April 8, 2014

Defending the indefensible

On the 3rd of April my daughter turned 10. Having a child is such a priceless gift and big responsibility and that is why any responsible parent should  invest all the love, time and money in the child’s formation, with the hope, that such child will grow up into a responsible and considerate individual…

A Maltese family recently had their child stripped away from them in such an unnecessary and irresponsible fashion after she associated with someone who should have been a source of guidance for their daughter and not, as it seems, the road to her absolutely tragic demise. I therefore couldn’t believe my eyes when I found myself reading actual messages of support, on the internet and in various forums,  for this teacher. A “teacher” who abused his position of trust by sleeping with his minor student, sometimes in her father’s own home,  and planned their supposedly joint “suicide” over a number of days. I have the greatest sympathy and pity for his parents, especially since they are known to be a decent lot but I find it very hard to conjure a lot of kind thoughts for him I am afraid.

What is even more unbelievable are those who are stating that this is a “rich” vrs “poor” situation or a battle of “classes” of some sort. Are the latter going insane? Are they actually saying that the death of this 15 year old girl, a daughter, a cousin, a niece etc, is less serious or tragic because she hailed from a prominent and well off family and the perpetrator is poor so he should have our sympathy? I also read that this happened because she was “disturbed.” Even if she was, since when does this warrant or deserve a death sentence?

There is no denying that sometimes, some of us, lose the plot and the correct sense of perspective. Another example is,  the web portal for Malta’s most prominent and respected newspaper. It had recently  ran two stories; 1. the killing of migratory birds 2. the killing of dozens of Syrian toddlers and pre adolescent children slaughtered in the conflict. Both stories had the same, very visible, exposure on the site. As yet, the story about the bird killings had literally hundreds of comments and the one about the slaughtered children, which included pictures of the dead children, had perhaps 8 comments. Now of course I am really sorry that beautiful migratory birds where shot out of the sky but this is no way comparable to the death of innocent children who’s only crime was being born in the wrong time and country. The hundreds of comments should have been on the story about the dead Syrian children and its really sad and telling that this was not the case.

Our collective morality needs an urgent retune and to all of you out there who think your problems are insurmountable please to think again. Help is at hand and much closer than you think…






  1. Birgit

    Thank you for being a voice for the vulnerable

  2. It is so refreshing to hear your thoughts, which are well considered, compassionate and responsible. Keep it up, Joseph!

  3. Claudio

    Can I say: “a surgical analysis”?

  4. Natalie Mallett

    I am glad you are of the same opinion as Daphne Caruana Galizia and several of us parents who do our best to help our children through their challenging teenage years. Somehow coming from you may make it more acceptable to those who despise DCG for being so sharp witted and precise in her analysis.

  5. Ang

    Bravo! This needed saying. Thank you.

  6. Mary L. Darmanin

    i subscribe to your point of view

  7. Pascal A. Demajo

    All so true!

  8. D.Galea

    Bravo.Well said.
    Every parent and grandparent should echo your sentiments.

  9. What a sobering expose of a haunting tragedy that has sent every parent in Malta with teenage children, deep in reflection, as to what may be going on with their kids that they know about and the rest that they don’t. Insofar as that so called “teacher” is concerned. I hope they lock him up for the rest of his worthless life and throw away the key

  10. Joanna Muscat

    Anyone wanting to help the migrant children can join our facebook group ‘Help the children at Hal Far’ – we need nappies sizes 4 / 5 , wipes and any other baby related items ..thank you

  11. Mark

    spot on Joseph. Prosit

  12. patick

    Very well said!

  13. Audrey

    Thank you for saying this….I can’t believe people are trying to put the blame on the only real victim in all this. I also hope that his ex students are reading this…..if I read another comment from them that he was a nice guy and that he helped her survive I will scream. In our society it seems that grooming and abusing (yes, it was abuse), a child is not as horrific as shooting a bird…(and though i’m completely against hunting, it is sad that we have more people who will speak out against the latter). Thank you for proving that there are level headed people out there.

    • admin

      Any child should fine solace and support from a teacher. There is nothing really abnormal about a teenager having some troubles and the mere suggestion that death was somehow “acceptable” in the circumstances is highly, and I do mean highly, disturbing!

      • Corinne Vella

        I agree. The suggestion that the victim deserved to die, or that her death was inevitable, is one of the most horrible reactions I have seen.

  14. R.Caruana

    I understand & agree with your views but the picture for what it is, is much bigger. This young man is also someone’s son, cousin, nephew, to sympathize is not to condone. It is not about taking sides but to seek justice, see that is it another time prevented at any cost & everyone has his part to do just that. This is an incredibly terrible tragedy for everyone even remotely involved & any amount of money is not even a factor in these issues.

    • admin

      You can clearly read in my comment that I sympathized and pity his family. I wrote the blog by reading various comments on different forums by his own students that this guy was actually BENEFICIAL (!!!!!!) to this poor girl. Anyone who displays traits similar to this man should be kept at least a quarter of a mile from any minors.

