Archive for March, 2012

Yana Mintoff gets her knickers in a twist

March 30, 2012
The article below is copied and pasted from today’s website. It reports an interview during the programme TVAM on TVM. I added my comments in red.
The Times, Friday, March 30, 2012, 08:21

Interviewed by Pierre Portelli on TVAM, Dr Mintoff Bland hit out at the production, saying it lacked respect for the former leader and painted him as violent and vindictive, when he was neither.

Yana Mintoff has to accept that there were certain episodes that can be interpreted as such. She may not agree. She can say where and why she does not agree with this interpretation of history. She cannot stop others from thinking what they think. I do not agree with what some people think and say about loads of issues – so what?

She also criticised the fact that the film had benefited from public funds (through the Film Fund).

If the processof awarding funds is open, transparent and rigorous than there shouldn’t be any problems. It would be terrible if funds are withheld because someone does not agree with the interpretation of events as presented in the film. Funding of a project (just have a look at the disclaimer on EU funded projects for example) does not necessarily mean that the funding agencies agree with the contents – it is none of their business in fact unless  the content incites hatred, violence etc. Get used to it Yana Mintoff.

Dr Mintoff Bland, who will be a PL candidate on the first district in the forthcoming general election, said that many people from Valletta and elsewhere had seen the film and many had walked out in disgust, viewing it as a waste of their money and of public funds.

So her constituents, who will probably vote for her because Muscat is pushing her and just because of her surname are irritated and upset. Tough luck.

The film, she said, was presented as a letter to her father. When one wrote a letter, one sent it to the person to whom it was addressed and expected a reply, she said. But that was not the case with this film.

Like I said, just say where and why you don’t agree and stop nitpicking about the film’s title.

Her father never had the chance to see this letter, despite being very up to date with what is going on.

Dr Mintoff Bland reiterated comments made in l-orizzont yesterday that she saw Nationalist involvement in the production.

Well, yes it might be a ‘Nationalist’ interpretation, then again it might not be. I don’t want to fall into the ‘la mhux maghna kontra taghna’ trap.

Dr Francis Zammit Dimech, who was present for the interview, denied PN involvement and said the film was necessarily limited by time constraints but it sought to achieve a balance. In his view, he said, one would rather have had footage of the violence committed during Dom Mintoff’s time instead of graphics as shown in the film.

Inviting someone else rather than Francis Zammit Dimech might have helped the discussion move away from the perennial PN versus PL game.

Dr Mintoff Bland  said the opening of the film was interesting, making use of old footage, but after 30 minutes the viewers started realising that there were ‘half truths’ and a lack of respect for the progress which Mintoff’s Labour government had brought about.

Dom Mintoff was shown as being partisan and interested only in his supporters. But didn’t everyone benefit from the social benefits which he had introduced? Hadn’t he eradicated poverty for everyone? Hadn’t everyone benefited from the freedom he achieved for the country?

Ok, yes, make your point and move on. Yana Mintoff wanted a hagiography it seems.

Dr Zammit Dimech said the format of a letter was an artistic form used frequently with regard to people in public life. He insisted that one should not expect to see only the positives in this day and age. Much had changed in broadcasting since Mintoff’s time.

Dr Mintoff Brand insisted that was not what she had said, but her father deserved to be respected and a letter should be sent to whoever it was addressed.

She regretted that the suldati ta l-azzar were painted through graphics almost as if they were Nazi or robots.

Dom Mintoff was painted as being violent and vindictive. Yet he was not violent or vindictive. Should somebody produce a film about the violence of the 1960s and the mortal sin episode?

Here she goes again with the ‘balance’ between PN and PL thing…whilst all other views are ignored of course. ‘Should somebody produce a film about the violence of the 1960s and the mortal sin episode?’

 If somebody wants to do it, yes why not? Yes, it should also be funded if need be and it would be scandalous if funds are withheld because of the subject matter.

But what a silly question. What’s her point? Many still have brains the size of peanuts and expect that criticism should be ‘balanced’ – between the PN and PL of course . Balance (in broadcasting) should mean giving the opportunity to everyone to express their views and positions – films do not come into the equation. Anyway the PL is constantly going against the spirit of the law on its TV station, its programmes are not open to all opinions.  Regarding ‘balance’ it’s like being in favour of EU accession  (since at least 1992, like me and AD) and therefore in some small minds (probably from Yana Mintoff’s constituency) by extrapolation ‘supporting PN’ instead of being in favour of the concept and issue.

