Opinion: The victorious leader of the victorious people

Joseph Muscat’s close friend Ilham Aliyev just won another spectacular victory. Aliyev’s election slogan was “the victorious leader of the victorious people”.

He won a ridiculous 92% of the vote, while his closest runner-up got just 2%.

Vladimir Putin also won his own fake contest, earning 87% of the vote. Both Putin and Aliyev know those elections are a sham – so does the rest of the world.

Why do they bother? The answer is simple – it’s a way of isolating and intimidating anyone aspiring to a genuine democratic choice.

Those laughable margins of victory are intended to send a menacing message – there is no space for dissent or political competition. There’s only one choice.

Those numbers are intended to strike fear into every citizen resenting the autocrat and his tactics. They’re intended to enforce silence, submission and despair.

That combination of fear and submission is also the reason for the lack of political activism among Malta’s young people.

University student leaders recently expressed their frustration at the three “fears” suppressing student activism – the fear of being treated unfairly by university lecturers for expressing political opinions conflicting with theirs, the fear of being labelled (anti-Labour), and the fear of “missing out on the gravy train”.

These are our future leaders, refusing to express any opinion that may contradict the governing party’s position. They’re scared stiff because their job prospects will suffer if they’re labelled “anti-Labour”.

University students worldwide and throughout recent history have been idealistic rebels. They were at the forefront at Tiananmen Square, challenged the mighty Red Army in Hong Kong, and led the anti-Vietnam War protest movement.

At Kent State University, national guardsmen fired on students, killing four and wounding nine. The White Rose movement, led by siblings Hans and Sophie Scholl, mounted a resistance movement against Hitler. The Scholls paid with their life for calling “Down with Hitler”.

The Velvet Revolution in former Czechoslovakia was also led by students.

Yet in Robert Abela’s Malta, students refuse to engage in even the most inconsequential protest for fear of being identified as “anti-Labour” and punished for it.

This is Labour’s Malta – a country where expressing political views may wreck your future. Labour’s Malta is a country where students remain silent to protect their financial prospects. Malta’s university students know that expressing dissent will cost them.

And instead of boiling over with rage and rebellion, they quietly conform. The student leaders interviewed gave examples of how students who’d turned up to protest against the demolition of a bookstore just outside the university had been targeted.

They weren’t arrested, beaten up or shot at.  But their parents were “reprimanded for their offspring’s activism” by their bosses at government departments.

Students themselves who held part-time government employment were confronted and given “verbal reprimands”.

Those student leaders said students were afraid to speak, afraid to be seen to protest, and afraid to be identified as dissenters.

They highlighted that terror by commenting about the “difficulty in maintaining anonymity, more so in recent times when news travels fast”.

The president of one of the University student organisations said his organisation “is careful what protests or demonstrations it takes part in and ensures that they are as apolitical as possible”.

This is the depressing state the country is in, where young, educated people are terrified of uttering a word that may be construed as critical of a dominating, ruthless government intent on making dissenters pay the price.

A state where the brightest among our younger generations fear being labelled ‘Labour critics’ because that label will definitely extinguish their chances of getting the coveted jobs reserved for Labour loyalists.

But it’s not just students who are terrified of voicing their opinion.  When Labour MPs were asked whether they preferred Biden or Trump, practically all refused to comment because the party hadn’t briefed them on how to answer.

As with Russia’s Putin and Azerbaijan’s Aliyev, Labour’s leadership leaves no space for dissenting voices, even among its own MPs.

Only one MP dared express her preference for Biden but quickly panicked when she realised none of her colleagues had ventured an opinion, fearing she would stand out, upset the leader, and damage her own future prospects.

Labour MPs’ rigidly identical replies to anticipated questions about the day’s hot issues are almost chilling in their conformity.

Even within its own parliamentary group, Labour enforces a straitjacket that stifles and throttles the people’s representatives.

Labour uses other tactics to maintain the upper hand.  It’s got plenty of carrots beside the sticks. Those MPs know they’ll be rewarded with directorships, ambassador positions, board memberships, consultancies, ITS jobs, and other perks for their compliance.  No wonder Labour is as ‘united’ as Putin’s United Russia.

Those university students are right.  They know Labour’s “gravy train”, funded by taxpayers, is reserved for loyalists and sycophants.

Troublemakers, protesters, idealists, and dissenters stand no chance because Labour has no scruples.  It will wield its power of incumbency to tighten its iron grip on the nation.

It perpetuates its position of power through a combination of intimidation of critics and lavish rewards for collaborators.

By hijacking the national broadcaster, it maintains absolute control of the narrative, which it distorts as necessary to glorify the leader and the party.

The Broadcasting Authority has once again found that PBS gave Labour a massive advantage, having broadcast 351 sound-on tapes of PL MPs and just 27 from the Opposition in 2023.

Dissident Russian sociologist Boris Kagarlitsky, recently sentenced to five years’ imprisonment in a penal colony, said after Putin’s landslide victory: “This regime poses the most terrible threat to its own people”.

Kagarlitsky’s comments are equally applicable to Labour’s increasingly autocratic repression intended solely to isolate and intimidate dissenting voices – and crush democracy.

The silencing of students is yet another nail in the coffin of Malta’s democracy thanks to “the victorious leader of the victorious people”.

                           

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Mick
Mick
1 month ago

As ever Kevin, spot on accurate and relevant article describing the philistines who govern this Rock with dystopian Mafia rules ensuring any dissent is aborted before it can alert and possibly sway original thought that would would most certainly be the end of these inane criminals. Prosit

George
George
1 month ago

All the king’s mules got Biden 81,000,000 votes with Biden himself hardly venture beyond his basement next to his Corvette.
I’m dieing to know whether or not stating my observation out loud will get me into trouble.

Last edited 1 month ago by George

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