Straight from Don Camillo-land

Malta Independent - - NEWS -

This Bog­danovic tale from Gozo has all the in­gre­di­ents of a tale from Gio­vanni Guareschi. Or from a Pep­pino skit on Mafia-land. Or more macabre tales from Latin Amer­ica. On Fri­day, Daniel Bog­danovic was ar­rested fol­low­ing a spot of do­mes­tic dis­agree­ment. But on Sun­day there was a match be­tween Xewk­ija Tigers, for whom Bog­danovic plays, and ri­vals Kerċem. Last year Bog­danovic scored twice in Xewk­ija’s loss against Kerċem, so his team needed him.

As a re­sult, an or­der came from Vic­to­ria and the player was re­leased so that he could play in the im­por­tant game. Xewk­ija won the match 2-1. Any­way, on Mon­day he was meekly ar­rested and ar­raigned in court. We have not been told where he spent Sun­day night.

Were it not for the comic as­pects of this tale, we should be shocked at this fast and loose ap­proach to law ob­ser­vance. We are speak­ing here of a case of fam­ily vi­o­lence, or at least an al­leged case of. We are still in a coun­try where fam­ily vi­o­lence still strug­gles to be no­ticed by the po­lice au­thor­i­ties, as many women will tes­tify. That a foot­ball league game seems to have been given prece­dence over law en­force­ment is much worse than a sick joke. We do not know who or­dered the Vic­to­ria head of po­lice to or­der the player’s re­lease and in Par­lia­ment on Mon­day, Min­is­ter An­ton Re­falo re­acted with ve­he­mence at an in­sin­u­a­tion by Ja­son Az­zopardi who dared ask if it was the min­is­ter who or­dered the player’s re­lease. Dr Re­falo was once ac­cused of or­der­ing the Gozo Chan­nel ship to turn back and take him in but he later said the or­der had been given by a mem­ber of his staff with­out his knowl­edge.

There is an in­quiry on this case but who wants to bet we will not get to know who gave the or­der and whether the per­son who gave the or­der is go­ing to be made to pay for his ac­tion?

The rot is wider than that: Laws and reg­u­la­tions are there to be put aside when cir­cum­stances so dic­tate, and these cir­cum­stances which may seem tri­fles to many peo­ple, are so ab­so­lutely im­por­tant to those in­volved in the game and the league. Pri­or­i­ties are turned up­side down and what’s worse per­sonal in­ter­est, club in­ter­est, maybe po­lit­i­cal in­ter­est (be­cause in Malta ev­ery­thing is po­lit­i­cal) are much more im­por­tant than ob­serv­ing the law.

In our my­opia, vil­lage or team loy­alty goes much fur­ther than ob­ser­vance of the law. We wait and see what the in­quiry will come up with but un­less the real cul­prit is found and pun­ished, the coun­try will have been given a sig­nal that laws are there to be cir­cum­vented.

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