Controversy over picture of Malta’s national flag mixed with the flag of the LGBTIQ community
In less than a month since being appointed as Minister for Equality, Edward Zammit Lewis has been embroiled in a controversy as a result of a gesture after he posed for a photograph holding a flag one half of which is Malta’s national flag and the other half the flag used by the LGBTIQ community. Dr Zammit Lewis defended his gesture after a controversy erupted in social media on the pros and cons of the flag and criticism that Malta’s flag has been discoloured.
The LGBTIQ community is currently planning its Gay Pride Parade and presented the flag to Minister Zammit Lewis as Minister for Equality. Gaby Calleja maintained this was purely a symbolic act to show that today Malta has accepted diversity following reforms granting rights to the community and is in no way an attempt to change Malta’s national flag.
However, on social media many expressed their dissatisfaction at this symbolic act. These included Nationalist Party MP Edwin Vassallo who expressed his disappointment at the Minister’s participation. He maintained that the Maltese flag is Malta’s while explaining that although there should be respect for diversity it is now apparent that a minority has taken over the majority.
Minister Zammit Lewis defended his participation and the criticism on social media and said that although he undoubtedly respects Malta’s national red and white flag he also feels privileged that he forms part of a Government that has implemented unprecedented measures to respect diversity and maintained that the picture in which he posed was purely an act to favour civil rights.
The opinionist Peppi Azzopardi argued that the chagrin caused by the picture clearly shows that much has yet to be done in society to establish respect for diversity and that the criticism made merely reflected false patriotism.
It is not excluded that this symbolic act was inspired by the Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau who recently waved a Canadian flag mingled with the LGBTIQ community flag.