Waiting for Godot

Two tramps, Estragon and Vladimir, stand idly by a tree.  Vladimir asks his friend, “Well, shall we go?”. Estragon replies “Yes let’s go”. But none of them moves. The tramps’ phoney decisiveness and absurd inaction is the perfect illustration of Robert Abela.

Samuel Beckett’s famous play, ‘Waiting for Godot’, changed the face of modern drama. The two tramps in his play are waiting for the enigmatic Godot.  Godot, however, never arrives.  Even when they’re told he won’t be coming, they still wait. The tramps believe Godot will provide all the answers – will alleviate their unbearable and impossible predicament of profound uncertainty and hopelessness.

Some believe Estragon and Vladimir are the personifications of Freud’s ego and id. The tramps are one person struggling to act but frozen in inertia by the false hope that the mysterious Godot will arrive – and take the decisions himself. Abela is Estragon and Vladimir, frozen in stagnation, waiting for Godot. The more he decides to act, the more he dithers and procrastinates – and does nothing.

Ian Borg, the proverbial albatross, awarded the daughter of his canvasser and former chief of staff €108,542 in direct orders in one year. Adreana Zammit, had not even graduated or obtained her warrant when Borg directly appointed her as ‘junior lawyer’ in his ministry with a salary of €62,400.

Only 10 months later, she was awarded an additional €46,142 for six months’ work. When journalists asked Ian Borg why the taxpayer should pay an inexperienced fresh graduate over €100,000 in one year, the Minister simply ignored the questions.

Abela was asked about the abusive and offensive squandering of taxpayer’s money by Minister Borg on his canvasser’s daughter. Abela declared: “Any decisions that need to be taken, as I have done in the last 15 months, will be taken”.

Like the tramps deciding to go but staying put, the prime minister hastily proceeded to do nothing. He backpedalled vigorously: “I am looking into all the facts before making a decision”.

In his surreal world, Abela air cycles in ambiguity. He declares action but practises stagnation, deferring decisions to anybody else. Estragon tells Vladimir: “Let’s do nothing, it’s safer”. The other replies, “Let’s wait and see what he says”. “Who?” “Godot”, Vladimir replies.  “Good idea,” Estragon agrees. That exchange sums up Robert Abela.

When Ian Borg was condemned by the court as “not credible” after cheating a mentally ill man of his inheritance, Abela decided to wait. On 7 December 2020, the prime minister stated: “It is not prudent to comment on Ian Borg at this time”. His excuse then was that an appeal was still possible.

Abela tied himself up in knots, claiming that if he commented he would “neutralise the right to appeal by one or other party in the case”.  If an appeal were lodged against the court’s judgement Abela would wait until that appeal was concluded.  If no appeal were lodged, he assured the public, he would comment after the 20 days appeal period.

No appeal was lodged by Borg.  The 20 days are long past.  Abela is still waiting to comment, despite his empty promises of 7 December. When Borg blasphemed on television, his defence was to lie. Now he claims he knew nothing and was not involved in the obscene appointment of the ‘junior lawyer’. As the court declared, Borg cannot be believed. Only Abela believes him.

When Rosianne Cutajar’s cosy relationship with Yorgen Fenech was exposed, Abela froze again.   At a Council of Europe debate, Cutajar shamelessly resisted efforts to force the government to set up an inquiry into Daphne Caruana Galizia’s assassination. Weeks before, Cutajar received thousands of euro in cash from Fenech.

As more damning evidence of Cutajar’s gross transgressions emerged, Abela failed to act. “Decisions on Rosianne Cutajar’s future cannot be based on news reports but on the outcome of the ethics probe,” he announced. He insisted he would continue to wait for the verdict of the Standards Commissioner before taking action about Cutajar.

When the Standards Commissioner concluded a report on Carmelo Abela, finding him guilty of breach of ministerial ethics, the prime minister still froze. In Cutajar’s case, Abela deferred judgment until the Commissioner’s conclusions.

In Carmelo Abela’s case, not even the Commissioner’s conclusive report was enough for the prime minister. “Only the parliamentary committee can take a decision on the subject, this decision still needs to be taken,” was the OPM’s response.

The prime minister boasts about taking decisions, yet never takes one. He waits, and waits, and waits some more. Godot won’t be coming, but still, he waits. Abela’s only action is his inaction.

Faced with Ian Borg’s most recent obscenity, Abela is still “looking into the facts”.