Furthermore, how could one say that the Karin Grech murder was not political?

I think it was political in the wide sense of the word – it’s my opinion based on my perception of things. But to the question ‘how could one say that the Karin Grech murder was not political?’ … erm yes, ‘one can say it’!

Her father, Dr Mintoff Bland said, gave his life to achieve progress in Malta and now this film had come out with attacks against him.

I have sometimes been ‘attacked’ and called names on much smaller issues, e.g. for proposing a 30kph limit in residential roads in H’Attard, or in the comments section on news websites under reports on our PRs about subjects such as energy, party financing, divorce, overdevelopment etc. – pacenzja! I have never been attacked for being ‘violent and vindictive’. Ok, so you do not agree with that interpretation of events but get used to it.

Dr Zammit Dimech said the strongest attacks against Mr Mintoff came from the Labour side, and he was also described as a traitor.

Ok Francis, we don’t really care.

Dr Mintoff Bland said this case was shown in a very superficial manner.

Dr Zammit Dimech said he would not object to greater detail.

Dr Mintoff Bland also asked if there was government involvement in the decision to also show this film in Helsinki, as announced yesterday.

In a brief interjection by telephone, director-producer Pierre Ellul said he respected Mr Mintoff and the film was based on the experiences of people who used to live in those times.

Don’t waste your time trying to explain Pierre Ellul… in this country it is useless explaining anything to diehards whether it’s Yana Mintoff’s supporters or Lawrence Gonzi’s affacionadoes.

He said he had invited the Mintoff daughters to view the film.

Dr Mintoff Bland said they had chased Mr Ellul and not the other way around, and when she phoned him to get a copy to show her father, there was no reply.

When questioned, Dr Mintoff Bland said Dom Mintoff, now 95, is doing well. He had a good breakfast this morning and went out into the garden. She said he is keeping up to date and is full of courage.

Why did I bother commenting on such a petty squabble?

Albert Mizzi’s cheek

March 26, 2012

The Sunday Times (25/03/2012) carried an interview with Albert Mizzi yesterday. The cheek displayed by this man is astounding.

This man made a career rubbing shoulders in the corridors of power. Keeping his mouth shut as long as it suited him well and was good for business was his motto it seems. While holding the post of chairman of Air Malta he was also Boeing’s agent in Malta – cool.

He tells us that most politicians are dishonest. Ok. What he doesn’t tell us is that there are also those who wield a different kind of power (economic power?) who don’t lift a finger or speak up. There are also those who build a career out of sucking up to whoever calls the shots. As long as it’s good for business it’s ok.

Then he tells us he is ready to discuss Manoel Island – what? Cannot sell all those flats it seems. Maybe for once we’ll let the ‘free market’ work … Don’t build any additional flats then. Simple.

Ministries and Authorities should co-operate with local councils – AD

March 2, 2012

AD appeals to government to help local councils carry out their duties effectively and treat them as autonomous elected bodies and not as an extension of government departments.

AD Chairperson Michael Briguglio said: “Local councils should have full cooperation by Ministries and Authorities to implement their decisions and to enforce basic civic duties such as bye-laws and laws against littering, nuisance and respect for residents by commercial establishments. The election of green councillors next Saturday will ensure that Ministries and Authorities are publicly called to respect local council decisions.”

“Unfortunately local councils face bureaucratic hurdles, or a lack of interest on government’s part. A case in point is a draft bye-law drafted by AD councillor Ralph Cassar in H’Attard and tabled together with then Deputy Mayor Charlo Bonnici, which despite garnering the support of the whole council never saw the light of day. The bye-law sought to promote good neighbourliness by obliging commercial outlets to clean the area outside and next to their establishment since it is a fact that streets where there are establishments selling food, cigarettes and beverages end up full of litter. The bye-law would have given some extra clout to the local council to tackle this issue. However this bye-law got stuck, probably because of a lack of interest by the Ministry of Justice who are supposed to give the go ahead to councils to approve bye-laws. Local councils are also finding it very difficult to enforce laws, since they depend completely either on local wardens who only enforce traffic rules for a couple of hours a day or else on the police – who are either understaffed or are not interested in enforcing laws related to nuisance, littering and other infringements which they consider unimportant.”

Link to draft bye-law:

Andre’ Vella