb’s antics quite entertaining. I didn’t.

Beyond his childish misdemeanour, I was shocked to find out that the GWU in tandem with the anonymous Movement For All And Sundry in Opposition were banking on some disgruntled PN backbencher(s) to vote in favour of Joe Muscat’s motion on the electricity tariffs. Tony Zarb actually claimed that he had just assisted for a “betrayal of the people” while, a few minutes earlier, Hon Charles Mangion claimed that his Movement/Party was not surprised at the vote.  I don’t believe him. They may have not been surprise last Monday, but the main reason behind Muscat’s motion was to get a PN backbencher take revenge on Gonzi.

Anyone who thinks that Muscat’s motion was intended to stir a debate in Parliament that would have been translated into lower charges for us must believe that the pretty girl next door is the tooth fairy. Muscat was hoping for a 1996 re-run. They planned to raise their supporters’ morale and get them all emotionally charged up for election on the day before the vote by organising a ‘national protest’.

This is no conspiracy theory. If one considers the following points, he or she will start to see a very dark and scary picture forming in front of him or her:

  • a number of PN back benchers are (or were) angry at their Party leadership
  • Franco Debono already pulled a stunt and others supported his behaviour (overtly and covertly)
  • MP Jean Pierre Farrugia already hinted that he may vote against the Government – although on a different issue
  • the people who attended the protest were given the impression that there’s a national front against the Government
  • this mirrors the united front of all the constituted bodies bar one (accidentally, it was the GWU, remember?) who openly supported the Government’s call for a YES vote in the EU referendum
  • the day after, the Opposition’s motion is approved by Parliament after one or more PN MPs vote against the party he or she represents
  • there is no option for the Prime Minister but to take some action
  • the Movement’s supporters are all hyped up and they’re calling for an early election
  • polls show that the PN popularity is at an all time low
  • the GWU called its supporters to accompany its officials on Monday – the day Parliament will be taking a vote – all the way to Parliament

However, things did not go according to plan and this grand scheme crumbled. Zarb’s language on TV – both non-verbal and verbal – gave me the impression that he was utterly and bitterly disappointed at the vote. He also went as far as hinting that one or more Nationalist MPs was going to endorse Muscat’s motion.

The day before, he used harsh language during his protest address a priori on those who would eventually vote against the motion. Did he actually think that PN MPs would be peeing in their pants because he called them traitors? Let’s face it, judging by his track record, whenever Tony Zarb berates someone it should actually be taken as a compliment. Common sense tells you that you should be very concerned if someone who consistently gets it wrong, and who furthermore is a blatant mindless puppet on a string, praises you. His compliment should ring alarm bells as you would have – almost certainly – screwed up big time. I will gladly pay for a cruise around Alaska (for 2 people on full board) to award the first person who and manages to find one single measly achievement in Tony Zarb’s record. Zarb’s contribution to the country is way worse than zilch.

The very principle of organising a protest in the current economic climate shows how irresponsible both the GWU (and the anonymous Movement that pulls its strings) are. While I agree that the Government could have and should have handled the energy issue better, this is not the right time for public shenanigans.

Additionally, the anonymous Movement is supposed to be in the middle of a “political earthquake” that marked un bel zero on the Richter Magnitude Scale. They’re obviously not ready to govern – especially at this point in time. This so-called Movement is supposed to be discussing and formulating it new policies. If they were true professionals, a general election at this point will actually be bad news for them.

It was very clear on Monday evening that the plan was to get a MP from the PN’s side to approve the motion thus giving the Prime Minister no option but to resign or go to the polls. I reiterate that this is sheer irresponsibility. On second thoughts, I’ll go one step further. This is sheer madness.

Muscat is trying hard to convince us that he’s business friendly, he’s moderate and progressive at the same time, that he has the business interest at heart. In so doing, he hopes to gain respect of the middle class. This move exposes him and his posse of mustaccuni for what they really are: a bunch of disillusioned power mongers with a massive chip on their shoulder who want to ride on people’s back to reach the forbidden fruit. You know what? This kind of behaviour makes the forbidden fruit even more inaccessible. They’re nowhere near grasping the meaning of Aesop’s story where a greedy couple kills the goose that lays golden eggs.

These are the same people who have been consistently on the wrong side of history for the past thirty years. That includes Muscat rallying for Mintoff while holding his granny’s skirt. If they wanted to turn their anonymous Movement into a true government-in-waiting in order to convince those who never trusted them to make an exception, they should have taken a different approach.

