The Maltese National Anthem Lil Din l-Art Ħelwa was written in 1922, and through the decades, many people have felt that it needs a little bit of a revision. Well, in light of a very eventful year, one Maltese person did just that.
The man, Jean Pierre Cassar, posted the revised edition of the anthem this morning. Using the original verses as a template, the poem subverts the familiar messages many a child memorised during school assemblies.
As expected, one of the main references is last Monday’s tragic events which saw investigative journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia assassinated by a car bomb outside her house.
Read the poem in full below:
Din l-art ħelwa qiegħda tolfoq
Għax mhux tagħraf lilha nfisha
Din xi xena minn tal-gwerra
Fejn hi l-ħlewwa ta’ isimha?
Għaliex bgħett ruħek u ġismek?
Għax żverġnajt l-identità?
Għax inxtrajt u baxxejt rasek?
Għax rażżant il-libertà?
Fejn hu qiegħed dan il-Kbir Alla?
Biex jagħti d-dehen lil min jaħkimha
Prova seddaq din il-għaqda
Qabel jitmermrilha ġisimha
Int xi ġralek Malta tagħna?
Fejn hi s-saħħa lill-ħaddiem?
Kemm inbdilt? Ma’ min għamiltha?
Għaliex m’iniex ngħarfek jien?
X’waħda din hawn x’inhu jiġri?
Din splużjoni! Dawk nirien!
Qed issemmik id-dinja kollha,
Magħruf demmek kullimkien!
“It all started when I was sitting at home watching TV last night,” Cassar told Lovin Malta. “Each and every channel, local and international, was running stories and opinion spots about last Monday’s tragedy.”
“At one point, my mother commented on how the whole world is mentioning Malta, and that reminded me of that famous poem that says ‘Issemmik id-dinja kollha, magħruf ġmielek kullimkien’. That, along with the National Anthem of course, was my inspiration. Yes; the whole world is talking about Malta right now, but it’s not to praise its beauty”.
Other parts of the poem carry different moments of intertexuality, such as the ‘Din xi xena minn tal-gwerra’, which is a reference to Matthew Caruana Galizia’s status after his mother’s assassination on Monday which really struck a chord with Cassar.