The desperate father pleaded with the master, “Please come and put your hands on my daughter so she will be healed”. The master told his daughter “Little girl, I say to you, get up, Talitha Koum”. And the girl immediately stood up and began to walk. The master gave strict orders not to let anyone know about this.
The desperate father pleaded, “Please help us buy equipment to help our daughter walk”. So the Prime Minister called his ONE newsroom and ordered it to gather its photographers and cameramen. He called his wife and asked her to prepare for another excellent photo opportunity.
As the cameras rolled, Abela and his wife proceeded to “meet young Kate and her parents Charmaine and Daniel”. Abela pompously announced that government would be financing equipment to help the young girl walk. Abela gave strict orders to let everyone, the whole world, know about this.
ONE swiftly filed the news report, with a photo of the great leader and his wife doting on young Kate. A video of their meeting was uploaded to ONE’s website. ONE exposed unnecessary personal details of the young girl and the monthly cost of her treatment. They even revealed the surgical procedures the girl underwent in Poland.
But their central message was that “Prime Minister Robert Abela spoke to Kate and her family and announced that with government financing, the sum of money required to purchase a Robotic Aid Training System will be reached”.
ONE triumphantly reported that the grateful parents expressed their appreciation to “Prime Minister Robert Abela and his wife, Dr Lydia Abela” in a Facebook message. They also thanked Minister Byron Camilleri.
The parents’ message of indebtedness to Abela and his spouse triggered an avalanche of adulation. “Dr Abela seems to be a very kind man,” one message read. They echoed: “The Prime Minister and Mrs Abela have a heart of gold”. “Well done, Dr Abela”, and “Thank you, Robert and Lydia”.
The whole disturbing spectacle is simply revolting. A prime minister under siege resorted to the despicable exploitation of the misfortunes of a young girl to gain political mileage and try and redeem himself. There is so much in this nauseating episode that is so wrong.
The prime minister should not be making arbitrary decisions on allocating public funds. Those public funds are not his personal funds to disburse at will for his political promotion. The young girl and her family should not have been compelled to beg for her required essential equipment.
They should never have been made to accept being publicly exploited. They should never have been forced to allow images of their daughter to be abused for political purposes. Her personal details should never have been made public.
It should not be up to Robert Abela to decide who gets funding and who doesn’t. Public funds should be allocated through a fair, transparent process after appropriate vetting by experts in the field.
What about those children whose parents are unable or reluctant to make public appeals for help? What about those countless other children with serious health issues and congenital deformities whose parents cannot make their voices heard?
What about parents who aren’t ready to prostrate themselves before the great leader, are unwilling to sacrifice the privacy of their loved ones, or cringe at the thought of agreeing to have their child filmed for political ends?
Should those reticent about publicising intimate details of their child’s health issues be denied essential funds?
This was no act of kindness by Abela and his wife. This was flagrant abuse.
The family should never have needed to plead for funds for their daughter. Those funds should have been forthcoming through an established process that doesn’t require them to show gratitude to the leader.
That isn’t his money that they’re getting. And it should never be his arbitrary decision. This is an EU member state, not a remote Sicilian village under the control of a Mafia boss who decides on who to favour based on their sworn loyalty towards him.
If Abela were truly so kind and generous, he could have paid for the equipment out of his own personal funds – and done so anonymously. He could have used the €45,000 he made off the dodgy Zabbar plot from Chris Borg.
Instead, Abela plays the beneficent father of the nation, generously tending to the needs of the most vulnerable, using taxpayer funds.
Abela’s message to the nation is that the only way you’ll get what you should have by right is by pleading with the leader, directly or indirectly, for him to have mercy and bestow the favour.
This is Robert Abela, a fake Socialist leader, taking us back to an age of feudalism where serfs could only survive with favours from their lord given in return for their loyalty and support.
Abela is cynically creating a personality cult of the merciful kindhearted father of the nation who feels the pain and suffering of the most vulnerable. He carefully crafts a narrative of the eternally grateful parents showering him with praise.
During the peak of Chairman Mao Zedong’s personality cult, citizens performed a “loyalty dance” to express their love for him. This involved stretching one’s arms from the heart towards a portrait of Mao. “No matter how close our parents are to us, they are not as close as our relationship with Mao” was sung by children and soldiers.
Abela seems to be following Stalin’s example. Interactions between Stalin and children became an essential element of his personality cult. Stalin often engaged in publicising his gift-giving to Soviet children. The phrase “Thank You, Dear Comrade Stalin, for a happy childhood” appeared above the doorways of nurseries and schools.
Robert and Lydia Abela deserve no gratitude. They deserve the nation’s derision for their shameless exploitation of the misfortunes of a young girl for a photo opportunity aimed at salvaging Abela’s crumbling reputation.