VivaMalta - The Free Speech Forum - Daphne Caruana Galizia goes up in smoke

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February 18, 2018, 05:46:29 AM

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Norman Lowell
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« Reply #20 on: February 08, 2018, 10:45:18 AM »

http://www.maltatoday.com.mt/comment/blogs/84334/a_monumental_irony


A monumental irony
How does one reconcile a monument to the Knights’ victory over the Ottomans in 1565, with a tribute to the principles of justice, decency and freedom of speech today? How did the two even get mixed up together in the first place?




From the outset, it struck me as somewhat incongruous that – of all the available possibilities – the Great Siege Memorial in Valletta would be chosen as an unofficial shrine to the memory of Daphne Caruana Galizia’s murder, after her murder last October.

As I recall, this was not the first time that monument was appropriated for ulterior purposes. The last analogous incident I remember was during a far right demonstration organised by Imperium Europa: when Norman Lowell stood before that same memorial, walking stick in hand, and reminded his listeners of the ‘good old days’... when white Europeans would deal with a ‘Muslim invasion’ by decapitating Muslim slaves, and using their heads as cannon-balls (and yes, when the Muslim invaders would crucify their prisoners and float them disembowelled across the harbour, etc).

Because that, ultimately, is what that Antonio Sciortino sculpture was erected to commemorate in March 1927. The penultimate gasp (before the final victory of Lepanto) of an ultra-violent, two-way Christian-Muslim ‘jihad’ that had begun four centuries earlier with the First Crusade.

And much as I hate to admit this, the previous appropriation was altogether more... appropriate. Even at a glance I can see the relevance of that monument, and all it represents, to a white supremacist organisation trying to rekindle memories of that ancestral conflict for its own political ends. I don’t like the idea myself, naturally, but that doesn’t mean I can’t appreciate the multiple PR benefits such a strategy entails for the far right. It’s not just about engendering ill-feeling towards Muslims (and other minorities) in general... it’s also about reinforcing those prejudices through ‘patriotism’ and nationalistic fervour.

Implicit in Lowell’s occupation of that public space was a reminder of how much of our national identity is rooted in that primordial struggle against Islam. And it took place at a time when what felt missing was precisely a sense of national pride in our identity (Just look at how Joseph Muscat still talks about ‘national pride’ today: it’s more or less the same strategy, only used differently and for different political ends).

You can call it a gimmick, if you like... but it’s a gimmick that speaks directly to a very primal and deeply entrenched prejudice. As such, it is not easy to dismiss or ignore.

And in more explicit terms, the monument itself is also a stark reminder of a less distant and nebulous past, when Malta was politically divided, not along the lines we know today... but along a pro-Fascist/pro-British axis; when the word ‘Nationalist’ still assumed all its original implications (resulting in, among other things, the internment and deportation of the entire PN executive in 1942).

Even visually, it bespeaks the troubles of its times. Sciortino himself may not have been a Fascist (or at least it’s unlikely, seeing as his scholarship to Rome to study art was financed by the Strickland family)... but the style he picked up in Rome was undeniably influenced by the ‘monumentality’ engulfing Italy’s entire artistic direction under Mussolini. You could uproot that monument from its present location, and plonk it at the foot of the Vittorio Emmanuele monument in Rome (or ‘the Wedding Cake’, as it is otherwise fondly known), and it would blend in with its surroundings seamlessly.

The Great Siege Memorial is, in fact, a glaringly Fascist monument in all senses except one: i.e., as a reflection of the political convictions of its sculptor. But everything else about it – down to the historic event it commemorates – is clearly dipped in the cauldron of neo-Imperialistic delusions of grandeur that gave us ‘Mare Nostrum’ and the invasion of Abyssinia (not to mention a few thousand tonnes of bombs dropped over our country between 1940 and 1943).

And now I’ll take a coffee break, so that all you historians and art critics out there can vent your apoplectic fury at my summary dismissal of Sciortino’s masterpiece in peace and quiet. [...]

OK, I’m back. Are you done with all the wailing, howling and gnashing of teeth yet? Good. Now, onto the present-day appropriation of the same Sciortino sculpture: this time, as a shrine to a murdered journalist who used to write tirelessly against that same proto-Fascist organisation, and in defence of the migrants and other minorities targeted by its hatemongering campaigns... so many of which were launched at the foot of the same monument.

Hmm. I don’t know. On one hand, I concede that reclaiming that icon from the far-right might, in itself, be a noble objective... whether or not it was the actual intention (which I very much doubt). But even if you close an eye at its association with anti-Muslim/anti-migrant sentiment for a second... how does one reconcile a monument to the Knights’ victory over the Ottomans in 1565, with a tribute to the principles of justice, decency and freedom of speech today? How did the two even get mixed up together in the first place?

One simple explanation seems to come from the Civil Society Network, which (according to The Times) “said the memorial was erected by the people for the people in order to remind the public of the brutal assassination of the investigative journalist. ‘The memorial will be a reminder and acknowledgement of Daphne Caruana Galizia to the present and future generations. A reminder of her work. And also a reminder that we are still awaiting justice’.”

That’s a rather outlandish claim to make, seeing as Daphne was murdered in October 2017, while Sciortino’s sculpture has actually been standing there for almost exactly 91 years. Even without Wikipedia to confirm that detail for us, old fogeys like myself clearly remember a time when the same monument adorned the flipside of the 50 cent-coin... way back in the time of the dinosaurs, when Malta still had its own national currency.

But still, it explains a lot. Of course those people would be entirely oblivious to all the historical, political and cultural connotations of that monument. They only noticed its presence for the first time last October, when it was suddenly garlanded by flowers and candles following Daphne’s murder. And they must have also assumed that the entire monument had been commissioned, designed, sculpted, erected and unveiled in the space of just a few hours...

