I write this post on the day of St. Paul's Shipwreck festivities. The feast of St.Paul brings to mind the lazy waking up on a public holiday, the late breakfast and the gradual shift to St. Paul's street in Valletta for the festa, the beer and the drink at San Pawl Nawfragu bar. So a toast to all the festa going folk who can afford to skeedle off to il-Belt for the Festa.
Here in the blogworld news trickles in slowly. I notice a new controversy involving Fabio Capello - the Juve coach. Apparently he made some remarks about Spain and the Franco regime and the reaction from the Hispanic press has been hysterical (though not, admittedly, that of burning Juve flags). Read Capello's clarification here. But also spare a thought for this new trend of feeling "offended" and "inflamed" by whatever someone else says or does. Be wary, be very wary. It is creeping in slowly and we will soon be seeing those who could never win an argument through logic and those who are dying to impose their values on other abusing of this new trend. They want to shut you up.
It is not a matter of being on one side (of a value) or another. It is a matter of being able to speak or not. It is not a matter of being a smoker or non-smoker but of being able to make the choice. I guess we are seeing the tip of the iceberg. And I am not just talking of Muslims. My vehement defence of the right to publish the cartoons could have been misinterpreted as some anti-Muslim stance - or anti-other values stance. Far from it. I am on the side of humour. That humour that teaches us to laugh about ourselves and that nothing is sacred that is human. Even if it is a very special kind of human. That human that can see a similarity between Mother Theresa (GBHS*)and E.T (MHAFAFLTPF**). In my personal set of values a good (very good) sense of humour lies high in the priority list. No laugh, no party, no life. And i apply it spiritually too.... because if our Creator did not intend us to enjoy this life and her gift to us... then I do not want to believe in her either.
And then there's this woman in Tanzania who leaves her son on a mat on the floor while she is out hanging the clothes. She comes back to find her child suckling on a dog. She goes hysterical. I'm sure she knows little of the history of Rome. That history that is shared by all of us and is of none of us to claim.
Which brings me back to Capello. I hated the guy when he was with Milan and worse with Roma. That was still when he fell foul of the conspiracy theorists in the Roma field. Those who believe that all evil begins and ends with Juve. I still don't particularly like the guy though I must admit he gets the best out of his teams. Last weekend he was in his old Roman self. Juve's penalty was definitely not one. The foul on Viera was inexistent. Capello did not have to reach into his roman past and come up with all that "Se l'arbitro ha visto il rigore c'era". Rubbish. Call a spade a spade. Thank God Pinturicchio finds it easier to score goals offside than from the 11 metre spot.
On the Rome side, the stadio Olimpico di Rieti was the theatre of arbitrarial errors in favour of the ever-victimised giallorossi. Totti did not seem at all angry when the referee whistled a non-existent penalty in his favour. The god of sportsmanship and intelligence was shown by the cameras trying to convince Chimenti that the penalty was as obvious as the 18 points that keep his team away from the peak. Being more used to having penalties awarded in his favour he found no difficulty in putting it away (punta - seems to have forgotten the teaspoon). But the next day the papers were all about Roma's newfound victorious streak. Strangely few mentioned the horrendous favours that Rometta had been granted. They too will forget and I can't wait to see their next banners of accusation. Falsi in bilancio, falsi in onestà. But we have learnt to expect the worst from Rometta.
That's my bit of free speech ranging from freedom to speak to freedom to criticise. I hope that within the next five years free humour will not have been driven underground. I really do hope that we will not come to an age of prohibition. otherwise even J'accuse can close shop!
*God Bless Her Soul.
**May He Always Find a Free Line to Phone From
Never Be Rude to an Arab
Never be rude to an Arab,
An Israeli or Saudi or Jew.
Never be rude to an Irishman
No matter what you do.
Never pull fun at a nigger,
A spic or a wop or a kraut,
And never poke fun at a [explosion]
Never be rude to a polack [Another explosion]
Music and lyrics by: Terry Jones