Following Manuel Delia’s story on Police Commissioner Angelo Gafa at the Inter football match, the police spokesperson, political appointee and Labour propagandists Brandon Pisani told the Times that Gafa visited the game at the invitation of other Italian police officers.
Some of my readers argued that he did nothing wrong. Everyone needs a break, after all. There was nothing unethical. Etc… etc…
I digress. This mentality and attitude of anything goes is the main reason why Malta is shit at football and the Eurovision, and practically any other international competition.
Let’s do some background and context first. Angelo Gafa is Malta’s Police Commissioner who has been appointed to his post with the hope that he will clean up politics and corruption. So far, he did literally nothing of that sort. Some people praise Gafa for being a straight-edge talker but talk is cheap. Malta suffered a political crisis caused by rampant corruption in politics, yet this historical fact is being forgotten as the police literally fail to prosecute anyone. By failing to prosecute anyone and then visiting an international football game, Gafa is actually projection he is doing nothing. Meanwhile, Joseph Muscat is successfully getting away by making a political comeback instead fighting corruption charges.
There is another thing. Gafa is a public officer serving the Maltese State. He is a sort of servant of the people, technically speaking. He is also in a very high position, one which entitles a sort of exemplary behaviour. For a police chief, exemplary behavior would include sobriety in contrast to visiting brothels and having a threesome with your aides. Surely, no one thinks that Gafa is a Chris Cardona. For a police chief or a government minister, such behaviour would be wrong because doing so would project a lack of responsibility and concern for your duties. You need to look serious, busy and focused most of your time. The reason why magistrates and judges are not allowed to play at the casino is not only because of the risk of undue influence and conflict of interest but also because it makes them look like unserious people: playing games of chance when their mental state is supposed to be focused on projecting and executing justice. On the other hand, a magistrate or a judge would probably not be doing anything irregular if he actually watched a foreign game of football, and in fact, it would have been better for him if he had liked football, to watch a foreign game rather than a local game, so as to avoid undue influence and conflict of interest.
Now, here is the thing with ministers of government and executives. The top-level leadership of the government and state entities are supposed to represent and execute the national interests. Our national interest includes that we stand out from other countries in competition while striving to be on top of them. Critics of my articles on Gafa should be reminded that that’s the way nature and evolution work – life is a competition on many levels and the law is there to ensure that this competition is done fairly. The Maltese government is therefore supposed to ensure that our nation strives internationally through soft power and competition on many levels. In Gafa’s case, he is expected to show that he is striving to clean up Maltese politics and address the rule of law of crisis, and so far no amount of reputation laundering has successfully convinced his foreign counterparts that he is doing a good job.
In addition, how is a government executive or a minister serving the national interest by watching a foreign football game? He isn’t, he is just enjoying himself, but why would he enjoy himself celebrating the success and skill of a foreign team when the national interest dictates him otherwise? There we go. It’s rather humiliating, for us all to say the least. Our top leaders and executives prefer to enjoy foreign football games cos our local teams are too bad to give a good performance, so much so that local teams don’t even merit the support foreign teams receive. Indeed, serving the national interest means you support your fellow countrymen in international competitions. We don’t take international competition seriously, because we don’t take our state seriously enough. We’re the Ġaħan of Europe, always last in everything, except for supposedly economic growth, but that doesn’t mean anything when you are still economically backwards compared to many other states. Being first amongst the losers doesn’t count. You’re still not first.
So, that’s why we are shit at football and everything else, cos we can’t take anything seriously. “U ija mhux sorta, mar meeting mal-pulizija Taljana, u imbagħad marry jaraw logħba? X’għamlu ħażin.?” That’s the sad reality. I would be happy to see government ministers and top executives celebrating their country’s team victory in a drunken stupor at street parties. I would find that behavior appropriate enough in the national interest, yet we can’t even get our national team to get a decent victory. If our government ministers and top executives would have been motivated enough to strive for the national interest, their mind frame would have given them a sense of sadness to watch foreign football games, not euphoria and appreciation. More like your nightmare of humiliation than a holiday or a break. But they don’t think that way. They don’t care. And they don’t think that way because many Maltese people don’t care either.
I have no apologies for dreaming of a better and more successful country.