Monday, 30 July 2007

Dom Mintoff: An Advocate of Socialism

The intention of this post is not to worship Dom Mintoff, one of Malta's former Prime Ministers. Having said this, I would like to echo what many Maltese people still say about him -he was the person who rescued Malta from a state of gross ignorance and poverty. As is the case with any other human being, Mintoff was not perfect. With the benefit of hindsight, certain things could have been avoided or been done differently. In spite of his faults, he surely had the guts to face various opponents as he tried to convert the Maltese society into a socialist one.

Raised by a family that supported the Nationalist Party absolutely blindly, I grew up to see Mintoff as a terribly evil man. As a child and as a teenager, I never questioned the propaganda that was injected into my blood at home and via reading materials supplied by the Nationalist Party. It was only during the last year or so, once I started doing my own research, that I realised that even though Mintoff was not perfect, he was no monster.

In order to understand a person, it is essential to read his/her own words. I would like to quote a section of a speech that he gave at Mosta on the 28/02/1976:

"Kieku jien ghext biss biex nara l-poplu jitghallem, kieku wkoll kuntent. Il-poplu llum tghallem hafna affarijiet. Tghallem li l-poplu huwa familja wahda u l-kap taghha jrid jahseb l-ewwel ghall-batut u wara ghal min hu b'sahhtu. Il-poplu tghallem li rridu nghixu u nahdmu ghal xulxin. Dan huwa bidu ta' generazzjoni socjalista." ("If I had only lived to see the people learn, I would be happy. Nowadays, the people have learned many things. They have learned that we are all members of a family and that the head must first think about the suffering member and then about the healthy one. The people have learned that we have to live and work for each other. This is the beginning of a socialist generation.")

In future entries, I will quote other excerpts from Mintoff's speeches. For now, I would simply like to show that the Nationalist Party had waged a strong campaign to demonise him. Hopefully, history will help to reveal him as the strongly socialist man that he was; he was completely dedicated to his task of persuading the Maltese electorate that the socialist path was the best one for Malta.

It is important to note that when Mintoff was the Prime Minister of Malta, the Cold War was still raging throughout the world. Various US Administrations kept viewing any person who talked fervently about socialism as a serious threat to the interests of the capitalist system. According to an article which appeared in The Malta Independent (03/06/2007), the US Administration had toyed with the idea of assassinating Mintoff. Quoting from the article, "there was a plot to overthrow and possibly kill Mintoff, Allende-style, but it was being crafted by US Navy intelligence in conjunction with the neo-fascist and renegade Italian intelligence elements in Rome. The US Navy wanted to overthrow Mintoff to gain access to its former NATO base on the island nation off the Libyan coast."

Based on my research, it seems that a number of other countries were somewhat involved in the events that shook Malta during the 1970s and, especially, during the 1980s. Although I do not have any evidence of this until now, it could be that the Nationalist Party had contacts with other political movements abroad in order to overthrow the Malta Labour Party. Hopefully, we will learn more about all this as we take a deeper look at Malta's history.

Malta Independent article available at:


La delirante said...

"I would like to quote a section of a speech that he gave at Mosta on the 28/02/1976"
I like the quote. It is very inspiring. I also want to have a deeper understanding of Maltese history. Very good post!

Andre said...

Whether one likes or dislikes Mintoff - he's done a lot to change Maltese society for the better - whether the people who succeeded him were any good is another matter. However, Mintoff's government was by far the most progressive Malta has ever had.

Having said that, although I'm a leftist, I feel that the current MLP doesn't represent what I believe in - which is a shame really.

Incidentally, do you know of any books written about Mintoff? I have a couple butI haven't managed to find one book specifically about Mintoff.

David Cuschieri said...

Hi Andre! Thank you for your comment. :)

As I often say, the MLP needs to start talking more about socialism if it really wants to transform Malta into a perfectly socialist country.

Unfortunately, it seems that there is no book which provides a detailed biography of Mintoff. I am hoping that he will publish an autobiography before he passes away. Last summer, I had read a book called "The Power of the Cross", written by a Maltese guy, and it contained some very interesting information about Mintoff's political contributions.