Repubblika president Robert Aquilina has warned that the recent criticism of his organisation by PN candidate Alex Borg and others exposes “fascist sentiments and attitudes”.
“Those who know me know I believe in dialogue, but sometimes even dialogue has its limits,” Aquilina said this morning. “When the line of decency is crossed and all appeals for a sense of responsibility fall on deaf ears, there is no other choice but to speak publicly and clearly.”
“The recent attacks on Repubblika expose fascist sentiments and attitudes; there is no other word for it and there is no room for these kind of attacks in a democracy. Those who carried out these attacks must apologise immediately.”
“We’ve already passed through a situation where a person [Daphne Caruana Galizia] was politically and institutionally isolated and then killed afterwards. We won’t allow this fascist attitude to repeat itself.”
Yesterday, Borg came out strongly against the groups Repubblika and Civil Society Network (CSN) after CSN posted a Facebook post asking whether a new political party should replace the “faltering” PN as Malta’s main Opposition.
“Wholehearted condemnation to Civil Society Network and Repubblika,” he said. “I, PN candidate Alex Borg, completely disassociate myself from these entities whose main goal goes beyond the principles and values of our glorious party.”
“I’ve always believed in and followed the PN’s values, and I will work in favour of the PN and our leader Bernard Grech. Those two entities are irrelevant to our work in favour of Malta and Gozo.”
Repubblika and CSN are completely separate entities. CSN sprung to prominence in the wake of the assassination of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia in 2017, organising a number of street protests to demand justice, but its original structure has since been replaced by a group of youth activists.
Aquilina refuted claims that Repubblika is a “satellite” of the PN, arguing that the NGO has never used a single cent of resources from political parties and has no intention of contesting a general election.
“We criticise wherever, in our conscience, we see wrongdoing. We don’t contest elections or make electoral calculations. Those who don’t want to accept this reality must examine their democratic credentials,” he said.
The NGO head recounted how Repubblika activists faced vicious criticism, including by Prime Minister Robert Abela, last year after filing a criminal complaint over the death of irregular migrants at sea.
“We needed police patrols outside our homes back then,” he revealed. “However, the downpour of insults and threats didn’t silence us back then. We will say what we have to say and fight the fights we feel it is our duty to fight – no matter if there are a hundred or tens of thousands of people in front of us.”
Cover photo: Left: Alex Borg, Right: Robert Aquilina
Do you agree with Robert Aquilina’s statement?