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Severance of colonialism

Two small plaques in Maltese and English on Great Siege Road, in Floriana stating: “The Maltese Parliament, in the first year of responsible government, declared the day of Victory a public holiday and decided that the name of this road should commemorate the date of 8th September 1565.”

Two small plaques in Maltese and English on Great Siege Road, in Floriana stating: “The Maltese Parliament, in the first year of responsible government, declared the day of Victory a public holiday and decided that the name of this road should commemorate the date of 8th September 1565.”

I fully subscribe to Independence Day being the national day for the Maltese islands if Parliament were to choose one out of the current five. Correspondents Desmond Zammit Marmarà (September 4) and Henry Frendo (September 6) gave valuable historical reasons.

Although a number of countries do observe more than one feast of national import (Italy and France have several), they all seem to rally with stronger manifestation round a particular meaningful day that changed the destiny of their nation. Independence did that for Malta.

For the sake of other citizens having other options in mind, it is worth noting that Independence was the peak of a series of four sequential national events that marked the severance of British colonialism in Malta. Following Sette Giugno in 1919, Independence Day (1964) was followed by Republic (1974) and Freedom (1979) days, possibly representing the release of frustrated political steam, accumulated since the beginning of the 19th century.

When the island’s first Parliament met in 1921 it chose Victory Day (September 8) as a national day of remembrance that unified and identified the Maltese nation outside its colonial circumstance. During the previous century, the Church had frequently promoted the feast of St Paul in February as a day of national consciousness, again electing to find an identity outside the constraints of colonialism.

A final thought: while justifiably upholding above all else the legal disseverment from colonialism reflecting the nation’s longest and strongest aspiration, perhaps we must also strive to discard the colonial mentality that many of us still appear to preserve.

Unfortunately, in such circumstances, dependence does not end with independence.

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