Every time I see a billboard screaming L-Ikbar Żidiet, which is practically at every corner, I feel like screaming back: Do you know there’s frickin’ war going on?
The Labour Party in government keeps promising us that, if it’s elected, it’s going to rain money from April on. How is that possible? We all know that our economy, already wobbly because of corruption exposure, greylisting and COVID, will now be, thanks to Vladimir Putin, on its knees.
This was a week where we saw the European Union issue unprecedented sanctions on Russia to try and put a stop to Putin’s deranged and criminal actions against Ukraine, a democratic country in Europe.
These sanctions – which are the least we could do to help the Ukrainians, so brave and so determined in their fight for democracy – will have repercussions on the global cost of oil, gas and wheat. In short, our cost of living will spike. All European leaders have been warning their people to brace themselves for this, except our prime minister.
Robert Abela keeps promising manna, ‘serenity’ and truckloads of cash. It’s why it took him days to, finally, very reluctantly, join the rest of the EU member states in the suspension of the sale of golden passports scheme to Putin’s mates.
Why was this a crucial sanction? It’s a scheme which only the very rich Russians can afford. At nearly €1 million per Maltese passport, it is out of reach of salaried Russian people and there is no way, in Putin’s Russia, that anyone can become a millionaire unless they have Putin’s corrupt ear. So, while the average man and woman in Russia are seeing their savings vanish in thin air, Putin’s oligarchs have been buying our Maltese passports and enjoying life as EU citizens and keep on bathing in champagne.
As we know, Abela kept coming up with all sorts of excuses to avoid suspending the scheme. He wheeled out mouthpieces like Junior Minister Alex Muscat, who told us that “we don’t sell golden passports” (mhux hekk, we sell pastizzi). Then came our Foreign Minister Evarist Bartolo, who with a ‘Shh!’ emoji told us that some poor (rich) Russians were using the scheme to run away but we mustn’t tell Putin wink, wink.
Of course, none of this was holding truck with Abela’s EU counterparts and they would have none of it until the government was forced to issue a statement. It announced that, because of “the recent developments” (God forbid we use the words ‘war against Ukraine’ lest we offend Putin) “due diligence can’t be done effectively”. You see how ‘neutral’ we are? We stopped selling passports to Russians for administrative reasons and not because their president was attacking an independent nation. Malta: the Putin-friendly nation.
Come to Malta only when the nation has found its soul again
What’s Abela’s game? Maybe he only watches Super One and, therefore, thinks that everyone is talking about his billboards and no one is aware that there’s a World War III knocking on our door. He should tune in to the real world every now and then and watch Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky inspiring brave men and women to stand up for their freedom and their principles even at the cost of death. Today, Putin targets Ukraine, tomorrow which other European country will fall under his radar?
This is a war which affects us all because Putin is waging a war against the principle of democracy. Seeing as he has no principles, Abela does not understand this. If he did, he would not be allowing his disgraced predecessor, Joseph Muscat, named ‘person of the year’ for corruption, on the Labour Party’s campaign trail. Of course, Muscat has no other option but to be “out there with the people”: because a Labour victory is his only insurance against jail.
When Muscat was forced to step down because of his direct links to alleged masterminds of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia’s murder, his star not only stopped shining here but also in Brussels where he is considered a corrupt pariah. This is why Abela is making sure that him and Muscat are never in the same spot together. It takes only one picture for Abela to become, by proxy, another pariah in the European Council and be shunned even more than he already is.
The golden passports scheme – set up by, surprise, surprise, Muscat – is about dirty money. Dirty money is what has been slowly killing democracies by brainwashing people through propaganda, by buying votes and attacking journalists, then killing them. Hence, this scheme must stop, now and forever.
With this war in the foreground, the Maltese election campaign has become frivolous. We need only focus on one issue: do we want a prime minister who is tacit when there is a deranged war criminal attacking democracies around the world because it pays his and his friends’ pockets to do so? Do we want a government which attacks journalists (vide Manuel Delia on a Labour billboard) and which constantly manipulates the truth and obstructs justice? We, as Maltese, cannot look the other way while our own democracy is being poisoned to the very core.
This brings me neatly to Pope Francis’s visit to Malta on April 2, merely a week after a predicted Labour win. This will be nothing short of blessing the corrupt. He will be glorifying their tacit silence in the face of war crimes, their decade-long attack on the true value of European democracy. He will be part of it all; a willing actor in a propaganda event.
Dear Pope Francis, on April 2, you should be on a Ukrainian border, with the people who need your presence most. Come to Malta only when the nation has found its soul again.