Posted on December 27, 2007 by


I would not say that the celebration of the birth of baby J has been completely outshone by this bit of news but once the veil on communication of the past two days was lifted all the newspapers were unanimous in their agreement that the biggest news of the day was Dr Alfred Sant’s hospitalisation. J’accuse will of course join the chorus of good wishes that replaced the angelic choirs of the past few days in sincerely hoping that the MLP leader will pass this exam with flying colours and return to a situation of good health pretty quick as he would have it.

But J’accuse being J’accuse we have to stick to the motto of our blog… “La verite si je mens” (the truth if I lie). The sudden outpouring of empathy from all quarters – phone call from the President, immediate press releases from all heads of parties and a short letter from the government – is touching. More so in a time of festive joy and peace and all the cliches that go with it. Human-unkind has seen many instances where arms are laid down for the purposes of respect of a particular season/belief. The Olympian celebrations of the ancient Greek city states meant a period of peace since tradition obliged all states to lay down their arms during the Olympic Games. Skipping through a myriad of diplomatic examples we can remember the famous story of the World War I soldiers who left their opposing trenches in a cold December Christmas to have a footie kickabout in No-Man’s Land.

Even our mud-slinging partisan politicians have warmed to the idea of not campaigning (and hence not slinging the mud) during the Christmas pause. We are reminded that it is a time of peace and joy where the “values” of our society are refreshed. It is not time for failed projects or visions of Malta in the future but for remembering the family unit and how a poor family in need found many doors slammed in their face before settling away in a manger surrounded by a cow and an ass for heat. The parties normally observe their ceasefire and their only sin during this time (at least in my eyes) is the crass idea of collecting funds for their various nefarious spendings in a time when such money could be better spent. I’m sure they could quote back a story involving Judas, Mary Magdalene, Jesus and some balm but then what is it that they say about the devil and scriptures?

Anyways. My point is that behind all the shedding of the partisan masks to send Get Well Soon letters to poor Alfred Sant we all know that there are some very very hushed whisperings going on in the corridors of partisan power. My assumption is based on what is being said in the streets… and if the man in the street can automatically think it… then the masters who have brainwashed the people into partisan logical summersaults are probably sitting around a table of Christmas leftovers discussing the very same subject.

Of course the human side remains. No one is wishing Dr Sant anything but the speediest recovery. And that wish is to be found deep in the heart of the staunchiest Nazzjonalist, the diehard Lejberist and the greenest AD-er alike. Nobody is dark enough to expect any other outcome than Dr Sant back on his feet. There is however a wind of gossip that is whispering in everybody’s ear and telling the tale of a possibility… a possibility mind you… that Dr Sant will have to step aside after the operation to retire to a life of relative calm and spend the rest of his days (may the be numerous) writing books and memoirs.

What then? I have it on a very weak authority known as “detto del detto” (hearsay) that holds no water in court that the Nationalists are in a fine quandary. Should the stepping aside bit become reality Dr Sant’s sidestepping manoeuvre will have deprived the blues of what they know to be their greatest political weapon. It would seem that such news reaching Stamperija (PN headquarters) would be the equivalent of a barrowload of the proverbial refuse hitting a gigantic fan and spreading the brown stuff all over the fresh studios (partial;ly funded by moneies collected over Christmas). As for the Labourites, there must be at least two kindergartens of thought. The first made of the Santian die-hards must be crossing anything crossable on their person (Spare a thought for the Dame who must be the prime adorer of Sant, really our heart goes out to you Lorna). But knowing the way the Maltese power struggle works inside the partisan folds there must be many sharpening of proverbial backstabbing knives as the various contenders to the throne place their clumsy feet on the starting blocks waiting on the ready for an announcement should it ever happen (the second kindergarten of thought).

It’s an uncomfortable situation for both parties. As it is for us writing it I guess. For the sake of blockheads who tend to miss certain points when reading J’accuse (no particular person in mind, promise) – J’accuse is in full solidarity with Dr Sant and would hope for nothing more than seeing the man back on his feet, healthy and in good spirits. Trust me, after last summer we can sympathise with anyone in a hospital undergoing an operation. So NO we do not wish any harm to Dr Alfred Sant the person.

What we are stating here is what everyone else is thinking but will hesitate to say in public. We are bringing the grapevine onto the public channels of our blog. And the grapevine is saying many things. We have left out the speculation on what it is that is afflicting Dr Sant – whatever it is it must not be nice and we hope it gets stopped, cured or cut out as fast as possible and that recovery is prompt, proper and practically pain free. But the other speculation is there too. Because we are in an election run up no matter how many Yuletide Masks we manage to put on to cover the thick skinned partisan ideas we have. Because people are people and people talk. Because party mechanisms are built on this unsavoury side too.

We like to think that it’s not true. Sorry if we’ve spoiled your party.

Jacques Rene’ Zammit (Christian Democrat/Liberal)

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