One of the Labour Party’s most vocal officials has broken down the massive effect that one of the darkest periods in Maltese history had on him, his family, and many others still within the PL structure, and called for the government to permanently recognise it with a monument.
“Why am I a Labourite?” Jason Micallef asked last night.
“My father Toni, who is dead today, was among the crowd in the 1958 riots in Kordin, Raħal Ġdid. His brother, Freddie, began militating in the Labour Party during this time and eventually contested the general election with the Labour Party in 1962,” he continued.
“During this period, the Labour Party, and all those militating within it, had to pass through an entire martyrdom. They were given the worst stamp, and the worst punishment in the political history of this country – L-Interdett,” he said, referring to the 51,000 suldati tal-azzar who “proudly resisted the oppression and threats” that they suffered due to being Labourites during this time.
The Interdett was an era defined by its tense political climate, with supporters of the interdiction regularly humiliating Labour activists.
The bodies of Labour supporters would not be blessed before burial, and instead be dumped in a segregated, non-sacred area known as Il-Miżbla.
Labour Party rallies were also often disrupted by continuous churchbells ringing and whistling and other deliberate noise by Catholic laypeople, while church sermons were predominately used to damn their political rivals.
One recording from the time even recorded Mintoff yelling above the church bells as they try to drown him out.
Micallef said he was proud of his father, uncle, and all those that “didn’t give in” to the persecution they suffered in the 1950s and 1960s in Malta.
He went on to call for the founding of a specific monument for all those who suffered in the Interdett, saying that if the government didn’t recognise these events in a permanent way, then “we would be massively betraying the suffering and sacrifices that our fathers made”.
Micallef’s call for this permanent monument came shortly after Prime Minister Robert Abela gave the go-ahead for the makeshift Daphne Memorial in Valletta, which was started spontaneously in 2017 and has remained there ever since, to be left untouched after years of the government removing it in the middle of the night.
Watch the video below to find out more about the Interdett, and just how open some of the wounds from that time remain.
Revisiting one the darkest periods in Maltese history, the interdiction of the 1960s
Posted by Lovin Malta on Thursday, November 7, 2019