It would have been much wiser from their end to come up with concrete proposals on economic recovery, present them to the public and us decide on who has the better ideas. We have a brain, you know. We can actually think – unlike the mob who clinches any possible occasion to hurl insults at “the enemy”. From a neutral standpoint, I understand them. They have to vent their frustrations – especially after last election where they were fed false hopes.

The Opposition could have scored big brownie points by using its clout and contacts to attract more business on the basis of our political stability and good labour force. This would have created wealth and we would have admired them for doing so.

We would have even been motivated to give them the opportunity to create further wealth in three years’ time by lending them our support – and I use the word lending purposely as we lend our support to politicians. Instead, they chose to do what they know best: shoot themselves in the foot and then proceed to hang themselves.

Worse still, these are the very same people who claim to have the workers’ interest at heart. BULLSHIT. The only thing they have at heart is that forbidden office at the far-away land of Castille.

Gonzi and his Government are no shining stars but like thousands of other people, I prefer to have arrogant gits for Ministers than spiteful assholes who don’t give a hoot about the consequences of their actions as long as they satisfy their glut – at my (and your) expense.

Written by mickeymalta

04/03/2010 at 17:16

The value of foresight

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The car has nothing to do with the mob, but the caption is extremely apt for Bencini & Co

On the 17 April 2009, I posted an article on this blog called Parrots on a string where I explained how in my opinion, our self-claimed high standard of education is nothing but a myth.

When I wrote that piece, I only focused on academic grounds. I will now take it one step further to include civic education. The good news is that there are no self delusions here. It seems to me that it is generally accepted by the Rockers that the vast majority of them lack a basic sense of civic education. The bad news is that while many people seem to be aware of this, very few – if any – seem to be willing to do something about it. I think that many people have accepted the fact that there’s a huge lack of civic education, and that this is now our way of life: take it or leave it.

I’m truly baffled by the way these same people don’t realise that in order for a person to be considered “educated” he or she needs to have – at least- a basic awareness of civic education. One only has to spend 15 minutes in a crowded place to understand how deep the abysmal level of roughness and redneck attitude is.

To many, courtesy is nothing but a corrupted version of the surname a 1950s American actor named Tony. Manners and etiquette seem to be two abstract concepts that very few learned people are able to decipher. They’re possibly at par with Einstein’s Theory of Relativity.  Respect (for diversity) is only a UEFA slogan printed on players’ shirts and like many other things, it has no place here as “haw’ mhux bhal barra . . . . .”

It is precisely respect that I would like to comment on. The Times Online carries a story that “The Ghaqda Trade Unions Maltin this morning condemned the insults hurled at the Prime Minister and Nationalist MPs yesterday during the tariffs protests…….Late yesterday, MUT President John Bencini also condemned the insults……”

How could a teacher and other trade union leaders, out of all people, be such a poor judges of character?  What were they expecting? At the end of the day, they organised an event knowing full well that it will definitely attract the same (kind of) people who adulated Mintoff (or people who were brought up in a home where Mintoff’s photo was adorned with flowers and candles). Now Mintoff is that same guy who amongst other things, is known for his crassness, sheer and utter  rudeness and complete disregard for respect towards everyone but himself. This tin-pot dictator is that same person who gave the Chief of Protocol an unforgettable introductory lesson in Aristotelian logic by arguing that “Protocol hu nejk, mela inti Chief tan-Nejk“. The mob that attended the so-called national protest was mainly made of people who used to be entertained by Mintoff’s sexual innuendos when addressing them during mass meetings.

They were probably the very same individuals who wanted to vote KMB back to Castille in 1987 and 1992, and who cheered at Alfred Sant’s  unforgettable “Gooooooooooooonzi”. Most probably, these are the very same people who partied in front of the Super One studios in Marsa when Sant claimed that “il-Partnership rebah ir-referendum”. Undoubtedly, the crowd included some – if not most – of those individuals who chose Joe Muscat over George Abela.

All the protest organisers needed to do was watch Xarajunk to see how these troglodytes address public officials, including the Prime Minister when they strive to ask a question or try to make a point. They shout and point fingers at the person they’re addressing showing total disrespect towards the position occupied by these public officials.

I’m anything but Gonzi’s biggest fan, but if I had to address him (both publicly and privately), the least I would do is show respect towards the position he holds – no matter how much I would want to argue with him, and to explain my opposition to (some of) his beliefs.

