It must be a terrible thing to realise that your whole life so far has been a lie. That you’ve been lying to others and to yourself. That you were never really who or what you claimed to be.
That you were devoid of integrity, of decency, of honesty, and of honour – all that truly becomes a man.
Which is why Saviour Balzan is so bitter and twisted.
Because he’s struggling with the vicious sad truth that he isn’t the ground-breaking, keen-eyed, gifted journalist he desperately insists he is. I say “struggling” because he knows it, deep down, but really cannot admit it to himself.
This cold creeping truth inside him keeps fighting for the surface and so he’s stuck in a daily struggle to lock it away, to bury it under delusion and denial. He tries to force it under by repeating inane mantras to himself and any one who will listen about how “independent” he is.
He also knows, deep down, that everyone sees him for who he really is. Because there’s a reason he’s not awarded or recognised for his work.
Balzan’s only acknowledgement in life is the money being doled out to him by Joseph Muscat’s administration and the pat on the head he gets from people like Keith Schembri. They have him right where they want him, compromised and imprisoned by his own insecurities and greed.
And he knows this.
So like any one crippled by self-doubt and insecurity, he feels threatened by others all the time. He immediately deletes or blocks any and every critic on social media, lest they upset the little bubble of fiction he’s created for himself – and he sustains his fiction by pontificating to everyone else.
The hypocrisy of his position is laughable until you realise it’s a reflection of his internal struggle. He’s projecting his own personal strife onto others. He accuses everyone else of the partisanship, self-interest and dishonesty that governs his own nature.
But more significantly, as a man perpetually scared of the truth he is forever on the offensive against anyone who actively and truly pursues it. In other words: real journalists.
It’s why he takes every opportunity to jibe at Daphne Caruana Galizia and her family. Daphne, after all, revealed him to be the recipient of direct phone calls from the Prime Minister’s Chief of Staff at 1am after all – something that destroyed what frail illusion of his being a journalist he ever had before.
Such is his pettiness and the fragility of his ego that he cannot let that go, even in the wake of her horrific assassination. He cannot stand having been revealed to be a fraud, and so he continues to take swipes at her legacy. It must eat him up something awful to watch her garner award after award, to see her sons appreciated for being a hundred times the man he could ever hope to be.
It’s why he also ensures that people like Raisa Galea – the definition of a pseudo-intellectual if ever there was one – are given space on his paper to “analyse” Daphne’s work and legacy with all the finesse of a blind woman wielding a soviet sickle and hammer in a China shop.
It’s also why his targets are almost always other journalists and government critics. He punches down, or sideways, but never up.
Recently it was Ivan Camilleri of The Times of Malta, but he’s taken stabs at Caroline Muscat of the Shift News, he’s created false sources and stories on his own laptop in his own newsroom against MEP and Quaestor David Casa – one of the government’s main critics (and one of Daphne’s closest friends).
He’s also snide and disdainful about civil society groups, especially Occupy Justice and Repubblika.
It would be comical to see this old man cracking under his own hubris, were it not for his insidious and ongoing dark support from his slave masters. Deep down Balzan is wondering, as Shakespeare’s King Lear did, “Who is it that can tell me who I am?”
And the answer is: you’re a joke, to be forgotten by history. And you hate it. MaltaToday? You’ll be gone by tomorrow.