The saga continues...

Yesterday I witnessed first-hand the frustration and sense of injustice that lies ahead in my career. Similarly, I witnessed my country's fast-forward approach towards oppression - or shall I say a rewind towards the Dark Ages? It's as if our membership in the EU is nothing but a dream for us who believe that Europe is much more than just access to funds and less border controls. The truth is that there is absolutely nothing European about Malta.

Last month, on February 17th to be precise, the Court of Magistrates began hearing the case Il-Puluzija vs. Mark Camilleri. We heard the University Precincts Officer claim that KSU officials approached him with the 'offending story' - a claim which was vehemently denied by KSU but not by the Precincts Officer who testified under oath. We heard the Rector claim that he ordered the destruction of the Realta` publication, without even informing Mark about it, because such was his legal duty (and he wasn't imposing his moral views on anyone, you know). He also told the Court, in a brazen but calm demeanor, that university students cannot tell fact from fiction (since the story was published on a newspaper and followed an interview with the MUT chairman John Bencini it might easily be construed as a factual article). He also dismissed the notion that in the past stories used to be published in newspapers - to his knowledge no such things ever occurred. Unfortunately the great wisdom and wealth of knowledge came to a halt and the case was to continue on the 16th of March at 11:30am - a date and time that was specifically chosen by the Honourable Court so as to have ample time to continue hearing the testimony of various witnesses.

That was yesterday, a day which came and went as any other. It was the Librarian's turn to testify and this should have been followed by the testimony of Mark himself and Alex Vella Gera, the author of Li Tkisser Sewwi - a story penned in 1997. The librarian said many things but the crux of his testimony was that all students under the patronage of the UoM, and therefore also Junior College students, had access to the University library. This is an interesting revelation.

The Court, however, had other matters to attend to and the case had to be deferred to a later date. Frustration kicked in - an emotion which apparently I must get used to in my professional career. The defence counsel related how one of the witnesses lives abroad but to no avail. The moment Vella Gera's name was mentioned the prosecuting officer grinned and claimed "thanks a bunch for telling me this, Dr." He swiftly exited the Court room and asked Vella Gera to go to the police station for questioning. Vella Gera, who came of his own free will to give his testimony on his own story, now faces the same charges brought against Mark Camilleri. It seems as if the police have absolutely nothing better to do in this country.

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