Lawrence Gonzi grew up in a family that was so religious that he could never do any wrong in his life. Having been touched by the Divine itself, his human qualities are perfect. His role on Earth was to be a humble servant of the people and his perfect benevolence brought great justice upon us. Temptation and wrongdoing bounce back from him as if he is protected from a holy aura that no one can penetrate. Lawrence Gonzi has been and always will be a saint amongst common mortals. He is so virtuous and noble that he may very well be the first politician to be ordained saint.
The veterans of the Labour Party who remember the 1960s know and understand Lawrence Gonzi’s elitism very well. It is the same elitism that was carried by the clergy and their political allies as they controlled and managed all of the private aspects of the lives of the common people. An elitism that kept people in poverty and illiteracy, apart from forcing them to leave the country altogether. Malta has lived with ruthless and pseudo-benevolent authoritarianism for years on end and Lawrence Gonzi’s uncle was the last bastion that fought to preserve it. His uncle, Archbishop Michael Gonzi, waged a war against the Labour Party in the 1960s in which he ostracised and condemned half of the population. If you would like to read more about this history, I have a long article about it in MaltaToday. It is a history of the Church’s great malice against its own followers as it strived to keep the inevitable doors of modernity from opening ajar.
In a podcast with Jon Mallia, Lawrence Gonzi sprinkles some rationality on the horrible actions of his uncle by saying that we should consider the fact that Michael Gonzi’s actions were taken according to the morality and standards of those times. The only problem with this perceived rationality is that the Church’s oppressive authoritarianism in Malta was wrong on all levels at all times and there is nothing relatively historical to it. Indeed, the Maltese church was propped up by the British Imperial Government, chose its Archbishop (via advice to the Vatican), and legislated according to its interests. In the late 1960s, Archbishop Gonzi found himself in trouble as he realised he could no longer rely on the support of the British as they were divesting their interests from the Island, and had to eventually face, by himself and his illiterate supporters, an organised working-class movement. The cultural leap was tremendous. Suddenly, most Maltese realised that in order to go to Heaven, they didn’t need to leave their wealth to the Church upon their death and neither did they need to have as many children as possible whilst living in abject poverty. The horror. The misery and the anguish of those times were according to Lawrence Gonzi “historically relative”.
There is a great wickedness in a half-ghoul and half-human who thinks like Lawrence Gonzi, yet this wickedness is still with us today in many forms. It is a wickedness that feeds from the misery, poverty, and ignorance of its people and it is for Lawrence Gonzi, self-sustaining. The only reason why politicians like Lawrence Gonzi were and still are possible is due to rampant illiteracy, poverty, and outright ignorance. Lawrence Gonzi comes from a class of people who have built their wealth and power from the misery and stupidity of the Maltese. The lawyers, the village politicians, the monopolist merchants, the rent-seekers, the clergy, and the colonialists. Generations upon generations of poor people were raised with the idea that only Godly men like Lawrence Gonzi could have the answers for their salvation. The Labour Party of the 1960s was all about a big fuck you to this elite. We can do it ourselves. We don’t need you. Eventually, the Labour Party adopted all the rent-seeking and corrupt characteristics of the corrupt class of politicians from which Lawrence Gonzi was bred. The nepotism, the elitism, the monopolism, the greed, the avarice: all of these characteristics were appropriated and adopted by the Labour Party from the same politicians that its veterans and “soldiers of steel” fought against in the 1960s.
Lawrence knows how to play his role very well and is self-aware of how people perceive him. Some degree of psychopathy is probably helpful for him to consistently lie brazenly in the most confident manner, but maybe he is so full of himself that he doesn’t realise how stupid and fake he looks to us who know very well who he is. It is after all the same sense of elitism that has been carried by generations of corrupt and horrible politicians that induces enough sense of entitlement to lie so constantly and so brazenly about everything. A cold brain, stupid, dull but coated with privilege. He isn’t romantic with his wife he says, as he fumbles something about his wife coming to pick him up after the interview. Too privileged to take a taxi driven by a common mortal and too poor to hire a driver.
