The Maltese Language Council: digging deeper in its hole

Olvin Vella
Olvin Vella

The Maltese Language Council has issued a very unhinged and delusional PR defending its own President, who was caught lying to the public in a desperate act of ingratiation with Culture Minister Owen Bonnici. Instead of focusing their guns against the government, they keep shooting themselves in the foot.

It’s sad that I have to write these things. Just like the government, academia, and public cultural institutions suffer from a lack of meritocracy and a gross tolerance for unprofessionalism and fraud.

This is not about Olvin Vella, it is about having serious cultural institutions. I don’t care about Olvin, and I don’t even know the guy personally, however, it should go without saying that the President of the Maltese Council should not lie and make a fool of himself in public. Shouldn’t this be obvious to academics who are supposedly employed on the basis of their integrity? Not in Malta. Olvin could have done a mature and responsible thing and resigned from the Council for its sake, but these people seem they have the maturity of a teenage child.

It is also ridiculous that I have to say these things but here it goes. Having a passion for something doesn’t make you eligible for a job. The reply by the Council has just proved my point that academia at the University of Malta is based on friendships, connections, passions, dilettantism, and hobbyism.

In order to run a public entity you would have to be a serious person and you would have to achieve tangible goals. Being passionate, being nice, and having friends are not criteria for occupying posts in cultural institutions.

As for the Maltese Language Council itself, I fail to see how and when it ever promoted the Maltese Language Council. Tangibly, the Council’s role is to set language rules and guidelines, and actually, we don’t expect it to do more than that. It was a sort of bonus that the Language Council declared a role of promoting the Maltese language and this would have had to be done by its President (Olvin Vella) and its CEO Thomas Pace. In tangible terms, this would have had to be achieved by the Council by effectively increasing the use of the Maltese language in new spaces, platforms, fora, and media. I would like to see a metric showing the rate of success of Maltese language expansion as induced by the promotion of the Language Council. I would be happy to publish it if they send a reply and such statistics would have been a much better reply than an unhinged and delusional PR of victimisation.

I’m going to be objective here. Personally, you know where I stand. I have nothing personal against the Maltese Language Council and my criticism is genuine and objective. I have a lot against the government and the corrupt Owen Bonnici, and absolutely no respect for a grifter like Norma Saliba. Yet, the reality is, that as far as metrics go, if Norma Saliba uses her political contacts to force other government ministries and public entities, and even private companies to make more use of the Maltese language, she may have a very good chance of putting the Language Council to shame. At the end of the day, what matters is tangible results, and this is something that Olvin Vella, who is so narcissistic and full of himself that he doesn’t want to resign for the sake of all of us, doesn’t get. This is why it is essential for Olvin Vella to resign and recharge the Maltese Language Council: it’s not about friendships, victims, and references by professors to gain university posts – it’s about all of us and about keeping the integrity of the public entity. You don’t own the Language Council you bloody idiots and it’s not your personal club. Have some decency for God’s sake.

They don’t get it, and probably won’t and one of our main problems in the fabric of our society remains. It is the same story over and over again. Our corrupt government is directly and indirectly supported by opportunistic academics whose personal interests can be easily aligned with corrupt government interests.

At the end of the day, the Maltese Language Council is in practical terms completely inactive (they won’t get it that being active means getting results and not just doing a hobby with passion). As a publisher who is actually involved with my own money in the business of promoting and exporting Maltese literature, I don’t even think about the Maltese Language Council unless it is in the news making a fool of itself. This is not a hobby I do with a passion – it’s serious business.

To conclude, I will say this about this infantile, unhinged, and stupid concept of occupying public posts just for having a hobby with a passion. In the real world, it’s results that matter. We, who are in the real world, not in some self-gratifying pseudo-intellectual club on the public payroll, are not successful because we have passions and hobbies. We are successful in the real world because we are serious people. Try being serious for once.


  1. What I want to hear from the nationalist party or a reformed PL for that matter is: whats going to be done to ensure authorities, executive branch remain outside of the influence of government … actually the prime minster in Malta’s case.

    We can no longer afford to have a CEO running an authority being forced to resign because s/he is irritating the minister by doing their job!

    Thats whats so absurd here. Hence why people like Olvin Vella can remain right where they are even though they botch things. As long as they ingratiate themselves with the minister they are fine.

  2. Mark the only reasoning the majority of our society is capable of is that of ‘kursara’ u ‘furbani’, since pre-history. Loot and plunder is in our DNA, expect no better or any different.

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