I remember Freedom Day

My association with Malta goes back to 1972, so when I read comments about Freedom Day I cannot control a wry smile.

In 1973, when I read that Britain intended to withdraw all forces in 1974 I shouted to the sky with joy. I was then later disappointed to find that Nato and Dom Mintoff wanted forces to stay in Malta until 1979.

Britain explained it could no longer afford the upkeep of the base and proposed that some other Nato country should provide the men and money.

Mr Mintoff then stated that he wanted British forces to stay because, as he put it, “we know them”.

A section of society intimidated and attacked the other

When 1979 arrived, Mr Mintoff said he wanted a “flag lowering ceremony”. Lord Mountbatten replied that Britain lowered the Union flag in 1964 when Malta obtained its independence but he would be happy to lower the naval ensign, which is what happened.

After British forces finally left the island, the only freedom I noticed was the freedom of one section of society to intimidate and attack the other section.

After Mr Mintoff left office we had Karmenu Mifsud Bonnici who set Malta’s economic growth back about 20 years. In the end, Malta was reduced to bartering for unnecessary imports. Radio and black and white TV (colour was not necessary) was controlled by the ruling party as was Chinese chocolate which I am sure Mr Mintoff didn’t eat.

My wife and I arrived in Malta on the eve of the election which brought Eddie Fenech Adami to power and looking down from the plane the island was in semi-darkness as though an air raid was expected.

Talking to people later it was obvious that they were afraid to express an opinion about the election in case they were overheard. I thought “thank God we don’t have to live under this”.

All I have stated above are historical facts, which can be checked.


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