It wasn’t an easy week. Having to go through the vitriol spewed on social media was tough, especially when it turned against my immediate family and friends. Late-night calls from unknown numbers helped to keep me awake through some painful nights.

Over the last few years, Times of Malta has been very eager to put me in the worst light possible with articles inspired mainly by political agendas. The twisting of facts, incessant lies and misinformation are the customary tactics and ammo fired through this paper.

The unprecedented outcry about my use of the word ‘hate’ in my Facebook post was immediately repurposed under false accusations of misogyny. I deny it. It is false. It is reprehensible and it is an example of the dire state of journalism in this country.

My only defence against this is the opinion of those I have worked with. Ask them instead.

As a side note, it is curious to note how my criticising MEPs of the opposite sex is now deemed misogynistic. According to the critics, the sexes are equal, so long as you refrain from treating the opposite sex equally when it comes to outright, harsh, direct, unmitigated criticism. There’s a limit to equality it seems – hyperbolic hypocrisy.

As an example of a similar post regarding ‘hate’, I would like to refer to a similar Facebook post by Rob Reiner: “Don’t think it’s possible to loath anyone more than this pathetic excuse for a president.” My post, not removed by Facebook, had the exact similar context.

The assumption that Times of Malta treats the Labour movement with ‘respect’ is absurdly fantastical. What is worse is the attitude of well-meaning souls, who think that gentle reaction and benevolent thoughts, ridden on high horses, would do the trick of finally uniting the electorate in gentle, respectful and erudite discourse. Poetic drivel. Fodder for poetic dreams perhaps. But let’s dream on.

Then came the word ‘marida’ (sick). My argument there was not referring to actual physical sickness. I believe one has to be sick to actively work against the well-being of one’s own country in international fora by propagating lies, misinformation and slander – enough about this.

The agenda used by Roberta Metsola and her colleagues is simple enough. It has been attested and confirmed by others in her group.

The unprecedented outcry about my use of the word ‘hate’ was immediately repurposed under false accusations of misogyny- Mario Azzopardi

The only way for the PN to regain power is the destruction of the economy – at the cost of the well-being of the Maltese people, including Nationalist supporters – to create an antagonistic political platform.

These tactics inspire no respect, no love, not from me and the vast majority of the Maltese electorate. Nothing that I wrote is anything new as used by prominent PN commentators. But here too we suffer from the usual right-wing tactics. Free expression is sacrosanct, so long as it does not point an accusing finger right back at them.

The Labour Party has gone through tumultuous times, suffering a veritable excellently coordinated coup d’état. Labour’s response to the subversive campaign was always to keep a distance, stay back, fewer words, silence.

How naïve it is to think that by offering a helping hand we were going to reach some sort of rapprochement!

In mind, I have the picture of Joseph Muscat offering to shake hands with Metsola, and she with her hand up, refusing to acknowledge him, insulting the duly democratically elected representative of the people. In her tweet about it, Metsola wrote: “It is Muscat who has betrayed his country.” When I directed the same words against her she hid behind the misogynistic ‘card’. Unbelievable. And still, I am censored for lack of respect.

I am not an employee of the government, contrary to what was stated in the editorial. I haven’t been for the last 18 months.

My intent was to encourage local talent, producing 20 original Maltese plays in less than 10 years, writing/directing eight of them while producing three films in four years, one of them in Maltese, and also producing, directing and writing the libretto for a Maltese opera, and so on.

That too is vilified by trolls and those whose interest was to see that this does not happen, mainly because it was all work in Maltese (evidenced by the total lack of acknowledgement by this paper of this original new Maltese artistic work). They know who they are.

What hurts most is that as in 1978, when the Manoel Theatre banned my original play during a Labour government; not many came to my assistance. I am going through the same situation today.

The Manoel Theatre halted my last play Ix-Xiħa because, while acknowledging it is an “excellent work” (their words not mine) they feel it is not appropriate for Maltese audiences. You, they are saying, are not capable of seeing this kind of scathing theatre. (It is a satirical take on the Daphne Caruana Galizia conundrum).

I wonder if that is the reason why there is an outcry by the right-wing to stop the work of Staġun Teatru Malti. That some people in government gave credence to the lies and misinterpretation is worrisome.

I believe the frustration I am expressing is nothing but the exposition of a national sense of frustration that is slowly coming to a boil. We discard it at our own peril. Suppressing it is suicidal.

Editor’s note: Times of Malta has no interest in putting Azzopardi in any bad light, neither are its articles ‘inspired mainly by political agendas’. His claims that this news organisation resorts to underhand tactics and ‘incessant lies’ are nothing but pure fiction. Times of Malta stands by its editorial.

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