The Republic of Mellieha
In the 1980s the Republic of Zejtun was established in the south of Malta. It was perhaps more akin to anarchy than to a republic. Its citizens were exempt for the laws that bound the rest of us. If they felt that they were provoked they could resort to violence with impunity. They also had the right to decide what constituted provocation. Being a Nationalist, or speaking as a Nationalist or speaking in favour of a Nationalist was provocation enough. You could be beaten or shot at. If you were lucky the police would stay at bay; if you were unlucky the police would join in the fun. It was their duty not to let the dastardly Nationalists provoke the gentle inhabitants of the Republic of Zejtun.
The brouhaha that characterised that Republic was condemned by many, including sincere Labourites. These were shocked that the name of their party was being degraded by these criminals. While the Labour administration of that period was unable or unwilling to control them, the administration of Dr Alfred Sant rid the Partit Laburista of these nefarious elements. The country moved on in the belief that civility demands that differing political persuasions should never be considered to be provocation.
That, however, was not the end of the provocation/intolerance story. Gender orientation has taken over from politics as a “cause” of provocation.
The Courts have just declared the setting up of the Republic of Mellieha. “Thou shalt not call thy neighbour gay” is its basic commandment. If you do, it would constitute provocation of the first degree. This has to be treated harshly. You deserve to be run over by a car and face the rest of your life with a physical impairment. Unfortunately as things stand now the person meting out this justice will not be publicly given any award. The ignoramuses in the surrounding Republic of Malta would consider this to be over the top. So the citizens of the Republic of Mellieha had to lump it and give a little slap on the wrist to whoever reacts to provocation with the desired harshness.
A lot has been written on the subject so I will not add more.
There is another kind of provocation which can earn one the privilege of being beaten black and blue. This we were told by Dr Josie Muscat is originated by women. Men suffer so much agony that they cannot not react. Now I have no doubt that Dr Muscat is totally against domestic violence and that he truly condemns it and abhors it. However, the way he spoke, perhaps to create a stir during an otherwise placid discussion was, to say the least, very unfortunate.
During TVHemm I reminded Dr Muscat that he had been, on more than one occasion, the victim of violence at the Republic of Zejtun. He and his friends were even shot at. One of them had to be hospitalised in London to have a bullet removed from his brain. Dr Muscat’s very existence as a Nationalist MP was considered by the bullies at Zejtun to be provocation enough.
The provocation/intolerance story had another episode during summer.
We almost had the setting up of the Republic of Marsaxlokk. Like that of Zejtun and Mellieha this would have been a republic based on the fight against provocation. During the summer some people decided to camp on Marsaxlokk’ beaches. Some Neanderthals infiltrated their ranks. This pre-Homo Sapiens species is particularly sensitive to any sort of provocation. This came in the form of a peaceful walk by a few Marsaxlokk residents who had the temerity to think that it was their right that their bay would not be turned into a dump by Neanderthals. The end of that story is history.
As I said during TVHemm whoever resorts to violence does not do so because of provocation but because he/she generallty is an intolerant savage.