Malta - a Lilliput state with potentates separated from and above the people?

Memorial plaque
Memorial plaque
Malta is the smallest country among EU member states. It has only about 400000 inhabitants and the area is only 312 square kilometers. The Maltese people are very proud of their country and are very right to be so. During WW II the Maltese people were very courageous and it was then the Maltese people was rewarded S: t George’s cross 1942 by the king of England, which cross since 1943 is a symbol on the Maltese flag. The president of the United States of America, Franklin D. Roosevelt, has expressed his gratitude to the Maltese people, which can be seen on a memorial plaque on the wall of the predidential palace in Valletta. 
However, the majority of Maltese do not seem to travel a lot and therefore are rather ignorant about other countries. Malta is just a rock in the Mediterranean, but, of course, historically an important rock. Yet, you can hear Maltese people quite seriously say that Malta is the most beautiful country in the world. Of course, what is beautiful is a very subjective. Still, very few people, but the Maltese, would say that Malta is the most beautiful country in the world. I have also heard that the Maltese wines as well as its vegetables are the best in the world! There might be a few countries which would like to contest that. Maybe it is beacuse of this ignorance that the Maltese people accept the behaviour of their potentates.

The government, backed by its loudspeaker, The Times, does everything to give the impression to the Maltese people that Malta has an important role to play in EU and in the rest of the world. If prime minister Gonzi for instance travels to some conference abroad, the articles in The Times have headlines giving the impression that the other prime ministers were there just to listen to Mr. Gonzi. Malta also has a Head of State, a President with his own flag and a car with a special license plate. His wife is called Malta's first lady! Even the The Commissioner of Police has his own flag as well as the Archbishop. The corruption is widely spread. But there is of course a reason for all these cars and flags and mumbo jumbo; the government wants to give the people the impression that Malta has a bigger role to play in EU and in the world than it really has and therefore one also must have men in formal high positions with attributes. One must remember that Malta, although a sovereign state, is not bigger than a middlesized european town and ought to be be governed more in accordance with that and not like United States of America..

Archbishops BMW license plate
Gozo bishops Toyota license plate
The catholic faith is state religion in Malta. The archbishop as well as the bishop of Gozo has company cars, the latter a smaller one than the BMW that is archbishop Cremona's company car. Do not for a moment think that these cars have ordinary license plates. No way, they have plates of a silvery material in the shape of a bishop’s miter. If you do not believe me, look at the pictures. And, of course, the archbishop has a more expensive car than the Gozo bishop (The Observer wonders what Jesus would think of that!).To a foreigner from a more secular state this looks really ridiculous. Of course also the prime minister’s car have special plates. As far as the Head of the State, the President, is concerned, it is more understandable. He is, after all, a symbol. If the president and the prime minister want to attend a mass in Valletta they travel by these cars about 200 meters to the church. This is just window dressing. One could argue that they travel by car for security reasons; no way, anyone could go close to these potentates. All this is also a part of implementing the belief in people that Malta and its potentates are very important, separated from and above the people. They act like royalties more than the royalties in the Netherlands, Belgium and Sweden.

President Abela's car and flag
To a foreigner all these attributes are kind of sweet and touching, except for the corruption. Malta is a Lilliput with its attributes similar to those in operettas. This is sweet, but, of course,  fulfills a not so honorable cause, namely to keep the people in a feeling that Malta is something it is not.

1 comment:

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