John Dalli wasn’t happy about our recent story on his virtual adventures in the ‘Free Republic of Liberland’.
We know because he sent The Shift a very long message about “the pathetic article you published three days ago”.
Now, I can understand why Dalli would accept every speaking engagement that crosses his desktop. Times are tough, and the chance to earn a speaker’s fee is nothing to shake a Bitcoin at. Especially when you’ve made yourself unemployable.
Unfortunately, they didn’t even give the guy a proper nameplate. He had to scrawl his name in marker on a piece of paper folded in half.
Did you ever play ‘Model United Nations’ at school? It was like that. Except, well, we were pretending to be real nations and Dalli was addressing an imaginary one.
But my point stands. He should have been given a real nameplate because he was there on principle.
Somewhere in the darker recesses of Dalli’s troubled mind, giving a talk about an imaginary currency to a country that doesn’t exist was a defence of our fundamental human rights.
“I was invited to give a speech,” he said. “I accepted because I genuinely believe in the right of free speech.”
Admittedly, it was a strange way to go about things. But we should be ashamed of ourselves for judging his motives. As Dalli was so careful to point out, “Your long-winded diatribe and vitriol exposed the hate that you and your clique harbour and are intent to keep spewing.”
Good word, ‘spewing’. That’s very visual.
Dalli is a great promoter of free speech. The best. No one does a better job than John Dalli. He has a unique genius for it.
Of course, he didn’t believe Daphne Caruana Galizia’s articles about him were free speech. Those were the attacks of a ‘terrorist’, driven by hatred and deep paranoia. But there’s no need to split hairs.
What I’m trying to say in my own rambling way is that maybe we’ve been wrong about Dalli all along?
It was only after reading his heartfelt message, in which he accused The Shift of “carrying on with the campaign of ridicule started by perverse blogger Daphne Caruana Galizia”, that I began to suspect we’ve misunderstood him.
This is not simply a disgraced former EU Commissioner who was fired because of accusations his friend was soliciting bribes from the tobacco industry.
Okay, he was given 30 minutes to clear his desk and resign. And he did seem to be hiding out in Europe, using doctors notes to avoid going to Malta for fear of Police Commissioner Rizzo.
But Dalli proved this impression wrong by coming back right after Joseph Muscat was elected. It’s not his fault the new Commissioner decided not to investigate him. I’m sure he was as keen as Keith Schembri to clear his name.
Anyone can see that Dalli’s entire life has been an example of his deep respect for the rule of law.
Yes, there are those who’ve claimed he’s just another bottom-feeding Maltese conman involved in a scheme to screw American pensioners out of their savings. But his account at Pilatus Bank only contained €1,000. Do you think he has an account in Dubai like 17 Black?
Some would see Dalli’s message to The Shift as Grandpa They’re-All-Out-to-Get-Me firing another angry broadside from the Lobby of the Unhinged.
And I admit this is the obvious explanation.
But a man like John Dalli is deep. Seriously deep. He contains multitudes.
Liberland is real because he really really wants it to be. They’ve even opened their very first embassy. Okay, it exists inside a video game, next to a poorly drawn tree and something resembling a stream.
But they also want to sell passports – and that’s something real countries do.
Perhaps he can introduce them to Chris Kaelin? Then everyone will be rich thanks to friends of the government using some of the cash they got from passport commissions to buy small items in local shops.
Dalli is a crusader for free speech and a bitcoin expert, and anyone who claims otherwise is guilty of harbouring a “perverted interpretation”. Shame on you. I mean it.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to sign off. Some men in white coats have arrived and they want me to put on a jacket. It’s a really strange jacket because the sleeves tie together at the back.
I hope they’re taking me to Liberland, where life is free and the currency is imaginary.