Malta gets a lot of accolades along the lines of Most Beautiful Place, Paradise on Earth, Most Stunning Beaches etc etc. What it hasn’t been awarded so far, at least as far as I’m aware, is the gold accolade for double standards.
Which is very strange really, considering what professionals we’ve turned out to be at that sort of thing.
Just think about it. A Muslim lady tries to have a swim in a burkini and gets banned on grounds of hygiene. The same standard, however, fails to be applied to anyone who wears normal shorts and a t-shirt, or who fails to take a shower before dipping their stinky toe in the pool.
An arts festival gets shot down because of ‘noise’, while petards at 7am or 11.30pm get rounds of applause.
The latest spectacular display of double standards happened on Saturday at the feast of Stella Maris (read all about it here:http://www.timesofmalta.com/articles/view/20140824/local/woman-fined-for-running-dancing-in-bikini-near-religious-procession.533053), where some hapless woman wound up with a conditional discharge for running around in bikini while in a less than sober state.
Excuse me? Judging by all the photos that are uploaded every weekend to showcase every village’s patrun, being half naked and drunk is sort of obligatory if you want to attend one of these shebangs. If formal invites were given out, I’m pretty sure that the part where is says dress code would read: drunk and half-naked.
When Ċetta tal-kantuniera emerges in all her glory for the marċ ta’ filgħodu, wearing obscenely tight leggings, a bra top and enough vodka fumes to kill every living thing within a 10 mile radius, no-one calls the boys in blue to request handcuffs pronto.
No, they offer her another beer or whatever, hoist her on their shoulders and continue shouting in honour of the poor patruna, who is probably face-palming away in embarrassment beyond the pearly gates.
When Pawlu taż-żebgħa starts puking right in front of the titular statue, no-one calls ‘blasphemy’. And when the whole parish youth centre starts screaming obscenities against the rival każin (!) it’s all shouts of encouragement.
But lo and behold, when a foreigner indulges in similar behaviour it’s heads a-shaking, tongues a-wagging and għarukażijiet aplenty. How’s that for double standards?
This poor woman’s only fault was to turn up early at the party. If only her boat had docked a couple of hours later she could have behaved in exactly the same way during the marċ, which is the catholic equivalent of the after-party. And no-one would have noticed her because they’d have all been doing way worse.
As it was, because she was inconsiderate enough to get the party rolling before Ċetta and Pawlu, they called the police on her. Mind you, this comes from a catholic community that supposedly prizes helping out the neighbours above all else.
Judging by all reports, this woman was not being aggressive. She was just being a bit silly in her bikini – and bear in mind that this happened at the Sliema ferries, where people running around in their bikinis are not exactly thin on the ground (every pun intended).
The only thing that any half-decent person would have done was to take her aside gently and encourage her to continue her song and dance away from the centre of things.
A real catholic worth his salt would also have ensured she got home okay. Instead, they called the police. Well done, you law-abiding citizens, you. That must have really scored you points with the patruna up there – not.
And finally, just to score the trifecta of double-standards, this poor woman was not only hauled up in court on a Sunday (something typically reserved for rapists and serial killers) and slapped with a two-year conditional discharge, but the courts also forgot to put a ban on her name.
You get charged with molesting kids, it takes a full-blown appeal just to lift the ban on the name. You have a bit of a dance in your bikini, and just because a religious statue is involved your reputation is shot to pieces across the country.