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. 

image by -independent.com.mt

image by – www.independent.com.mt

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. 

A step closer to a more liberal Malta – Civil Unions Bill approved

marriage equality + civil union

It is with great pleasure that I read about the passing of the Civil Union Bill. Finally Malta is a step closer to being a more liberal and awesome country. A big congratulations goes to the Labour Party for sticking and delivering this promise.

I know I am not known to be vocal supporter about certain decisions the current Government takes but this is definitely one that should be saluted. This is a celebration of love and the LGBT community deserves this win.

I must admit that I’m quite disappointed to see the PN taking this kind of stance towards the bill. A free vote would have shown the PN as being the fresh, new party they were saying they wanted to be. Abstaining is not only a bad PR move considering circumstances but also brings back bad memories of the divorce issue. With a free vote the party would have shown its a mixed one of liberals and more conservative members, something the rest of the country understands. Bringing in the issue on adoption as an excuse frankly doesn’t hold water as gay adoption is already possible through single parent adoption. The PN would have really shown itself as being a renewed party and this was a missed chance.

So once again congratulations to the Government of Malta for passing this bill.

Prime Minister Joseph Muscat was quite right when he tweeted the following:

 

The 7 best moments of the Cabinet Reshuffle on Twitter

After all is said and done and the dust has settled on the recent Cabinet Reshuffle it’s interesting to look back at the best moment that played out live on Twitter. Click here if you want to read about all latest changes in the cabinet.

As a social media harlot I am ecstatic to see Twitter being used by Malta’s journalists and politicians to break the latest news. The rest of the local community of course joined in the reshuffle fun and the best seven moments have been reproduced hereunder.

Number 7

Filthy cars arriving at Girgenti.
https://twitter.com/DanielaBartolo/statuses/449924030163075072

Number 6

Andrew Borg Cardona calls it! One hour before it is made official.

Number 5

Miriam Dalli, journalist at MaltaToday once again tries her luck and complains about being hungry.

She then posts a picture of the advent of food.

And also manages to get food for the rest of the media hanging outside Girgenti

Number 4

Owen Bonnici is probably the best there is to take Culture a step forward in Malta it has to be said that yet again Culture hasn’t been given its due importance – or respect for that matter – as it’s now been relegated under Justice.

Number 3

Matthew Vella contemplating on the family affair.

Number 2

Franco Mercieca announces his definitive resignation with a tweet that screams relief.

Number 1

Satiristan comes back from retirement and takes the Number 1 spot.
https://twitter.com/Satiristan/statuses/449940351797956608

And finally the Prime Minister’s Twitter account posted the following photo with the caption:
A chat with my good friend Godfrey Farrugia,thanking him for his contribution. Sure he has still more to offer. 

Cabinet reshuffle

Don’t yet have a Twitter account? Sign up now and use the follow buttons above to follow some of the best locals on the social network. And don’t forget to follow yours truly on @melahart.

From Malta Tagħna Lkoll to Malta Tagħna Biss. The PL slogan which is slowly turning against its creators.

It was the slogan which won Labour its landslide victory back in March 2013 but Malta Tagħna Lkoll has been slowly taking a life of its own and rearing its ugly head.

This all seems to have started back then when prisoners were given a 100 day amnesty resulting in 143 prisoners walking free. Many were enraged by this decision and this episode was only the start of the bad juju for Home Affairs Minister Manuel Mallia.

When Mallia visited the inmates at Corradino the prisoners started to chant ‘Tagħna lkoll, tagħna lkoll’ turning this PR event into a double edged sword which was only the start of Mallia’s troubles.

Days passed and with every decision the new Labour government was taking the Tagħna Lkoll slogan would come back to haunt them;

L-Aministija taghna lkoll

Il-Kultura tagħna lkoll

L-Armier tagħna lkoll 

And the list goes on, everyday reinforced with a new appointment to a government board which seem to be dished out like hot, steamy, pastizzi.

