Let’s be positive about the progress of our Islands – By Lino DeBono

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Let us be positive about the progress of our Islands - By Lino DeBono“In very small Islands such as ours, with our traditions, habits and controversy, tend to start very interesting conversations and writings. Many are knowledgeable in History, Achievements, Politics, Village Feast and Saints. We have been and are enjoying good Leadership. We also enjoy a very excellent University, Higher Educational Teachings, Secondary and Primary Educations.

Health and Social Services are second to none, in actuality these are among the best in the whole wide world. Whenever I am abroad attending European Conferences and I bring up the subject of Malta enjoying Free Child Care facilities, many just can’t swallow how such a small Island with no prime materials can possibly ever achieve these facilities.

Many lament about the good old days of when one was young and still a child. Why? For the simple reasons that at that time their parents troubled themselves to provide and look after their families for food, education and all the multitude of necessities.

Therefore as children one could play, roam and run freely wherever his/her desires fantasies carried a child. So senior citizens such as myself do tend to reminisce and think about the good old days without taking into consideration what our parents had to go through.

We tend to forget our houses without electricity, water or drainage. Queueing after others at the street water taps to fill water in buckets. No toilet papers but only a piece of cloth to serve all the family. The rudimentary health care offered against payment (for those who could afford it) in a medieval hospital. The lack of Doctors and their limited medical knowledge or lack of medicines.

How primary schools were held in houses and of certain villages having boys to attend in the mornings and girls in the afternoon and vice-versa the following week. The copper ink pads. No TV – or Radio.

At 5pm. after eating and saying the Rosary, time and time again one will go to sleep on straw mattresses. The squalor and poverty of beggars knocking on doors for a piece of bread. All of these facts we tend to forget and say how good we were when young. When young everything looks rosy.

Children do not show division but do so when they grow older. First on the Village Feasts and Saints. Who has the most fireworks? Who qualifies best on the Saints merits? Which Parish is better than others? Certain Patron Saint supporters going to Church to note down how many times the Priest mentions the Saint’s name.

Then we had the people with the sincere and firm believe that our Islands could not survive without the British. Thousands were employed at the Dockyards, Navy, Ancillary Services, Naffi Staff, etc., etc. This was proven when a Referendum was made in the mid-50s when the majority voted for our Islands to be part of the British Nation.

This was then rejected by Britain after the Suez Canal War in 1956 when Britain/France and Israel had to retreat from Egypt under a War Treaty Ultimatum from Russia and America. This is when Britain changed the policy of Malta Integration and of being part of Britain.

Even till the present time we in our Islands still find several citizens who believe that we will be better under British Rule.

Some, to show their superiority in class, tend to speak in English and not Maltese even on Television. I hate this and believe it is demeaning to our National Heritage as Maltese. Maltese is such a unique language. In fact it is the only such language in the whole world. It is a language that we should, and be proud off. Our language is unique.

What Maltese and Gozitans have also a tendency is to be negative whenever they do not agree with others, whether it is written, spoken, religious or political. Whenever one writes an article or a comment, others after a while start writing negative and vindictive comments going completely off the subject.

This is now becoming a norm especially on Facebook – Messenger, Newspaper’s comments, etc. This is not right and Facebook plus all local newspapers must and have an obligation, to erase vile and threatening postings from these sites.

We are Christians or so we believe and say. These vindictive and damaging writings and comments demean those who make them. They also show the shallow side of our culture as a people and Nation.

Any person or writer can and must write what s/he believes in and their beliefs. For this one should not be rebuked or ridiculed. Ideas whether we agree or disagree with them are a must to elevate our culture, views and ideology.

Politics and politicians are in the forefront of this subject. If it wasn’t for politicians our Islands would have stagnated in its progress and way of life that we now enjoy. Just see how far we have progressed as a Nation from 1964 to now when we took our Country’s destiny into our own hands and direction.

So let us all be positive, let everyone let loose their personal ideas, hopes and expectations. With different and various views one can then choose and make up their own ideas. Be positive and not negative. These views are what I hold in belief and views.

We as a Nation, nowadays can value and evaluate the differences in our way of life. Our living conditions – in our work places – in the generality of food, entertainment – cloths – holidaying both locally and abroad – the hygienic upkeep of every individual – the repatriation of emigrated Maltese who came back after finding that our standard of living is better off than elsewhere.

The only thing that is serious and is bothering many locals is the disregard by exploiters to our heritage and disregard for others with these extreme buildings taking place. This has to be taken care off. Our Islands are small. We need our countryside with the farms and cultivation taking place.

We also have to preserve our National Heritage Sites which we are blessed with in our Islands. Firstly for ourselves to enjoy and also have others visit us to see what richness we in our small Islands possess.

So let us be positive and look forward to a better future for us, our children and our children’s children.”

