Gozo remembers the tragic events of the siege of 1551
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Through a series of activities, the Ministry for Gozo has recalled the victims of the siege of 1551, a horrific chapter in the history of Gozo, from 466 years ago.
The Ministry said that is why this year, it wanted to highlight its importance, as a reminder of the tragedy, believing that although it is an ugly episode, it is however a part of the history of our people, which should not be forgotten.
Two events, an exhibition of works by Gozitan artist Chev Paul Camilleri Cauchi has opened at the Cultural Centre until the 31st of August, and the Siege of 1551 ballad, written by Gianninu Cremona and interpreted by actor Mario Micallef, was held last night.
The message of the Minister for Gozo Justyne Caruana on the two events, was that the commemoration was for the Gozitan people who suffered, because those who were supposed to protect them had failed to do so.
In 1551 the Ottoman force attacked Gozo following an unsuccessful attempt to conquer Malta, resulting in around 5,000 people, who formed the majority of the population of Gozo, being taken into slavery.
This was Gozo’s greatest tragedy, when many men, women and children, a lot of them unnamed, died either during the attack, or when they were taken into slavery.
The siege ended in 1551 when the Gozitans had to capitulate and open the doors in the Citadel walls because they were no longer able to defend themselves and their families.
Dr Caruana said that this event reminds us of the hardships experienced by our ancestors because they were living on a small island, without adequate defences and without the necessary resources, when the Gozitan people suffered stress, division and death.
Minister Caruana pointed out that today thousands of people are crossing the Mediterranean daily to escape persecution in the hope of a better life, but our seas can become a tomb for many of those that attempt the crossing.
Dr Caruana stressed how important it is to continue to remember these events, to learn about who we are and where we come from, but above all to understand more about what is happening around us, with a sense of solidarity and fairness and with respect for the suffering, as that of our ancestors in the past.