Who are they trying to fool? Didn’t they know that this was a perfect opportunity for hardcore labourites to denigrate the government? Wasn’t it obvious that this was a good opportunity to let off all the accumulated steam following 20 years in opposition and an unforgettable electoral fiasco in 2008?  It’s a simple equation:

  • Rockers are people who generally show no signs of civic respect
  • A protest organised by the GWU will certainly attract people who abhor the government
  • The vast majority of these people adored Mintoff precisely for his lack of respect towards people who stood in his way
  • In true macho fashion, they thought he “had eggs” . .. errm balls
  • They followed Sant in the same way that Branch Davidians followed Koresh (and if they would have had it their way, we would all have had the same ending:  self-destruction)
  • These are the same people who think that their Party Leader is hip because of his total disregard towards Protocol (Mintoff revisited)
  • Therefore this protest will definitely degenerate into a big hamallata where respect and decency are complete anathema

You don’t need to be a first class Anthropologist to realise that these kind of manifestations (in contrast with the Front Kontra c-Censura protest) attract people from the same Lidl stampede demographic. It’s not rocket science. If these people lack the common sense and  foresight to predict something so obvious, then they’re not fit to be union leaders?

Written by mickeymalta

02/03/2010 at 14:59

Malta people very nice

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Arrest me . . . I'm poking fun at a religious figure

If anyone ever needed written proof that this is the zone where normal things don’t happen very often, all he or she has to do is look at the front page of today’s The Times.

It carries a story about yesterday’s protest from the Front Kontra c-Censura in Valletta. The reasons that led these people to form this Front and to hold a protest in a democratic country that claims to be European are simply beyond belief. The fact that the year is 2010 adds insult to injury. One may argue that the fact that a crowd of 300 has the freedom to protest against censorship is evidence of freedom of expression.

It seems to me that our notion of freedom of expression is skewed at best. This is a police state and a  theocracy. In no other country that upholds freedom of expression would the Police even dare to dream to screen the lyrics of carnival festivities. No normal (by  standards of the free world) country would prosecute people for dressing up as religious figures – especially during carnival. So many people look down on Islam because of its repression and that is precisely what our country is doing – repressing people under the pretext that it’s not allowed by law.

There is a mob that seems to believe that it has the right to ban anything it disagrees with, or anything that pokes fun at the values and beliefs it holds dear. Let me burst the bubble of those who pontificate about Muslims’ and Jews’ intolerance. About a year ago, London’s West End started hosting a new production by Richard Bean called “England People Very Nice“. It pokes fun at Muslim, Jewish, French and Bangladeshi immigrants who have been travelling to the UK since the 17th century.  Needless to say, some immigrants – especially the Muslims – weren’t too amused. Instead of calling for a ban on this play (as Rocker fundamentalists would do), they organised a series of  protests outside the theatre to express their disapproval at how they were being portrayed.  I see two possible reasons why did not call for a ban on this production: 1) they could have possibly internalised the European value of tolerance; or 2) they knew that asking for a ban would have been a lost cause as it would simply have not happened.

Back to The Rock. It’s not the archaic laws that are a matter of concern, but the fact that at this day and age people need to raise awareness about censorship and ask for these laws to be abolished. Can anyone imagine a protest against censorship in neighbouring Italy, Germany, or Scandinavia?

There are other archaic laws in or books – like the spontaneous gathering of 13 people or more without the written permit from the Police. If this law had to be enforced to the letter, there will be hundreds of people arrested every single day from every part of the Island.

For obvious reasons, the Police use common sense and they don’t apply this law to the letter. So if they choose to let common sense prevail in this case, then they should have done so during last year’s carnival in Nadur. But they didn’t. It was their choice to arraign people in court taking their cue from the smiling Archbishop a few days before.

Yesterday’s crowd also protested against a clause in the Press Act stipulating that print material cannot carry any criticism of public morals. Why do the authorities need a Front to tell them that this is wrong? Isn’t  it obvious  that this is unacceptable in this day and age?  Ditto for  the law banning anyone from making any form of artistic criticism of the country’s official religion. It’s already bad that we have an “official religion”, and by protecting it our authorities are rubbing salt in this big wound.

As I said in my previous posting, if we truly believe that we belong in the old continent and its values, we must not only limit ourselves to EU economic practices. We must officially embrace the European way of life. The way most of the inhabitants of this little place lead their life is in no way, shape or form any different from their European counterparts.

It’s high time that the authorities stop presenting a fake facade of a country that exists only in the fantasy of their wishful thinking. Their loyalties should lie towards the people who elected them. It is no coincidence that Parliament is also referred to as “The House of Representatives”. Hence, the Parliamentarians’  loyalties should lie towards their constituents, and not towards an institution that has been proved wrong time and again. An institution that thrives on people’s material, spiritual and intellectual poverty.

Written by mickeymalta

25/02/2010 at 18:44