(the Times of Malta, June 15, 2006)
- square brackets and highlights are mine
The Red Cross volunteers' protest outside their quarters has momentarily drawn the public's attention to the credibility of philanthropic institutions in Malta. However, the cry was suddenly hushed up by the media [TGIL is a clear advocate of the main Labourite conspiracy theory] and no outcomes were further reported [note the use of the word "outcomes" - sounds good doesn't it?... think again!].
It has come to my knowledge [It came slowly and surreptitiously notwithstanding the gags provided by the media hushing club] that, at least in the case of a particular organisation, some of the funds collected in aid of victims of natural calamities were retained to pay the wages of a full-time employee.
Philanthropic institutions appeal for our mercy daily on TV and at our doors [I myself (TM) cannot get rid of the damn monk who keeps crawling at my fit begging me to stop beating him whenever I feel like] . They collect record sums of money [poetic license - record as against what? the miserable amount collected by the Ku Klux Klan?] which would later be at their disposal for charitable aims. Political parties have, throughout the years, gone into the same habit of collecting money that should be spent to uphold their political principles and to run the parties [nasty habit indeed... is she condemning it - does Sant know?].
This seems to be working much more than any other technique of collecting money. However, when philanthropic organisations do not publish their accounts at the end of the year [as against the clear accounts published by political parties with clear indication of the source of their monies] , or when they turn away volunteers [enter the grudge], the situation starts getting suspicious. When they exclude people, or when they serve as a showcase for "exhibitionists" they start losing their scope.
Sometimes membership of such organisations leads to success in a political career [Aha! Iz zis vy you vant to choin ze Karitas?]. At other times, the work of members of philanthropic societies or NGOs overlaps too much [what's the limit anyway?] on that carried out by members of political parties or local councils [Yep indeed. I can see very well Seqa's work overlapping with that of Ninu Zamit, George Pullicino, Alfred Sant and Jason Micallef]. And, at the end of the day, you'll realise that some people do manage to don saintly attire and work their way to very terrestrial positions of power and/or of wealth [Saintly vs terrestrial zat iz di qveschin. "From Saintly attire to terrestrial position, my life in reverse by L.Vassallo".]
But all money donors [ note the intriguing coining of the term "money donors" - artistic license deriving the concept from blood donors - surely inspired by the Maltese expression "jixorbulek demmek"] should remember the subtle but very important distinction between their money and themselves [yes. you have a soul, your money is just lent to you for some time by the government]. The idea is one that runs parallel to what could be said during election time - they care much more for your vote than for you [Slowly. Think slowly. This is Lorna thinking - you need to take your time. This convoluted pythagorean metaphor is equating money to votes and you to erm... you].
All organisations and parties have hierarchies. And hierarchies have leaders and followers. This is something dictated by nature as most people prefer to be followers [But not Lorna]. In the same way, any organisation has active or passive members. And a number of other people prefer to stay out of the whole affair. This is how structures in any civilised society are formed. [is it civilised society or a natural state... hmm lapsus]
However, when the freedom of a person to associate himself [the Lorna Conundrum: when writing about persons always assume schizophrenia. "to associate oneself" is a direct logical result that seems reasonable to anyone who begins sentences with the phrase "I myself"] to any organisation, party etc and to be active in it is stifled, especially if this impediment is created by the leaders who should act to enlarge the number of members, then the genuineness of a philanthropic or political society or organisation is put into question. [The Lorna Special: long-winded sentence to hynotise you into agreeing. Read it. Without my brackets. She is trying to tell you that sometimes persons have no interest in letting others into the big mafia of philanthropy].
[Drumroll] I myself [see the Lorna Conundrum] have given and still give hundreds of liri to charitable purposes [Wow. The humility of it all. Does it include Saviour Balzan's Libel Fund?] . And everybody accepts my money [Duh!] . It was only this year that I dared to move closer to this noble cause [presumably the noble cause is not accepting money but doing da missionary thang] and planned to go to Africa on missionary work. After a long time of having attended [The Lorna Split Tense Conjugation] regular meetings and started being [idem] active, I was told I could not go [Where?]. The persons involved said they had prayed for hours to decide upon my case [Aha. Asking God what to do with Lorna... cruel...could he phone a friend?] . It seemed too embarrassing after all the work I had done and the money I had given along the years. Yet, both me and my help were rejected although my money never was! [Hence "Your money but not you"]
What had actually happened was that, due to my contacts, I had gathered quite a group of people working on part of a project that would have helped collect more money. [Presumably on the condition that she gets to go to Soweto]
By the time my participation was refused, I and other people that worked with me [always note the Lorna Conundrum requires her to be presented first] had given services and incurred expenses that a court of law would have quantified at over Lm500, one of the reasons being the fact that everything was done professionally. [A Court of Law would probably have also explained the concept of voluntary work where the underlying causa of the agreement is that you volunteer to work for no pecuniary remuneration].
What came out so clearly was, however, that whoever worked with me on my part of the project was also rejected and the work s/he was offering freely was also rejected. Eventually the whole project was rejected - after being finished [Erm. Rejected or finished?]. In all, there were five more people who worked with me and all were given the cold shoulder when it was too late.
It was obvious that I was becoming too active for somebody's likings. Only some people can enjoy the benefit of being active members. Others will be dumped as soon as they start acquiring some importance. [Somehow I get the feeling that what got Lorna into a twist was not so much the inability to reach the needy with her professional enthusiasm but rather the inability to twist her way to the corridors of philanthopic power].
This case of my refusal as volunteer is still being dealt with in the right way, however it does seem to indicate that something does not allow me to be active in the philanthropic field [The case of her refusal to understand basic grammar is still the subject of intense scientific study]. Coincidentally, I started tracing down the members of the group and found some interesting curiosities. An evident pattern emerged which I will be speaking about eventually. [Don't you just love TGIL. Just when you thought it could not get any worse she comes up with "interesting curiosities" - look out for the insider report on the Dirt in Philanthropy - soon in your stores].
Money is the most exchangeable of goods [Because it is not a good in itself but that's another story]. It can be changed into anything once handed over. Money is usually accepted no matter how unwelcome the source is. [Erm.. there are laws you know. Try the Money Laundering Act for instance].
Voluntary work is another thing. As to volunteers - you have to accept the whole person. And a lot of people leading societies, organisations, funds and political parties would dump you as soon as you start getting closer - either because you're too bad or because you're too good [Or because you are too fond of getting important].
Don't worry, everybody will accept your money but not everybody will except you. The next time you're asked for money, look the one asking for it in the eyes and see whether his charitable purposes are just charitable [the Lornian Lapsus - JUST charitable] or whether there may also be some "exhibitionist" tendencies [Do you mean like the Jesuit stripper?], especially originating from non-religious motivations [Like maybe promoting the use of condoms?].
I will definitely have to change my channels to funding the hunger in Africa from this year on. The pity is, I do really want to get to those people and help them.
ADDENDUM: In a joint press statement the Congress of African Leaders deplored the apparent embargo that exists on philanthropic activity by certain prominent columnists in Malta. The leaders expressed their sorrow that Dame Lorna of the Conundrum could not get to them as fast as possible and, in particular, they expressed their concern that no alternatives could be found for FUNDING THE HUNGER in Africa (sic).