He didn’t know that John Dalli was corrupt he says as he quotes an investigation by the auditor-general about plane-ticket purchases that found no wrongdoing. The decision to send him as EU commissioner was not in any way motivated by the fact that he needed to keep him out of sight from prosecution and criminal investigation. Gonzi was always right. He was never aware of anything. He never knew what everyone knew and that John Dalli was so corrupt that you could smell his sleaze from a mile away. Johnny Fucking Bags of Cash. Gonzi was always too good, pure, and divine to have or even keep any form of bad knowledge in his holy mind. Gonzi was always innocent. Even the Drydocks was purely a case of restructuring an unprofitable company and it was for example, never about paying contractors who never fulfilled orders and obligations, or projects paid for which were never fulfilled by third parties. In Gonziland, everything is always perfect and “historically relative”.
“You can’t imagine the challenges we have had” he may probably tell you. What challenges? The buffoon crashed the economy and blamed it on the financial crisis even though our banks were never significantly exposed to the financial markets. He bankrupted Enemalta as it was wrecked by corruption by his ministers and friends and gave the new power-station project to his friends and major party donor, Żaren Vassallo. Yet, Gonzi was so stupid that despite all of this corruption going on, he couldn’t even keep the Party’s finances afloat although he did manage to get the newly built Party’s headquarters from Żaren for free. The Party under his leadership raptured and was in shambles. Basically, everything around Gonzi crashed and he always had something or someone else to blame. Tough job it was being his communications chief. Most of his government’s projects like Smart City were outright frauds or characterised by fraud and corruption. “We still had a high employment rate during the financial crisis,” he says. Sure. When you consider that half of the workforce earned less than €15,000 a year and, as much as half of all women didn’t work, the high employment rate was of great relief for many. I apologise if my irony is not funny, but I find nothing funny in the sordid way this man thinks. A relic of the past and a political breed that should have been eradicated in the 1960s. I’m surprised he is even alive.
In reality, Lawrence would speak very differently with a closed group of Opus Dei confidants. His “historical relativism” is a way for sordid Nationalists like him to sprinkle some political correctness on their horrid views. It is in fact his government that had brought old censorship laws from the dead and applied them anew to the arts. Today, these kinds of horrid views have resurfaced with the misogynistic discourse on women and the bizarre notion that abortion should not be allowed in any case whatsoever. Even more bizarre that we had to fight his party and government to introduce divorce. Imagine the vast amounts of time, energy, and capital we have spent fighting outright stupidity not just in the sphere of civil liberties but practically in all sectors of society simply because Lawrence Gonzi was always right and we were all wrong
What is most remarkable in Lawrence Gonzi’s story is that his biggest heritage in politics is Robert Abela and his dynasty. No, not the Euro, and that story has always been inverted by the Nationalist Party. The Nationalists led the government for some years only because people wanted to get rid of the corrupt Labour Party and modernise the country. Once the Nationalists had served their purpose after concluding it by bringing us into the EU and then adopting the Euro, the Nationalists couldn’t pull off any other significant reform or project other than the renovating of Valletta’s entrance. Even their public transport reform was a complete mess. Lawrence Gonzi was so bad that we could have been blinded by Joseph Muscat – our standards were that low.
There are no lies that can ever cover up the hubris of Lawrence Gonzi. Historically, he was the edge that pushed the country to the brink of confusion and disorder once again. He will never admit to having wrecked this country and he will always be celebrated by blind followers who can’t see through a poor man with wicked ideas. And the only sounds which are in any way related to him that I would like to hear ever again are his funerary Church bells because only that moment of empty nothingness and total blackness can ever convince this man that he, a total imbecile, can also be wrong. I’ll be celebrating that moment with a big fat joint.