    • admin

      This “young man” as you call him befriended, slept (repeatedly) with a minor and at the very least, helped her commit suicide. I can’t even begin to write just how WRONG his actions are especially as her teacher. I am not advocating any kind of hate campaign against this individual but to actually offer words of support? As a father to a beautiful daughter, sorry that I can’t…

  15. Fabian

    Well said Joseph….we need to retune our morality and set our priorities straight….Like you I am shocked too as most people have given more attention to the poor dead cats of Mosta than to the tragedy at Dingli Cliffs….thanks for sharing your opinion with us…a breath of fresh air…

  16. Corinne Vella

    So true.

  17. David Battistino

    Well said Mr Calleja!

  18. James

    Fantastic post and what a relief to hear somebody put it so directly!

    Living our lives behind a computer screen seems to have led a lot of people to desensitise themselves to the most important issues affecting our society whilst being every ready to go up in arms to safeguard anything that’s fluffy.


  19. Carmen Zammit

    Well said Joseph!

  20. Marie Briffa

    congratulations Dear Joseph for your award.Thank God for your marvelous talent.
    If only you could find the time to sing with Federica Falzon on Ti Lascio una canzone. That would surely make her dream come through, besides making us so much more proud of our Maltese Talent.

    Marie Briffa

  21. Call for help

    Confidential, private (anonymous), free help online: is a Maltese internet site that provides anonymous support to young people going through difficult times of confusion, bullying, or relationship problems with parents, friends or partners.

    Support line 179 is a free, confidential, support service available 24/7. Call 179 if you need to talk to someone who can listen without judging you and help you find the support you need.

    • admin

      thnx for bringing this to my attention.

    • Call for help

      Calls to helpline 179 cannot be traced, so callers can be assured of complete anonymity if they wish to talk without identifying themselves.

    • Call for help

      The helpline information posted here is aimed at any readers here who may wish to talk confidentially to someone. There are no fees involved, and there is no obligation to reveal your identity.

  22. albert

    Mr. Calleja, great words of wisdom. But why should such a logical and honest evaluation be forthcoming only from you and a couple of other bloggers? This should have been said and written by our political and religious leaders and broadcasted all over the news media. But it seems all our politicians belong to the Malta Wishlist Party and our church is now the Church of Nice.

    Thank you for your erudite exposition.

  23. Margaret Galea

    Having children is one of the greatest gift one can have, it’s a big challenge and much as you try to bring them up in young respectable people, they always find something or someone that sways them. There’s no class when it comes to someone abusing a minor. If this guy had a mental problem, the authorities involved should have taken care of it. Regarding refugees and children of refuges, being killed, the Maltese who always have a heart of gold, seem to turn a blind eye to these poor people. I wonder if we were in their position, wouldn’t we want someone to help us.

  24. Erika Gauci

    Thanks for sharing my thoughts! I agree wholeheartedly with what you’ve stated as regards one’s priorities!

  25. Call for help

    The helpline information is aimed at any readers here who may wish to talk confidentially to someone. There are no fees involved, and there is no obligation to reveal your identity.

  26. Philip Incorvaja

    Excellent post. Says it all. So sad that some have their priorities screwed up.

Leave a Reply

Joseph's Blog

May 16th, 2016

Quo Vadis Eurovision and other stories

Malta did not win the Eurovision but lo and behold the sun still rose and the island (the center of the known universe) still spun…

My two cents is that Ira Losco gave a really good performance and that the whole presentation was excellent. She shouldn’t have performed cause she is pregnant? Come off it – I have performed repeatedly with pregnant opera singers well into their 7th and 8th month of pregnancy and trust me when I say that rehearsing and performing for a full opera production is much more physically demanding than a couple of days at the Eurovision. Of course there are those who know much better than the undersigned and who went on to say that the presentation was a tad “camp”…oh the irony when one considers that the Eurovision is the campest of them all.

Meanwhile, this wouldn’t be Malta and the Eurovision wouldn’t be the Eurovision unless its politicized to the exhaustible hilt. The inevitable “mud slinging competition,” which we will see a lot of in the coming 22 months, ensued and even yours truly (inexplicably) ended up in the midst of the fray, in yet another “supernova” in a tea cup. The Eurovision suddenly became an interchangeable bullet to be used ad nauseam by both sides much like bitter parents who use their innocent children during disputes.  I have always found sycophants interesting, even amusing but they will not be getting the much desired Streisand effect from me, thank you very much. It is part of human nature after all to conjure conspiracies and we are not going to let the simple truth get in the way of some exciting and convenient fiction.

Speaking of “conjuring” is it me or is a company advertising real estate using a chap “connected” with the tragic and unnecessary death of an underage girl? It must be a clone or a”doppleganger”, otherwise this would be the epitome of bad taste and a 100 shades of wrong. Don’t get me wrong I am all for “second chances” and all of that but shouldn’t there be due process first? After all Lisa Marie didn’t get a second chance did she?