But since Muscat decided it would be a good idea to play chess with human lives, and went for the controversial threat of pushbacks, the Malta Tagħna Lkoll slogan has been perversely applied to a group on Facebook. This group will be staging an anti-immigration protest – oh sorry I mean ‘Pro Malta’ protest – which funnily enough is a protest ‘In favour of the Government’s fight against illegal immigration’.

from malta tagħna lkoll to malta tagħna biss

Malta Tagħna, and Malta Tagħna Biss are the cries which can be found on the Facebook  group totaling almost 5000 members (no I will not be positing any links to said group which is clearly promoting racism). Said group page is also filled with links to news stories of Muslims doing horrible acts as if being a rapist, a murderer or a sick fuck is mutually exclusive to your religion.

As days go by, and the 4th August (the day of the protest) is drawing closer, some fire fighting seems to be happening. The Times of Malta, yesterday, decided to carry a story about the Prime Minister’s thoughts with regards this protest. Prime Minister Joseph Muscat said he does not approve of such a demonstration, failing to address the matter that this protest is being done in honour of the Government. Well yes, actions do happen to have consequences and when the Prime Minister threatened to go ahead with pushbacks he opened up a Pandora’s box filled with racism and xenophobia.

Meanwhile L-Orizzont published a story about a group of people who will be charged for inciting racial hatred on Facebook. When this news item was posted on the popular Facebook Page, Malta Diżastru Totali a barrage of comments ensued citing Freedom of Expression. News flash? Well Freedom of Expression is not absolute and is subject to limitations – one such limitation being hate speech.

Turns out Joe Demicoli will not be one of the members who will be charged by the Police who claimed his song is satirical – yes the song was done a few years back but is currently being used as the soundtrack to this protest. Unfortunately I cannot see the satire, the constructive social criticism, normally relative to satire, in the song escapes me but take a look for yourself and let me know what you think.

Standing up does not mean acting without compassion. Pushbacks are not the asnwer.

 

Immigration in Malta - we are all human beingsI am sad. I actually feel like someone has hit me in the stomach. Yesterday, for the first time in eons, I felt ashamed of being Maltese. I felt ashamed of being part of that country which was going to send back immigrants to possibly torture or death (even the possibility of this happening should make a decent human being take a step back and think about those consequences), without the chance to seek refugee or asylum seeker status. I felt disgusted by the fact that so many ‘Chatholics’ and ‘dogooders’ on my Facebook page were spouting racist comments and engaging in this ‘I do this because I am patriotic’ sham. Yes, a sham! A sham fuelled by none other than the Prime Minister of Malta.

The Prime Minister’s idea of how to tackle this issue seems to be a bunch of buzzwords scattered at every opportune moment, amongst others the; “We will be compassionate with those who are vulnerable but strong with politicians.”

Instead of taking the hard decision, we have a government that bitches and moans, threatens to use the veto on unrelated matters in the EU – like a kid throwing a tantrum because mummy wouldn’t buy him chocolate, and then plays a very dangerous game of chess using human lives.

Yesterday evening the government had 2 Airmalta planes waiting to take off sending back the 200 immigrants which arrived in Malta this week. Bravo! That is definitely one way of being compassionate with those who are vulnerable.

To add insult to injury we have the know-it-alls on Facebook continuing to fuel all this misinformation about immigration. If only these big mouths would have the decency to check the facts before hitting that send button.  As Caroline Muscat says in her blog;

“The number of people actually living in Malta is 30 per cent, or 5,000 of the 16,617 who arrived by boat since 2002 according to government figures. In no way does that constitute a flood or a national security threat.”

This is not about being blue or red, black or white, this is all about knowing what is right and what is wrong. Sending people back to face possible torture and even death is WRONG.

Yes immigration is a problem, and it will stretch Malta’s resources but choosing the easy way out is just not on. How would you even sleep at night knowing you sent a human being to face torture and death? And this is not just a question I pose to the politicians but to all those who have been vociferous and in favor of pushbacks. Seriously, where has your humanity gone?

My two cents can only describe how I feel and what I think about the matter. If you would like to read a few exceptional blogs on the issue of immigration check out Akkuza, MarkBiwwa and as mentioned above Caroline Muscat’s blog.

The Ghost of Muscat’s Twitter account

I missed this one! I was out celebrating a little bit of Christmas time.

Reading the news I was surprised to what had unfolded but it was late and I yearned for sleep. First thing I did this morning was to read the various news reports, watch all the videos and go through Facebook and Twitter to see what everyone else had to say.

I will not be delving into Xarabank’s happenings, it’s not a program I free my Friday nights to watch. However, if you would like to read all of yesterday’s faux pas head over to J’accuse for a top notch account.

