Friday 15 December 2017

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“There was an Italian who came to Malta…”

Don’t get me wrong, I get annoyed as the next person when someone criticises Malta and the Maltese (only we are supposed to do that OK?)

But while the Italian owner of the restaurant La Piccola Calabria  has justly earned the wrath of the most of the population for his offensive comments about us on Facebook* during the Malta-Italy match last night, I do think we are over-reacting ever so slightly.

I’m as patriotic as the next person, but it seems to me that the calls to boycott his restaurant were not enough for some people. They want – it seems – his blood. This is one of those traits in my fellow nationals which just leaves me shaking my head as I experience one of those “I just cannot relate” moments.

I really do think I need to check out my DNA.

Why all this fury? Why all this gnashing of teeth, shaking of fists and snarling at this guy? Why can’t we just laugh off  his idiotic behaviour and turn it into satire, showing it up for the absurdity that it is?  Comics could have a field day on this incident alone, and I’m fully expecting Alan Montanaro from Panto and Sander Agius from Zoo to write it into their next scripts.

For what entrepreneur in his right mind, who has a business to run, would insult the very customers he needs to keep his restaurant profitable?

But there is something in this hot-blooded nation of ours which simply refuses to let something go. Too many people are incapable of rising above an insult;  as we say in Maltese “iridu s-sodisfazzjon“.   I noticed this during the tiresome debate which went on between the “Mintoff was a bastard vs Mintoff was a Saviour” factions.     It was not enough not to agree with it or to ignore whatever upset them – no, people went ballistic and actually ENJOYED sharing the very comments which were making their blood boil.  Gesu giez.

“He thinks we are inferior” people were wailing all over FB last night about the Italian chef. But hold on, do you feel you are inferior? If not, why should this one man’s opinion matter?  Frankly, this superiority/inferiority complex thing when it comes to foreigners can only work if we buy into it. Rise above it, retain your dignity, is my advice…but obviously, that’s not what people want to hear. Rising above it does not quite work when someone is twitching for a good punch-up.

As a country, we enjoy and relish confrontation, period.

No wonder new blogs such as that of Franco Debono’s have skyrocketed through the roof on Alexa.com – he is clever enough to know that people love nothing more than a good slanging match, preferably by picking a target and lashing out at him/her with gusto.

Quite clearly, I am in the minority on this – so I will just sit back and observe the show until something new comes along which triggers our national angst or wounded pride.

Meanwhile, if there are any rotten tomatoes left over from that cancelled tomato fight, I know this place in St Paul’s Bay…

 

*FOR THOSE WHO MISSED THE EXCHANGE HERE IT IS:

Lapiccola Calabria ITALIA 1 MALTA 0…………….E VAIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII FORZA CAMPIONI FACCIAMOGLI ALTRI 10 GOAL. DIAMOCLI UNA LEZONE DI CALCIO……ANDATE A RACCOGLIERE PATATE MALTESI LASCIATE PERDERE IL CALCIO NON E’ COSA PER VOI
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Julie Penzer likes this.

Tony Camilleri Se non erro’ lei sta quadangniando da vivere, do noi piglia patate.
33 minutes ago · Like

Lapiccola Calabria SE NON VENIVAMO NOI ITALIANI A PORTAR QUA I NOSTRI SOLDI E LA NOSTRA INTELLIGENZA EIMANEVATE ANCORA ARABI BEDUINI IGNORANTI………ORA SE HAI ANCORA VOCE VAI A CANTARE LE TUE CACATE arabooooooooooooooooo
See Translation
31 minutes ago · Like

Tony Camilleri Mia madre e italiana e credevo fino a adesso, che gli Italiani, erano gente educata, ma sempre che Voi Calabresi siete ancora Saraceni.
16 minutes ago · Like · 3

Lapiccola Calabria E CI VANTIAMO DI ESSERE SARACENI PERCHE’ AABBIAMO PORTATO LA CIVILTA’ VOI INVECE SIETE RIMASTI ARABI………MI DISPIACE PER TUA MADRE CHE HA UN FIGLIO COME TE CANE ARABO
See Translation
13 minutes ago · Like

Tony Camilleri Non mi degnio neanche di rispondervi. Io sono stato molto educato con lei, perche mi piace di sapere che lei invede di morire di fame, siete venuti qui per poter mangiare una paniotta. E adesso buona notte.
8 minutes ago · Like · 1

Lapiccola Calabria IO LA PAGNOTTA L’HO PORTATA A VOI MORTI DI FAME………………..IO NON FACCIO IL PAGLIACCIO COME TE PER MANGIARE…………..IO POSSO GODERMI LA VITA SENZA LAVORARE E SAI PERCHE? IO SONO INTELLIGENTE E COLTO. TU IGNORANTE E PAGLIACCIO

  • Ethelbert Schembri

    I admit that I was a bit cross about it and he made it worse by stating that someone have ofended him and he reacted back, and it wasn’t the case.
    But I don’t agree with those that want revenge, we already mad our point by voicing our disagreement with with him and his ideas, we even know that not all Italians are like him. He thinks he’s superior to all of us but in fact by his own words he proved the contrary :-)

  • Joe

    This Italian guy must have been drunk…. or worse. No businessman in his right senses would say such things about his patrons.

    I love Italy and have traveled all over the peninsula and many of the islands. Some years ago I was in Reggio Calabria and it is the only region that I will never visit again as it is so depressing, chaotic and full of criminals.

  • Carmen Sammut

    I can understand why so many people are angry! This limited Piccolo Calabrese chose to use the word Arab as a pegorative term. His ramblings imply that we are uncivilised savages. Can you think of worse insults? Here, we are at the receiving end of blatant racism! If I remember correctly he is the owner of the restaurant that had earned very awful reviews by one newspaper columnist! So maybe now we have two reasons not to go there.

  • Rose Sciberras

    I am definitely not after my pound of flesh. I’ve never been to this person’s restaurant nor would I ever want to but I wouldn’t want to see him closed down – not for this incident anyway. However you do have to admit that what he said was very highly offensive – yes, I must admit it made my blood boil when I read it. I think what made it worse for me was that after all those insults (and when he probably realised he had shot himself in the foot) he expected everyone to be “amici come sepmpre”! So apart from being racist he also thinks we are imbeciles. An ignorant buffoon who would make a perfect subject for a rotten tomato bash… after which, I would gladly invite him home to have a shower! :D

  • good one Josanne…I relate with you :)

  • Doris Mallia

    I don’t really think that anyone will be stupid enough to retaliate on the guy using physical violence … but then, on the other hand, I don’t think that anyone should be stupid enough to call at his restaurant ever again given how he treats his patrons, both actual and potential.

    The best way to deal with the guy given his comments would be to undermine his business using the simple vote of the market, so that we can eventually see HIM harvesting potatoes in Calabria or the Middle East.

  • Joe

    Like all Maltese people I did not particularly enjoy what this Italian said about us. It is natural to feel this way I think. However I completely disagree with what many Maltese people are doing to him on Trip Advisor: http://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g608946-d1795577-Reviews-La_Piccola_Calabria-St_Paul_s_Bay_Island_of_Malta.html

    In the past I have posted reviews on Trip Advisor and I have always been truthful. I might have been a tad too passionate but I never lied about anyplace that I visited. Many of the recent reviews about this chap’s restaurants are obviously made up. This goes against the spirit of Trip Advisor and is puerile and counterproductive.

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