The President of the Labour Party has reacted positively to a call for a permanent monument dedicated to the Maltese people who suffered during L-Interdett.
“With regards to the proposed monument, I’m personally in favour of exploring and discussing further the idea within the party structures,” Daniel Micallef told Lovin Malta.
When it came to the location of such a monument, or what form it would take, Micallef said it was still “early days”.
The call for a permanent monument was first made by Executive Chair of ONE Jason Micallef.
He had said that if the government didn’t recognise the terrible events and circumstances Maltese people were forced into in a permanent way, then “we would be massively betraying the suffering and sacrifices that our fathers made”.
Jason Micallef welcomed the PL President’s comments, saying “I look forward to discussing with him and the rest of the PL administration on how we can take this proposal forward and implement it in due course”.
The call came shortly after a decision by Prime Minister Robert Abela to leave the makeshift Daphne Caruana Galizia memorial in Valletta alone after years of the government having it removed in the middle of the night.
L-Interdett is considered one of the darkest times in modern Maltese history.
Revisiting one the darkest periods in Maltese history, the interdiction of the 1960s
Posted by Lovin Malta on Thursday, November 7, 2019
In the 1960s, the Maltese Church declared that supporting the Labour Party was a sin. In staunchly Catholic Malta, this caused a massive wound, forcing religious and political families to choose between their beliefs, or be forced out of their church.
The shame and humiliation this caused went beyond their lives: the bodies of Labour supporters were buried in unconsecrated grounds known as Il-Miżbla, without burial rights.
All of this happened as former Labour leader and Prime Minister Dom Mintoff and Archbishop Mikiel Gonzi battled for control of the Maltese people’s hearts and minds.
Churches would ring their bells loudly during Labour Party rallies in an attempt to drown out the speakers’ voices, and it even made it harder for people to get married.
“I met Mgr Gonzi, and he had all my writings laid out on his desk. He told me that if I ‘converted’ he would even have officiated the wedding ceremony himself at the Palace,” former Minister Joe Micallef Stafrace had said in an interview with The Times of Malta back in 2011.
“When I said I felt I had done no wrong, he insisted I could only get married in the sacristy, even denying me the right to get married in a chapel. I later learnt that several priests had urged my wife-to-be to leave me. Can you imagine that?” he continued.
During his wedding, a group of Catholic youths began chanting politically-loaded hymns outside the Church and passing snide remarks, questioning why such a beautiful bride was marrying a Labour executive member.
It is memories like this, and many others, that a segment of the Maltese population continues to live with.