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The snake in the grass

Foreign Affairs Minister Evarist Bartolo.

The “wave of racism” spreading across the country does not tally with the island’s cultural heritage he said, calling for unity in the face of racial tensions while reminding us all that “our society is built on diversity through culture and culture is tolerance”.

Foreign Affairs Minister Evarist Bartolo said this in The Times of Malta in September 2014 when he was Education Minister. He was creating a silent revolution from within the Party, he told Tim Sebastian in an interview with Deutsche Welle. We must have missed it.

His daily cryptic Facebook posts, while he kept silent during wave after wave of corruption scandals that led to a journalist’s assassination, were a message to the country. They were an important part of his so-called silent revolution, he stressed with Sebastian.

Bartolo’s daily posts haven’t changed. Only he started backing the prime minister’s stand on the burden the EU placed on Malta with migration, spewing questionable statistics to support the ‘national sentiment’ and demand that the cruel EU does something about it.

Bartolo is still looking away, except it wasn’t one life taken now but many more. He’s not only looking away, but he’s trying to justify it.

Then he changed tack again. This morning he was all about not wanting people to drown. Bartolo wants to spend the rest of his life “reading, writing, listening to music, cooking, walking, travelling and above all enjoying (his) family”.

That’s exactly what his support for an inhumane stand by the Maltese government denied those who drowned. But he’s still blaming the EU. He’s still blaming people smugglers. He refuses to acknowledge the part he played.

The Italian newspaper Avvenire published the names of those who died as Bartolo and the rest of Abela’s Cabinet looked away while they wrapped themselves in a flag and posed for promotional photos and videos promoting a false patriotism that was about partisan support for Abela.

“Even the dead have the right to a name. Now we can give you their names, for six of them their faces too… All, except Omar, were Christians.”

Migrants who drowned Apr 2020
The migrants who drowned while Malta Prime Minister Robert Abela refused to open ports: Filimon Bashay, Hdru Yemane, Omer Seid, Debesay Rusom, Huruy Yohannes, Mogos Tesfamichael. Photo: Avvenire.

Each of the Foreign Minister’s posts is inundated by racist and xenophobic comments supporting his deliberately twisted and distorted logic, intended to obfuscate the simple truth. There is never any justification for allowing people to die when you could have prevented their death.

Bartolo, who likes to portray himself as the intellectual alternative to the troglodytes in government, remains in denial of his collusion.

He was also part of the Joseph Muscat government that used Neville Gafà as an intermediary in backhand deals to ensure that people who were escaping from war, torture, rape and/or imprisonment were returned to a life of war, torture, rape and/or imprisonment.

He is also part of a ‘continuity’ government that uses Gafà as an intermediary in backhand deals to ensure that people who were escaping from war, torture, rape and/or imprisonment were returned to a life of war, torture, rape and/or imprisonment.

No matter how hard Bartolo tries to project himself as affable, moderate and reasonable, he remains nothing more than a snake in the grass, as Daphne Caruana Galizia had put it.

All those who close an eye or defend corruption are accomplices to corruption. All those who close an eye or defend crime are accomplices to crime. All those who close an eye or defend murder are accomplices to murder.

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