The M&M snubgate

A video surfaced on Youtube showing German Chancellor Angela Merkel not including Maltese Prime Minister Joseph Muscat in a conversation. The discussion on social media quickly descended in the pits of partisan politics with one side laughing at what had happened to the Prime Minister and the other side saying they were offended by Merkel’s rudeness.

The video was uploaded to Daphne Caruana Galizia’s new Youtube channel called the Running Commentary so it can be deduced that the reason for the upload was to ridicule the Prime Minister. However, after seeing the clip many a times I still cannot find anything humiliating or even noteworthy about what happened.

Was the clip awkward? Yes definitely! Did it mean anything? I very much doubt it.

Who in the history of civilisation has never found themselves in such a situation? From the clip Merkel acknowledges Muscat and continues to show a piece of paper to someone else. Muscat senses he is not welcome within that particular conversation so he moves on. I have been in a couple of those situations myself and is the reason why I loathe networking.

Merkel did not blank the Prime Minister or even given him her back. She merely pointed out at the other person and mouthed something to the effect of ‘I want to speak to him’. There is nothing to take away from the clip, yet in the space of less than 24 hours this particular video has been viewed over 6,500 times.

Where is all this interest coming from? Why is such an insignificant clip given so much importance and why are so many people so quick to take a position on it? It might be easy to point a finger and laugh but I cannot understand why many took it upon themselves to condemn Merkel’s actions.

If there is anyone in the European political sphere who deserves our condemnation this week it’s UK Prime Minister David Cameron after a decision was taken saying Britain will no longer support migrant and refugee search and rescue operations in the Mediterranean. Their excuse? That it would encourage more migrants to cross. This is shameful, appalling tactic by the British government who is trying to appease the UKIP vote.

This of course directly impacts Malta and our resources and surely it is way more important than Merkel wanting to speak to someone else other than our Prime Minister.

5 questions we should all be asking after the MaltaToday story about Martin Galea

I am not one for conspiracy theories but the story about what happened to Martin Galea, and how this has been handled, is a very worrying one. 

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One thing is for sure. The Government is surely doing a really poor job when it comes to public relations. ‘Competent’ and ‘professional’ are not words that comes to mind when reviewing all the details about how Galea’s ordeal was handled and the latest information revealed by MaltaToday, an article that reads more like a short story rather than a news report, have just made matters ten times worse as their recent news items raises even more questions. You can read it by clicking here.

Question 1

“According to Khaled – who learned about Galea’s disappearance from the Ambassador – Galea was taken away from his chauffeur-driven car for his own safety. It was not an abduction, Khaled insisted.” 

So how come there is a very conflicting story on The Times where it says that Galea was kept in a cell most of the time? Added to this are the various reports of a ransom request to Galea’s employer and possible payment and denials by the Prime Minister that the Maltese Government had received any such request.

Question 2

If you watch the video by the Independent, after Galea gets off the plane the first thing he does is thank Marisa Farrugia for saving his life. Are we saying that the only person who was involved in this whole thing, who was actually there, had no idea about what was going on? Let’s not forget that Galea is also an ex AFM captain.

Question 3

Whilst on the topic of Marisa Farrugia, the person Martin Galea has attributed his freedom and safety to, why did the government feel the need to send an experienced diplomat to Libya to assist the ambassador (who had by the way hurriedly returned to Libya after fleeing a few days before this happened), given that she was on suspension and under police investigation? Weirdly enough the story only popped up on MaltaToday too but none of the other newspapers. 

Question 4

“Asked what was the role of Maltese Consul Marisa Farrugia in the whole operation, Khaled repeated several times that Galea returned home thanks to the Ambassador and the Zintanis”

Why was the Ambassador nowhere to be seen in the entourage when Galea returned back home safely? Why didn’t the Prime Minister thank him personally when listing all the people who helped in this expedition? Why is Khaled trying to undermine the importance of Marisa Farrugia’s role?

Question 5

Why on earth was this story given to MaltaToday by Khaled M. Ibrahim Ben Nasan – who according to MaltaToday is a representative of a sub-committee for the fight against corruption and smuggling in Libya – but not by the Government of Malta if this is true. Since the Maltese Ambassador to Libya is peppered all over the article then there must be some kind of official version surely. 

Another thing that is worrying is the attitude of certain people online saying that the Government did the right thing by keeping everything under wraps. This is a dangerous stance to take. Malta is a democratic country and we have every right to know details about international relations. Keeping the public, and more importantly, the family informed with general information on the situation and progress would have not increased the danger to Mr Galea’s life. This kind of situation is thankfully very rare in Malta but other countries have dealt with similar cases and kept everyone informed. In a democratic country, such news should have never been broken by a newspaper, even though kudos should be given to The Times of Malta for breaking such a story.