NGO scorns Muscat over rescued dog tweets

'If only the migrants had been born dogs...' Lifeline tells prime minister

An NGO whose migrant rescue ship has been impounded in Valletta harbour for months, on Monday scorned the prime minister for tweeting "seven times" about a dog brought to Malta with 58 rescued migrants on Sunday.

Bella, a white Maltese Terrier, is currently under quarantine after having been transferred from the rescue ship Aquarius.  Dr Muscat tweeted a photo of the dog on Sunday and retweeted various other tweets about it. A government statement said it was in good health. Nothing was said about the state of the migrants rescued. 

"In honourable statesmanlike tradition, Prime Minister Joseph Muscat did not let himself get distracted by the multi-dimensional complexities of asylum policy or humane values, instead using his profile to tweet about Bella, no less than seven times in one day" Lifeline said on Monday.

"Today, we are all Bella; a symbol of cute, dogged determination in a dog-eat-dog world.

"We call on the international media not to let Bella’s journey go unnoticed, nor to let the thousands of drowning people to steal her limelight. If only they had been born dogs, instead of children, women and men; maybe then they would have been worthy of our attention," the NGO said sarcastically.

"To Bella, we say woof woof. To Mr Muscat, we say Bella Ciao," it said.