Photograph by Alain Salvary

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    4 Responses

    1. Alain says:

      Here is a very, very interesting article. Yes you must be aware of the richness of your ” stone ” … Gozo is superb I agree with you

      Congratulations about your article

    2. anthony zammit says:

      Dear Mr DeBono, With pleasure I read your article and like you I hate negativity so let us call it a deeper insight. I agree with you that we have been and are enjoying good leadership. Our Prime Minister is as he himself said a good business man and with his calculations he got more than our country ever witnessed or expected. But now I ask ‘What then? He must have a good and clear future image for Malta but I never heard him include in his Future Malta anything about our Ancestor Heritage. Near the end of your write-up you said “have to preserve our National Heritage Sites which we are blessed with in our Islands. Firstly for ourselves to enjoy and also have others visit us to see what richness we in our small Islands possess” I agree with you but I am not satisfied with what we have excavated and maintained so far, I would like to see much more. You mentioned ‘our National Heritage Sites which we are blessed with in our Islands “ I would say that they are the tip of an iceberg for there are many more! And now is the right time to unearth them bring them to life for there is money and in money there is power. Our Prime Minister’s method of creating work and thus creating new income for people who could not afford even a 3 day holiday or pay their bills, eat meat at least twice a week, and so on is admirable. I take off my hat to him but there is another poverty. We need to enrich all citizens in our great archeology and inheritance. We have inherited many sites and filled our museums with things our lineages left us. At present I have a young man from India with me for a couple of weeks. He visited all sites in Gozo and some in Malta and with tears in his eyes he commented how lucky we Maltese are having our great inheritance kept in good shape and well displayed in Museums while it is not so in India!
      It is not true that all Maltese citizens enjoy these sites because they have to pay and as proof I invite you to see the multitude that goes in ‘Entrance Free days!’ We have nearly two million tourists visit us per year; do we need to charge a fee to Maltese who inherited these from their forefathers? Family member have the right to see them free of charge or at least like Sri Lanka by a token price for being a local and an offspring of the builders. It is so sickening that I am asked to pay to see the Cathedral’s Museum when I know the person who has sown together the zucchetto worn by Pope Paul II on his visit to Gozo!
      In few words, many Maltese will become wealthier if they know more of their glorious inheritance. Inexpensive charges could be introduced for Maltese ID owners and free for +60, which is fine for me, and make sure that all students would visit all sites in Malta and Gozo in their 15 years of studentship and visit them as part of their studies.
      It is very hard to see the Hypogeum, and I accept that. I suggest that a well done TV program should be filmed at the Hypogeum and a good reliable historical description should be given. What the presenter says should be ‘a backed up study’ by internationally known Maltese scholars (group of scholars). We have to be given deep and expert explanation of the site which will make us proud and full of wonder. This kind of Educational Programs should be done on all archeological and historical sites but again not by a man and his dog or a guy in the opposition who gives only a subjective presentation of our glorious legacy. If money is made from entrance fees, if money could be projected by the EU and from the Government’s wise investment, is it so hard to invest on a Virtual Presentation of all sites and Gems for the Maltese in their language purely as an educational enrichment and appreciation of us the progenies of these treasures! These programs should be aired continuously on an Educational Channel in Malta for the Maltese.
      Is this enough? No there is more and I only mention it because I believe in our dear Prime Minister. I have great faith in him that he can and will find it in his heart to do something about what I am going to suggest next.
      Everyone knows that we have more hidden gems both in Gozo and also in Malta. We know about them, sometimes we have a peep at them and soon after we bury them again to preserve them for we have no money to maintain them in the open-air elements. We have money now! I ask, isn’t it time when we have such a good economy, when we could have the backing of the EU and maybe even Japan and other countries and from locals who instead of doing their archeological field work in other countries, they can do it here in their home land. Can’t we take the Archeological Studies out of the University and build a new University just for this study which can also take foreign students? Malta has ample sites to keep students busy for many many years. We can have more sites which in turn will create more ‘entrance fees wealth’ but that is not the first aim. I want to DISCOVER hidden knowledge in writings which we might find inscribed on slabs. If we had people who built Ggantija and Tarxien Temples and Hypogium we must also have people who inscribed on stone tablets as the Ones the Phoenicians left us. This is not only Maltese Heritage but Humanities’ Wealth. There are still many questions still asked by many Scholars of the World’s ancestors and I have hope that we can find some answers hidden under some feet of Maltese soil before I die! Would I be so lucky to at least see that our Prime Minister took on this challenge and I die with such beautiful knowledge that our children will possess more gems to enjoy? Ggantija and other temples have already put us high in the World, let us put Malta on the highest point by finding more sites.
      We need to invite expert Cave Scholars in Speleology. I believe we have numerous caves yet to be discovered. Dr. Muscat is the strongest Prime Minister Malta ever had and if he doesn’t do this himself, no one else will. We need open minded scholars who will baffle the World in their findings. Have Ancient Aliens visited Malta? The world deserve to know what the Xaghra Circles are and be able to see them, see the old ruins discovered some years ago at Tac-Cawla in Victoria Gozo, restore to its glory the Roman Villa down at Ramla Bay. We do not have the Catholic Church burning or destroying pagan findings in fear of divulging the truth of many wrong doctrines.
      Dear Mr DeBono please tell the Prime Minister, that he is the one who can bring a new age in Malta.

    3. Lino DeBono says:

      Mr Zammit, you have made several valid points especially regarding our National Heritage. I do concur with your points that we collectively do need to do so much more to protect and restore/excavate much virtuously our heritage.

      Also your valid suggestion that fees for senior citizens/school children should be limited.

      I will write in the future about this subject which is very close to my heart.

      • anthony zammit says:

        Maybe we can sit around a table and join forces while someone will cook some nice steaks on a BBQ. It will be an honour to work with you.

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