7 Absolutely Savage And ABZ Moments From Malta's History
From a nation famous for being the country that lost all the fucks to give
Maltese people are generally known to be quite ala żobbom in general. From Clinton Paul to Żaren tal-Ajkla, we are a country who does not give two fucks about what people think about us. We all know how sometimes we are what one might call ‘nar tat-tiben’, however that is not always the case.
And while our ex-conquerors seem to have actively tried to hide all the (successful) moments of Maltese people getting the upper hand just by being ala żobbom, some stories have still managed to engulf local legends and create Maltese heroes.
1. Hell hath no fury like a Maltese person scorned
As we all know, in 1565, the Ottoman Armada swarmed our islands, making the Knights of St. John and the Maltese population simultaneously crap their pants all at once.
Despair and panic had spread throughout the island like never before — farmers were uprooting their homes and families, and children were sent into hiding. The Ottomans had arrived, and nobody felt safe, so the people did what any Maltese person would do — they harvested their crops, even the ones that were not yet ripe, and they set fire to all the fields.
Oh, and they threw a bunch of dead animals in the wells to poison the water, just for added gusto. If this does not scream Ala Żobbna to you, we don’t know what does.
2. Baked or Fried?
Another insane moment from the Great Siege.
The Ottomans took complete control of Marsamxett Harbour and had started attacking both Fort St. Michael and Fort St. Angelo — managing to take over St. Michael momentarily and even hoisting their drab flag on it. Thank God for the Knights though, they managed to get it back strategically by attacking the Ottoman (summer) camps in Marsa. Some time after that, the Ottomans also managed to take over Birgu but were driven away by the Maltese people throwing stones (read: giant ass rocks, most probably) and pouring hot oil all over them.
Yes, hot oil. Have you ever found yourself frying an egg, only to have a tiny droplet of oil catapult itself onto your arm? Do you have any idea of how much those sons of bitches burn?
Now, imagine yourself dangling from the fortifications, sword in hand and probably holding onto a rope with the other, sweating in the Maltese cruel heat, most probably dying of thirst too, weary from months and months of battle, only to have giant canisters of boiling oil accompanied by well-sized rocks poured all over you.
3. Involuntary crowd-surfing
When the Order lost its strength and Napoleon came to our island, Hompesch had no choice but to surrender Malta to the French. The Maltese, being the good sport they are, let this go by — they were quite used to being handled from one ruler to the other, so it was no big deal. That is, until our new rulers started meddling with the Churches and looting their treasures.
The French did the cardinal mistake of auctioning a piece of damask from the Carmelite Church of Valletta. Lo and behold, the Maltese people turned into a berserk mob — hungry for (French) blood and thirsty for carnage. People travelled to Mdina in swarms from all over the country to riot. Sadly for Commander Lazarre Masson, the commander stationed at Mdina, people were looking for French blood, and he had a lot of that in his veins.
As soon as people saw him hanging out with his buddies, they started trampling and kicking him, throwing rocks at his head, probably throwing in a couple of punches too. Masson was then involuntarily crowd-surfed out of a balcony. They threw him out of a balcony.
His wife was only spared because she was visibly pregnant. Kemm aħna pro-life bro.
4. A collective FU to Monroy
Sometime during the 14th Century, Malta was being passed around like a hot potato from one Feudal Lord to the other. Some King Alfonso Whatever pawned the Maltese islands to some other guy, but later on this other guy pawned Malta to another guy — Gonsalvo Monroy.
This guy was a piece of work; he was allegedly rather abusive towards the people, and since Malta technically never really pledged allegiance to him, the islanders were getting pissed off at the way they were being treated. Riots started in Gozo and spread like wildfire to Malta in a matter of days and lasted from 1425 to 1428. Somehow, the Maltese people managed to encircle keep hostage Monroy’s garrison and his wife.
The king who pawned us out in the first place decided that we could buy ourselves back by paying Monroy 30,000 florins within four months. The Maltese people tried and tried — they sold jewellery, livestock and collected all the money they could muster to buy their independence from Monroy. They asked for help from wherever they could think of, but before all of that, Monroy died.
Thanks to this, we practically got what one can call the first embodiment of human rights in Malta — The Magna Carta and our first council!
5. Did somebody say free food?
Back in the day, there was a Carnival tradition of having a procession of eight to 15-year-old boys from Valletta and the Three Cities participate in a procession, which was later on followed by mass and a free bread bonanza for everyone present at the Ta' Ġieżu Church. In 1823, right around Carnival season, Malta was hit by extreme famine, and people gathered up in Valletta at Ta' Ġieżu during the procession.
As we all know, Maltese people and free food do not mix well, and the boys were kept in the vestry for safety. The door was left unlocked and people got in without anyone noticing. The people inside the vestry started pushing and shoving the boys to get to the free bread bonanza faster, and at some point the lamp went out and people started pushing and shoving the boys in the name of free food.
The boys at the front were pushed down a flight of stairs, and were trampled upon by the stampeding hungry crowd. 110 boys were trampled to death on that day... for free bread.
6. Oh no you didn't
In 1775, Ximenes de Texada was elected as Grand Master. Finding the treasury heavily depleted, he decided to issue a ban on hunting and increase the price of corn. This caused tension between the Maltese people and the Order, so the clergy decided to step in and revolt against the Order. “Iżżabbab mhux tneħħilna il-kaċċa,” was probably the slogan of the day.
On the 8th of September, some clergymen showed up and took over Fort St. Elmo. 13 people took over St. Elmo. Some other rebels went up to St. James Cavalier and took it over too. Ximienes tried to suppress the revolt by sending the Vicar General to get the rebel’s demands and negotiate.
The rebels, being the epitome of ala bieb żobbom, started threatening to blow up the gunpowder magazine at St. Elmo. After a brief exchange of fire, they were overthrown and the Fort was recaptured, followed by St. James.
7. We don't like your furniture
After the First World War, the cost of living in Malta had increased dramatically and food was not being imported. This made food prices catapult and people did not afford to get their hands on any food. The farmers and merchants were doing quite well financially, but everyone else was almost dying of starvation. There were strikes, and a 10% increase in pay was still not enough to feed a family.
The people felt that the British were not to be trusted, University students were organising riots and the Police Force - along with postal office employees - were threatening the Imperialists with strikes.
On 7th June 1919, the National Assembly met at Valletta to discuss these events. People became enraged when they saw the Union Jack flying above the A la Ville de Londres shop instead of the Maltese flag, so they forced themselves inside the building to tear down the flag pole. This sparked an uprising, with an angry mob marching towards the Officer’s club, breaking window panes and assaulting officers.
The crowd proceeded to the Royal Air Force turret, breaking more windows and destroying everything inside, climbing up the turret and even burning flags and furniture along their way. They moved to the Palace Square and Strada Teatro, where they broke into the Daily Malta Chronicle building. The printing presses were broken, along with the furniture. In other areas of Valletta, other angry crowds attacked the homes of Imperialist supporters and merchants, throwing their furniture out of windows. A merchant residing in Strada Forni was attacked by the crowd, which broke into his house and started throwing all of his furniture out of the windows and into the streets.
Soldiers and police officers were attacked by mobs all over Valletta. With their uniforms being torn and rocks thrown at them, they panicked and started shooting at the crowd. Three people were shot, and at least 50 people were injured.
The day after, people attacked the Palace of Colonel Francia, who owned a milling machine. Furniture was again thrown out of the windows, along with other possessions. By that evening, Navy Marines had arrived to clear out the streets — killing a fourth victim with a bayonet.