As the clock struck midnight, the Significant Other and I, wearing blue from head to toe, waited for a few chosen Nationalist Party members to knock on the door and utter the correct password. As soon as ‘Fazzjoni Forever’ was muttered, the door creaked open.

Upon entry they had to take an oath on the maduma. Everyone gradually assembled around the fireplace where we had a cauldron brewing and each of us threw in the secret ingredient they had got with them.

It’s become very easy to obtain the crucial ingredients. Last week, we had a bank account statement of Rosianne Cutajar; a cufflink from the president’s son-in-law, Joe Cuschieri; a pair of Robert Abela’s (gym) balls; the tattoo needle used to etch ‘Invictus’ on Joseph Muscat’s forearm; a book on how to write government PRs snatched from Silvio Schembri’s desk; a piggy bank from Edward Scicluna; a polygraph test from Konrad Mizzi’s populated vault; and the mobile phone and some expired pasta Rummo from you-know-who.

The cauldron bubbled furiously. With a shiny shimmery knife, we each made a cut on our choppy fingers and dripped the oozing blood – blue, of course – into the cauldron. All the while, we were all chanting “Double, double, toil and trouble; u Robert Abela għandu stubble”.

Then, our voices, inaudible at first, rose as one to sing Sbejħa Patria. The potion became smoky and manifested itself into a blurry face: the victim of the faction’s next attakk faħxi. The plotting began.

Eventually, the fog faded and the potion in the cauldron became thick and gluey – a sign to bring things to an end. Before everyone vanished, the eldest of the lot (can’t say who due to data protection) stated the password for the next meeting. Let me give you a clue, it’s got the word ‘fazzjoni’ in it. You may or may not at this point be wondering if this is truth or fiction. If you work for Super One, it’s the truth, of course.

Otherwise, rest assured that it’s pure fiction. There are no such things as factions, friends and feasts. The Significant Other (a former PN leader) is based in Brussels and not involved in Maltese poli­tics anymore. I am not a member of the PN or involved in any way in the party. And the only regular visitor at home this COVID-winter has been the vet. Oh, and no, we don’t have a cauldron.

Political party media relishes churning lies and fictitious imaginations and repeats them ad nauseum until viewers simply do not question them any more and accept them as facts.

By political party media I mostly mean Super One because only my aunties watch NET. It brainwashes people, day-in, day-out and, since it is owned by the party in government, it’s nothing but shameful state propaganda.

That the journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia was believed to be a monster was the result of Super One’s decades-long orchestrated indoctrination. By the end, something that should only belong to the Dark Ages, it was ingrained in the national psyche that she was a witch.

Party media are the scourge of our society. In any other democratic country they would have long been shut down. Why aren’t they here? Because, sadly, they simply reflect who we are.

We are happy to think of politics as something that belongs to the two political parties; that politics is not our responsibility and we can either become members or else stay neutral and show reverence. Anything in bet­ween is unthinkable. If we dare express an opinion that goes against one party or another, then, surely, we must be an appendage of that party.

But that’s, of course, how a partisan, brainwashed mind works. Politics and partisanship are not the same. Partisanship is like football: Us vs Them. Politics isn’t. Politics belongs to each one of us.

Super One brainwashes people day-in-day out... it’s nothing but shameful state propaganda- Kristina Chetcuti

Aristotle, the father of democracy himself, stressed that a healthy, happy, virtuous, society depended on the active participation of all the citizens that make it up.

Malta is in a bloody awful mess, precisely because its citizens think that grovelling to politicians is the way to go. That disgraced politician, Muscat, tapped into this, perfected the art of friends of friends and we are now left with corruption and a mafia.

Transparency International has just declared our country as having an economy dependent on corruption, with a poor criminal justice system and crumbling institutions.

And with all this happening, all that ostrich prime minister of ours can talk about on Sundays is his fictitious PN faction. He walks and talks like a Gargamel with a cauldron stuck inside his head and we humour him by pretending that that’s perfectly normal.

Things can only change by ensuring that our children know how to think for themselves. Last week, I read about an ongoing ‘citizen project’ in Switzerland where pre-schools are preparing children for participation in the country’s direct democracy.

These pre-schoolers have ‘village’ meetings where they discuss issues that daily affect them, such as, for example, should naps be compulsory?

Then they receive an envelope at home with voting material identical to what adults get before each election,  only the children’s ballot sheet is illustrated. Back at school, the children then drop their secret votes into a ballot box.

The idea is to show children how poli­tics can impact their daily life and how they can make a difference by being active citizens and, especially, by thinking for themselves. It’s our only hope for the future.

P.S. Factions, Friends and Feasts is a must-read book by Jeremy Boissevain – an anthropologist who made an extensive study of the Maltese people’s relationship with politics.
twitter: @krischetcuti

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