Here are the facts. The daughter of Borg’s chief canvasser and election victory architect was directly awarded over €100,000 by the minister in one year – despite having barely qualified and without a warrant on appointment.  In stark contrast, a principal psychologist with years of training and eight years’ experience was recently appointed to the health service on an annual salary of €28,326.

Diploma staff nurses, treating COVID positive patients at significant personal risk, are paid €18,142 per year.   A highly qualified brain surgeon, trained for over 17 years, has recently been appointed consultant, joining only two other neurosurgeons. Their highly specialised skills include meticulously dissecting out tumours from the brains of seriously ill patients. That consultant is paid €36,014 per year for his arduous and difficult work.

The obscene cronyism and brazen pilfering of taxpayer funds by his minister reek of criminal abuse. We could have five more staff nurses, three more principal psychologists, even three more brain surgeons for one Adreana Zammit. To save himself, he lies and lies. And Abela waits.

We are witnessing the theatre of the absurd: Abela’s indolence and inaction obscured with boasts of decisiveness.  Like Samuel Beckett’s audiences, we don’t know whether we should laugh or cry.

                           
                               
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Ilona Borg Carbott
Ilona Borg Carbott
7 months ago

Yes we are reduced to that, time and time again

Carmel Massa
Carmel Massa
7 months ago

Always to the point! And pleasant to read!

GeeMike
GeeMike
7 months ago

We are lost, in no normal country should these happenings be allowed.

The EU has little pride and less clout. I would have booted Malta out for not having taken action on the passports issue 5 years ago,

The writing is on the wall, everyone reads it, but we are all waiting for Godot.

Last edited 7 months ago by GeeMike
Winston Smith
Winston Smith
7 months ago

Excellent! It is not only our political leader’s inaction that worries me but his conviction that citizens do not have the intellectual and moral aptitude to recognise right from wrong. 

Joseph Tabone Adami
Joseph Tabone Adami
7 months ago

Sometimes one is reminded of a dog swirling around a table trying to catch its own tail.

The difference seems to be that a dog’s mind is so limited that it cannot grasp the absurdity of its efforts.

I don’t think that the same can be said of human beings. Or can it?

Simon Oosterman
Simon Oosterman
7 months ago

Not making a decision is also making a decision. By making decisions this way Abela gets the results he wants with less flak than if he had been explicit.
Deny, delay, ignore, start over.

Travis
Travis
7 months ago

Malta is a very sick country. The culture creates psychopaths like a Fordian assembly line. This is the ugly truth that no one wants to address. The ideological state apparatus is busy as we speak creating the next generation of Muscat, Schembri, and Abela. It is the heinous lack of accountability and the anything goes culture (defined by inaction) that results in the gross mediocrity and culture of evil that is modern day Malta. Reading your daily papers is like having smears of excrement painted over your mind. God what a dreadful place.

Rachel
Rachel
7 months ago

Excellent way of showing facts and figures, making others understand that yes, there is a direct negative impact of corruption on each and every one of us

KD Far
KD Far
7 months ago

Where is the ethics committee that can disqualify parliamentary members and gov officials?

Henry s Pace
Henry s Pace
7 months ago

‘ we don’t know whether we should laugh or cry. ‘
Its more to cry than to laugh

Noel Ciantar
Noel Ciantar
7 months ago

In the comparison of Samuel Beckett’s play to Sigmund Freud’s theory of the psyche, Didi (Vladimir) is compared to the Id, and Gogo (Estragon) represents the Ego. Godot equates to the Superego, the ethical component which sets the moral standards.
In Robert Joseph Mvscat-Abela’s “government” there is no place for ethics and moral standards, so Godot will never arrive. Kevin Cassar could not bring a better comparison to RJMA’s psyche.
One is left to wonder what role Ian Borg could have in Beckett’s play. I suggest that he fits into the character of Pozzo.

Leonard Schembri
Leonard Schembri
7 months ago

Abela should go for a long Tibetan retreat house to meditate on what ethics and goodwill imply. He should also learn from the Tibetan monks how to make decisions. I simply cry when I hear these things happening in our country, simply put, idiots and more idiots running our country.

Albert Bonnici
Albert Bonnici
7 months ago

Abela declared: “Any decisions that need to be taken, as I have done in the last 15 months, will be taken”. It would be very interesting indeed if Abela can list the decisions he has taken. but he will not. He has never taken a decision, he only utters stupidity. Like waves are in the sea, we are the best in the world ( here he is right but he forgot to mention ‘in corruption’) A decision was taken for him by the standards Commissioner. Any bets he peed in his pants?

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