Infinite riches in a small room
It’s very easy (or very difficult) to imagine a scenario where a particular historical event doesn’t take place and instead you end up getting an idea of what might have been if another major event did happen. was produced instead.
Christopher Marlowe, in the period immediately following the Great Siege, had imagined and written about an alternate reality where, instead of the Knights and the Ottomans fighting in Malta, a deal was struck between Spain and the Ottomans which would see our country pay a tax so that this siege does not take place and that peace reigns instead. In this alter-reality created by the famous British author of the first Elizabethan era, Malta had to pay a heavy price after ten years of non-payment of its debt to the Ottomans and the story of the Jew of Malta then unfolds.
The myriad of alter-realities is endless. What would have happened, and how would history have played out, if the Ottomans had won the Great Siege instead of the Knights of Malta being the victors? Or what if the Knights of Malta had won the war but then refrained from building our beloved Valletta as a monument of victory?
There are infinite riches in a small room.
What would have happened if the Maltese, having expelled the French at the turn of the 19th century, rather than surrendering to the British, had declared their independence and decided to take their future into their own hands?
What would have happened if the Maltese had not revolted in 1919? Or what would have happened if the consequences of the Sette Giugno had been much worse than they actually were, and instead of the Constitution of 1921 we would have received a regressive Constitution. Or, what if events were such that we received a full independence constitution in some form at this defining moment in our history?
What if Santa Maria’s convoy fails to enter Grand Harbor and we therefore lose to the cruel Axis forces in World War II? Or what would have happened to Malta if Sir Winston had decided to sell Malta to another foreign power at the time?
What would have happened if Mintoff had lost to Boffa in 1949, or if the conflict between Labor and the Catholic Church had not happened in the 1960s, leading to Mr Mintoff becoming Prime Minister for the second time in 1961? What would have happened if Malta had not become independent in 1964? What would have happened if Malta had become part of Great Britain after successful integration negotiations?
What would have happened if Malta had opted to adopt a more courageous and fully fledged American or French style presidential system in 1974, as opposed to maintaining the Westminster model?
In all likelihood, such an exercise would be completely useless… or not?
It was such an experience to give our full support to the wonderful participants of the Special Olympics Invitational Games held here in Malta.
Everyone who attended the events organized by the Maltese team, very skilfully led by Dr Lydia Abela, could see firsthand how much the event meant to the participants and their parents.
I was impressed by the high level of preparation of the participants and by the enormous amount of effort and energy expended by the Maltese organizers to ensure that the Games are impeccably organised. The smiles on the happy faces of the participants at the closing ceremony speak volumes.
I would also like to thank Anna Calleja who is truly dedicated to the cause. Congratulations to everybody !
This week, I paid a visit to the National Archives of Rabat, where I met the employees of this extremely important entity. On this occasion, we also inaugurated an exhibition – the second in a series of three – which is produced in collaboration with several European entities focused on solidarity and migration.
The exhibition itself is the result of very hard work and I encourage the general public to visit it.
The exhibition presents a study – from a historical perspective – of the concept of migration patterns in a post-Cold War environment. It contains 47 documents which present a whole list of historical events which give rise to reflections on this theme. Through these documents, one can see perspectives on terms that are widely used today: repression, persecution, political asylum, refugee camps, racism, anti-Semitism, genocide and ethnic cleansing.
The exhibition also contains elements of interactivity with the general public, which makes it much more interesting than the standard exhibition.
This is, in my opinion, the harm that humanity is capable of doing. But it is also kindness, altruism, empathy, tolerance, charity and solidarity. And also about the important contributions that immigrants make to the societies that provide them with a home.
In total, three types of documents are exposed: the first category deals with immigration and employment. The second deals with war-related immigration. And the third deals with political asylum and the price people had to pay by those who were involved in political uprisings.
The past is truly the cornerstone on which the future can be built and, more importantly, the exhibits show the value that can be derived from public records such as service records, dispatches, reports and letters. , to name a few.
I have immense respect for the National Archivist Charles Farrugia who has a great passion for the work undertaken. I thank all the staff for having done so much for our history.
Carnival is a party that has very ancient roots and traditions. This year it is held in May, rather than February. In this way, the hundreds of enthusiasts will be able to enjoy this celebration of colors for the first time after a two-year hiatus caused by the pandemic and not have to wait until next year for the Carnival to take place.
Carnival is certainly a party for the few. It is also a party for children and adults who like to see the work done by the so-called “dilettanti tal-Karnival” who are anything but “dilettanti”. The participants are artists in their own right who approach the event with professionalism and a strong passion.
Carnival has strong roots in Valletta, but not only. Various parts of the island like Hal Ghaxaq and Nadur in Gozo hold their own carnival in the village and they are successful. It is amazing to see the fantastic grassroots approach to this cultural event and as a government we are very proud to see this festival growing more and more year after year.
Not all countries can boast of having Carnival in their country. This is part of our tradition that we want to continue to encourage and invest in.