The contrast between the state of mind of the supporters of Joseph Muscat’s government and those who like me oppose it for perpetrating and covering up corruption will never be more starkly visible than in the next few hours and days.
The anti-corruption band is not a crowd pleaser. Our tune is dissonant with a rhythm meant to shock rather than sooth. And it does not change when crowds walk away.
The l-aqwa żmien parade is bright and loud, positive and optimistic, appealing and comforting. It is the pleasure drug that doesn’t stop giving. And it is big. Very big.
Anti-corruption organisations are only associated with a political party in the imagination of Labour’s media who fish out PN MPs and MEPs who share the concerns of activists. Labour portrays the presence of PN MPs in civil society events as some form of evidence of associated delinquency. When of course it is those who are absent whom they should be fishing out.
There will not be a single government MP staying away from the massive May Day celebrations of the Labour Party. It’s likely to be the biggest political gathering in Maltese political history. Expect to be stunned by the size of the support, the unanimity and the sheer hysterical enthusiasm of the sea of people, and the power of the hateful rhetoric spouted on the day. It will be like a Nuremberg gathering with fun added on.
When silence falls late at night at the end of this long weekend, Valletta will shudder half blinded and agonised from the thumping soles of celebrating feet. The city will be a shivering ghost and nothing like the capital of culture we imagined it would be when it first won the title so many years ago.
You should defy those who would silence you, denounce those who would lie to you, defeat those who would push you away
There, out of the finally dwindling crowd, half-drunk with the adulation thrown at his feet, will be the chairman of the Capital of Culture committee supported as he waddles towards the Great Siege Memorial by his organising committee staff recruited for their party loyalty rather than any appreciation of what organising a world-class cultural calendar without offending the sensibilities of artists near and far entails.
He will stop at the Great Siege Memorial and raise his last glass of self-congratulation. And his office mate will raise his glass and slur “sorry bitch”. He won’t have to apologise this time as his misogyny will be reserved for the private entertainment of Micallef’s boys’ club and not go on Facebook where some other “sorry bitch” might call him out.
They will laugh satisfied for having mobilised a crowd 10 times larger – maybe more – than the ragtag activists who gather in Valletta this afternoon: the holier than thou, the hexing fetishists, the nostalgic necromaniacs, the obstinate Nationalists of the old school who refuse to submit to the great Joseph.
Sheer overwhelming numbers strike dread and fear in those marched upon. They give the marchers a heady rush of infallibility.
No wonder the mighty assume they are right. Being in larger numbers is a form of definitive justice, an answer to the intractable question of who is right. Being in larger numbers is a satisfying fulfilment of unimpeachable correctness. Or so it feels. None of the people calling this afternoon’s protest ever aspired to attract the sort of numbers the Labour Party will in two days. So why do they do it anyway?
Because the greatness in numbers answers the question of who will win elections but adds nothing to the matter of what is right and what is wrong.
The mumbling you hear on The Daphne Project is that it has not produced a definitive coup de grace that might do the job of removing Joseph Muscat. To be fair, all the stories of the last several days do is confirm with further evidence precepts that have been established for a while: Muscat’s government is led by people who have sought to secure illicit earnings from bribery and corruption and have sought to cover them up.
For the inveterate sceptics who would doubt the existence of their own stomach because they had never seen it, the question remained on where the ‘proof’ was. As Daphne Caruana Galizia had put it to them, would you ignore the lipstick on the shirt collar and the long blond hairs stuck to his clothes and expect to see your husband penetrating his mistress before you decided he was having an affair? In any case more evidence was published last week.
What perhaps is more important is this fresh evidence also proved that the perpetrators lied in their own defence to Parliaments, to the press and to the public assuming they’ll never be caught.
And what is perhaps even more important is this fresh evidence confirmed what we have suspected for a long time: that we are paying higher bills as a direct result of corrupt contracting.
In an imaginary world dreamed by hippies with flowers in their hair, people would realise they are being robbed by their political masters and go out in the streets to demand their removal. Does not work that way. Especially in a country where most people wait for their party to direct them to agree with, or oppose, something.
Think of all those people waving flags on Tuesday coming. Think of how many of them that are over 35 were following their party in its anti-EU campaign. Think of how many of them actually had formed their own opinion on the matter before or after their party changed its mind.
Civil society activists have no party loyalty to use as leverage to commandeer crowds on to the streets. Their meagre resources are not used for that as that is only useful to win elections and activists are not running for any.
They are instead looking to protest their objections and asking likeminded people to join them.
Will your presence in Valletta add up to a crowd that compares favourably with Labour’s sea of angry zealots? No.
Do you need it to? No.
Should you rather stay at home? No.
Because this country belongs to you too and even as they ride roughshod over you, you should be facing them, chin up, wide-eyed and standing up. Because you should defy those who would silence you, denounce those who would lie to you, defeat those who would push you away.
Because it does not matter how few the people saying it are, the truth is no less powerful if it confronts a lie screamed by many more. Demand justice. Seek the truth. Join us.
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