Then again, by CSN’s own admission they were not the ones who took the decision in the first place (they couldn’t have been, as you can’t exactly ‘choose’ something you don’t even know exists). And I don’t think we need to look far to understand the real reason for the choice; in fact, all you have to do is cast your gaze a few metres away across the square.

The Great Siege monument happens to occupy the chosen space; but the space itself was very clearly chosen because it faces the law-courts. And the centre-piece of the makeshift ‘monument’ is a framed photograph of Daphne Caruana Galizia. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that it is aligned so that she fixes her stare permanently on the doors of Malta’s Courts of Justice: so that every day, every lawyer, magistrate, judge or adjudicator of any kind must enter that building with her eyes boring holes through their backs.

As with the Lowell strategy, I can see the sense in that. And it would a chillingly effective statement, too... if only it wasn’t overshadowed by another, very different message being propagated on exactly the same site: a message that Daphne herself would no doubt be appalled to discover she was in any way associated with posthumously.

At this point, we can question the choice for another reason. Why the law courts, anyway? This is a call for justice, certainly; but on another level it is also a public call for political accountability. Parliament would be the proper venue for that. Or arguably Castille, if the idea is to narrow the focus down only to ‘political accountability’ from the party in Government, while ignoring the party in Opposition.

All things told, then, a number of possible compromises swim into view.

We can leave everything as is and carry on arguing (something tells me this is how it will wind up); we can formalise the informal existing tribute on the same spot, and re-baptise the Sciortino monument to expunge it off all its Great Siege allusions (I predict ‘big trouble in little Valletta’ if this happens; but it’s happened before. Monuments are in fact regularly reclaimed and reinvented throughout history... with each change of power-base, as a rule); we can move the Great Siege monument to another location (ditto last parenthesis – only in this case, it would not be so unheard of: we did the same with the Sette Giugno monument, remember?); we could erect a new monument to Daphne Caruana Galizia somewhere else, or in another part of the same square; or we can choose to not erect any monument at all, and let her blog and published writings live on in her stead.

As for myself, I have this vague, sneaking suspicion that Daphne would probably opt for the last. But that’s not for me to say... and in fact I think I’ve said enough already.

-------------


A bit too long, belaboring the point as usual.
But quite cleverly juxtaposed:
Lowell and Daphne - a Love-Hate relationship.



00602
The Golden Dawn
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Norman Lowell
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« Reply #21 on: February 13, 2018, 08:34:11 AM »

https://www.timesofmalta.com/articles/view/20180213/local/place-caruana-galizias-monoument-out-of-sight-and-mind-says.670559?utm_source=tom&utm_campaign=top5&utm_medium=widget


Tuesday, February 13, 2018, 08:15 by Jacob Borg

Place Caruana Galizia's monument 'out of sight and mind', says Bedingfield
'Pathetic' to even consider memorial for someone 'so divisive and lawbreaking'


Labour MP Glenn Bedingfield has suggested a monument to slain journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia be placed in Bidnija “or in someplace in the wilderness, out of sight and mind”.


Writing in his blog, Mr Bedingfield, who is known to be good friends with Prime Minister Joseph Muscat, said it was “quite pathetic” to be even considering a memorial for someone “so divisive and lawbreaking”.

Before the June 2017 election campaign, Dr Muscat said in reference to Ms Caruana Galizia that Malta’s reputation was being “tarnished from Bidnija”.

Mr Bedingfield said in his blog that the only people missing Ms Caruana Galizia were her family, close friends and the kind of fan base who had no real principles and, like junkies, were missing their fix.

Thankfully, the MP continued, there were still decent people out there who were never “attacked” by her but still understood that a monument would be ill-fitting and would create more tension and division.

The government MP said in his blog that “we” could understand that her family, close friends and fans may wish something to remember her by.

He argued that a monument did not have to be “shoved down everyone’s throats”.

Read: Caruana Galizia's sister lashes out at Jason Micallef over memorial objection

A makeshift memorial opposite the law courts was set up after the journalist was assassinated in a car bombing on October 16.

A Valletta Labour local councillor recently moved a motion calling for the memorial at the foot of the Great Siege Monument to be removed. Valletta’s mayor told The Sunday Times of Malta that the council could not discuss the motion because the issue fell outside its remit.

The Civil Society Network has called for a permanent monument to be erected.

Mr Bedingfield argued Valletta would be the wrong place “and somewhere out of sight would be a much better option”, as a monument to Ms Caruana Galizia would inevitably be vandalised.

“There are a lot of sick and sad people out there who will try and vandalise anything that comes their way, even when it’s an innocent chicken that has never blogged about their grandmother or called their mother a b**ch,” the MP wrote. If the monument were somewhere far away, no one would bother, he added.

“It would be left alone, because vandals do not really care about vandalising things that no one will notice. Bidnija is the right place should the selected few wish to persist on this matter.”

----------


Correct!
A hateful person that showered us, of IE with spite, calumnies and lies.
Attacked our children in the most vile of ways: (Etoile and myself) - innocent children who happened to be our loved ones.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bie6tjzEox8&t=5s


00602
The Golden Dawn
Imperium
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Do not post there, do not buy a copy of either, do not advertise.
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Norman Lowell
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« Reply #22 on: February 15, 2018, 09:59:01 AM »

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bie6tjzEox8&feature=youtu.be



Daphne Caruana Galizia: a Ghost Over Malta


Norman Lowell points to the political situation in Malta, poisoned by the DCG murder. 
This festering, open wound has to be cauterized so the Nation can return to normal life.


-0-0-0-0
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Boycott The Times and The Sunday Times.
Do not post there, do not buy a copy of either, do not advertise.
Hurt Them in the only way they understand.

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 Imperium 1107

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