For someone who grew up in the 80s, the Prime Minister’s call to the people to forcefully reply to the investigations by The Daphne Project by attending his May Day rally was a déjà vu.
Most had put aside those memories of violence and the complete decadence of rule of law experienced decades ago, under the last Labour rule. Corruption was rife, objective news was non existent, the Church and critical media were attacked (and there was a murder too).
It’s the same pattern. All over again. Whoever dares criticise or oppose the leader is harassed and intimidated. A true Mintoffian style of leadership; a glorified leader surrounded by crooks.
It’s politics of alienation. Inflating the successes while concealing the dirt. Spinning criticism against government and turning it against dissenters. Playing with reality and obscuring it.
This is generating a form of false patriotism. Criticism is conventionally repelled as an attack on Malta. But the ones who are attacking Malta are sitting in their cosy chairs at Castille. They are the ones hiding the truth at all costs. They are the ones who are turning truth on its head.
The truth is that once again Malta is on the brink. The Prime Minister is rallying the crowds and fostering division within society. He said an answer will be given to whoever opposes him during the mass meeting on Workers’ Day.
Another déjà vu from Socialist and Communist states which use (or abuse) Workers’ Day by mobilising people in times of trouble – a useful tactic for the government that is socialist only in its name.
Yes, it’s a déjà vu. It’s a horrific flashback. Back then, dissenters were turned into enemies and bore the brunt of the regime’s ruthlessness. Children were labelled. The great divide within society scarred the country for long years.
As time passed and society changed the wounds healed and the pain went away. But once again the same strains of authoritarianism are appearing. Once again, Malta is at a crossroads.
The rule of law and freedom of expression are being threatened on a daily basis. The Prime Minister is asking the people to choose, to stand by him or with the enemy (the enemy he identified is a group of journalists). It sounds like we’re back to the days where your absence at a mass meeting would not go unnoticed.
The spectres of the past are haunting us again. It’s back to us and them. Is this what we want 2018 to be remembered for? The year when Joseph Muscat divided a nation at the very same square he launched the European Capital of Culture?