What I found interesting about yesterday was the lack of an opinion from Joseph Muscat on Twitter. This is not the first time I’ve criticised Joseph Muscat’s use of Twitter, click here for a previous blunder of his/theirs.

Throughout last night there was a constant feed of retweets from his account, but not one single tweet from him. I find it very hard to believe that the Leader of the Opposition didn’t have an opinion about what was undolding, or wasn’t even available for a quick 140 character comment. Retweeting other people’s opinions is all well and good, as long as you also add something to the mix, but Joseph Muscat, or whoever is running his Twitter account didn’t, and that reflects very badly on the Leader of the Opposition.

I hear you say, what about Lawrence Gonzi, no 140 character comments from this either. The only difference is that there wasn’t a constant flow from the Prime Minister’s twitter. This shows a level of maturity the PL Social Media “gurus” lack. A person’s Twitter is about a person’s message, not a notice board where you plaster all kinds of rubbish. Out of 35 retweets, 32 were about the Xarabank debate, and yet Joseph Muscat had no personal opinion about it?

I expect more from the person running Joseph Muscat’s Twitter account – Grow up for everyone’s sake, especially the party’s sake, Twitter users were not impressed.

Hot or Bot? 44% of Joseph Muscat’s Twitter followers are fake or inactive

image via @JosephMuscat_JM

According to Fake Follower Checker the Leader of the Opposition’s Twitter account is riddled with fake, inactive users. It is true he might have more than 2000 followers but 44% of these are just fake or inactive.

This doesn’t come as a shock, I have noticed this kind of ‘cheating’ for some time now. Joseph Muscat’s Twitter account follows 199 people but in turn is followed by 2140. If you’ve been around Twitter you will know this simply doesn’t happen unless you are an online superstar or a social media guru. Joseph Muscat doesn’t yet fall into that category and when seeing such ratio of following:followers it was clear something wasn’t adding up.

Yesterday, an article on Mashable exposed the fact that President Obama’s Twitter account also has 70% fake followers.

The guys over at StatusPeople, responsible for building the software explained how their system works “Fake accounts tend to follow a lot of people but have few followers… We then combine that with a few other metrics to confirm the account is fake.”

This is not the first occurance of politicians inflating their Twitter numbers to demonstrate their power; “They are part of the arsenal of modern-day communications – if you can flaunt a high level of support, you will attract further support.” says Marco Camisani Calzolari, an Italian Professor who also came up with an algorithim to determine fake followers and earlier this year exposed Beppe Grillo’s allegiance of fake followers.

Of course, it has to be said that everyone has fake Twitter followers, the trick is to see how the percentages tally up. Below are my Twitter scores compared to those of Joseph Muscat. For the sake of correctness I am also including the Faker scores for @PNMalta and @PL_Malta. However note that both these two accounts, when they started out, mass followed a lot of people.

So I guess we managed to find yet another similarity between Joseph Muscat and President Obama.

Scoop! Joseph Muscat’s new job in PR

It is no secret that I am an avid social media harlot, and these past few months I have been keeping an eye out on how politics are being played out in the social media sphere locally. You might want to read my take on how the three main parties are using Twitter and who is winning the election in 142 characters, or maybe you would like to take a look at twitter comments which were posted after the resignation of Richard Cachia Caruana as Permanent Representative.

Social media is my passion and after so many years of dabbling within it I do have some tips and tricks. So here is one for whoever is taking care of Joseph Muscat’s Twitter page; DO NOT RETWEET ADVERTS.

There you go, it’s been announced here first; Joseph Muscat is doing MANGANO’s PR. What is your take on this? And most importantly, what would Kurt Calleja have looked like without Mangano?

What do Joseph Muscat and Barack Obama have in common?

Good question right? Well, they have more in common then you might actually think. First off both Joseph Muscat and Barack Obama are married and have two kids, true story.

Secondly, they also both have that fabulous winning smile…

And they apparently also have a similar wardrobe. Look at them donning an almost identical blue stripy tie.

Now I know I’ve already convinced you that Joseph Muscat must be from the same batch of plasticine the divine being carved Obama out of, but there is one extra similarity. This to me is actually fool proof. Look at the bio on their Twitter accounts.

Astonishing, isn’t it?