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In the land of bogans, truth is the first victim

The protest was partisan, but not in the way intellectual bogans claim

Sunday's protest was a rallying cry for the 'Party of Goodwill', writes Christopher Gatt. Photo: Darrin Zammit Lupi

Sunday's protest was a rallying cry for the 'Party of Goodwill', writes Christopher Gatt. Photo: Darrin Zammit Lupi

Warning: this article has comments which some/many may find offensive. The author remains unapologetic.

Daphne had a love of words. She understood their power and used it unflinchingly. Her linguistic skills were equal in English and in Maltese and she could pick out a nuance a mile off.

She was also extremely media-savvy, knowing just how to create the buzzwords necessary to get the right message across. Phrases such as’ iced bun’ entered the Maltese lexicon with spectacular ease.

Another of her favourite words in recent months was an immigrant from the continent of Australia. When she started to use the word ‘bogan’, readers ran to their dictionaries. The Oxford dictionary defined it as a slang word of Australian origin describing ‘An uncouth or unsophisticated person regarded as being of low social status.’ Some would describe it as a substitute for our own home-grown word: ħamallu.

The Urban Dictionary, that informal conglomeration of fantastical definitions, supplies and even more fascinating description : A fascinating beast. The majority of the species are hideously repugnant and unintelligent, and yet they manage to breed in ever-increasing numbers.

Over the past few years, Daphne's view of our country was one of a growing island of bogans. And she was wrong, of course.

She was wrong in thinking that this started happening a few years ago. We have been encouraging the growth of bogans for more than the last few years. The apathetic response of university students to the murder of a journalist is merely the culmination of years of hard work ensuring that our education system is devoid of any aspect of critical thinking or understanding.

Don’t get me wrong, Daphne knew it was happening. A quick look at articles from six, seven or eight years ago, sees her calling out bogans from the previous administration. And not just the traditional bogans. For, as the Urban Dictionary implies, whilst the majority of the species where unintelligent, they still had among them some very intelligent members. These were the intellectual bogans.

Like the ones who were upset to find out that Sunday’s manifestation did not call for unity but called for the resignation of the police commissioner and the AG. And they cried foul, or rather ‘partisan’. Rather than discuss the uncomfortable content of the message delivered, they pointed to the messengers, always, and especially now, the easier, more convenient, target.

Yes, the protest was partisan, very partisan. But not in the way these intellectual bogans would have it. They would like to make out that this was a rallying cry for the Nationalist Party. It was not, as Adrian Delia suspected when he wisely decided not to make an appearance.

This was a rallying cry for the ‘Party of Goodwill’, people who want to disassociate from both main political parties, who have realised that both parties are complicit in her death but that, yes, people who believe strongly that it was this administration that ultimately created the current climate of lawlessness.

A climate which has accepted that ministers and persons close to the Prime Minister should have companies in Panama, where police commissioners fall like dominoes rather than see the contents of Financial Intelligence Analysis Unit reports or take responsibility for the John Dalli case; where the Attorney General, who decides whether there is a case to be made against people, is also the chairman of the FIAU responsible for investigating financial crimes; an institution which, instead of protecting its employees, fires leading investigators on these cases.

So forgive me if I cannot take these intellectual bogans seriously. Just as I cannot take the Prime Minister seriously when he describes calls for the resignation of the police commissioner as a public lynching.

But Joseph Muscat must know he is on very shaky ground when he props up his arguments with talk of absolute majority.

Yes, it is clear that the absolute majority, those who celebrated in front of Pilatus Bank, those who swilled their bottles of Panama beers, those who are enjoying their increased wealth, not because of any merit but because of, as Alfred Sant would put it, "ħbieb tal-ħbieb", all ‘persons of trust’, and finally those puny intellectuals tied to a party because of some pseudo-ideology that is hardly preached and definitely not practiced - yes, all of these have voted for the continuation of the status quo.

But it does not give him any moral authority, and the longer the police commissioner and AG remain in place, the lesser that authority.

Yes we have become an island of bogans, where every attempt is being made to kill the truth. Ironically in this respect we are, for once, in sync with the rest of the world.

And like the rest of the world, the few, the minority, must not stop pointing this out.

I will leave the final word to a 30 second ad currently running on CNN.

It’s up to us whether we want to call an apple an apple or a banana.

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