Welcome to BACK to MALTA blog!

There are more Maltese outside the Maltese Islands than there are citizens residing in the country itself. The Maltese outside Malta are either emigrants or descendents of emigrants. The countries which have most traditionally hosted the Maltese diaspora are Australia, Canada, the U.S.A., and Britain. Nevertheless, there are Maltese living in virtually every country around the world and this blog will travel the world in hopes of bringing the Maltese back to Malta.

Monday, September 29, 2014

MALTA Parsih Churches

Malta Parish Churches
In the Rollo (inventory) of the benefices of the churches, or chapels, in Malta and Gozo, held by 
Bishop Senatore de Mello in 1436, ten distinct chapels are mentioned, which presumably must 
have been acting as parishes in the various villages, since earlier days. Besides the Cathedral at 
Mdina and the Church of San Lorenzo a Mare at Birgu, the following chapels are mentioned:

 Naxxar - the Nativity of the Virgin
 Birkirkara - Saint Helen
 Qormi - St George
 Bir Miftuh (now Gudja) - the Assumption of the Virgin
 Zebbug - Saint Philip of Aggira
 Siggiewi - Saint Nicholas of Bari
 Zejtun - Saint Catherine of Alexandria
 Zurrieq - Saint Catherine of Alexandria
 Hal-Tartani (now Dingli) - Santa Domenica
 Mellieha - the Nativity of the Virgin

It is important to note that Dingli, originally Hal-Tartani was parish before 1436. However it was 
suppressed in 1539 and re-instated by Bishop Baldassare Cagliares on 16th October 1615 to be 
again suppressed in 1668. Bishop Michele Molina re-instated Dingli as a parish on 31st December 

Mellieha was mentioned as a parish in the inventory by Bishop Senatore de Mello in 1436. 
Because of the lack of inhabitants, the Apostolic Delegate, Mgr Pietro Dusina, in 1575 
suppressed the parish and merged the administration to the parish of Naxxar. Hence a rector 
was appointed. 

Mellieha was re-instated as parish by Bishop Francesco Saverio Caruana on 1st February 1841. 
However this re-instatement was contested by the Naxxar Parish. Mellieha was confirmed parish on 24th May 1842. The official Decree was published on 15th June 1844. Rabat in Malta was styled as a parish from time immemorial. The de Mello Rollo quotes as parishes La Cappella di San Paolo de Fora (which is St Paul's Grotto which was the parish church of Rabat) and Mdina together. At Mdina there was the Cathedral for the whole of Malta while at Rabat there was the seat of the parish for both Rabat and Mdina together. So much so that till the separation of 1902 the archpriest took two pussessi in Mdina as canon archpriest of the Cathedral and in Rabat as parish priest of Rabat and Mdina together. On 18th March 1902 when the population had increased considerably, Mdina and Rabat for the first time became two distinct parishes and for practical reasons Bishop Pietro Pace declared Rabat as a new parish but that was contested in Rome and it was declarde that Rabat was paroecia pre-existens. 

I trust that you keep finding our website useful.
Fr VicGeorge Vassallo

To view the mother churches go to:

Friday, September 26, 2014



My uncle Joseph Psaila.  If Joseph only knew how hard I have looked for him he would be utterly amazed. It is not easy looking for someone who doesn't know you exist. I first learned of him when I located my grandfather Carmelo Psaila's will.  The will gave me the name of his wife, Vittorina Zammit. and it also listed his son Joseph as his only legitimate son.  

Joseph was born in Tripoli in 1924. My cousin first found the name on the website www.findmypast.com under the births of British Subjects living abroad and from there I ordered the birth certificate from England.  What I got was a registered birth certificate from  the district of the British Military Administration at Tripolitania so I believe he was in the British military.  Why he registered his birth in 1949 I don't know.  It gave his last known address as Zenghet Medressat el Kateb 6, Tripoli.  I tried to send a letter to Libya but the post office told me, at the time, that they don't have an agreement with Libya and therefore was unable to accept my letter.  I have written letters to Joseph Psaila's in the phone book for US and for Canada to no avail.  I have called numerous Joseph Psaila's as well and got nowhere.  I do not know what happened to Joseph or his mother, Vittoria. I do know that my grandfather, Carmelo, died in 1957 in Malta and that he left a will.    

So, basically I have three documents to go with: My grandfather, Carmelo Psaila's will, Joseph Psaila's birth certificate and a 10 year old school picture I found of Joseph when he was going to school in Libya. 

Here is Joseph's school picture. Isn't he handsome? 

There is one thing I would tell Joseph if I found him today and that is that he has a brother from another mother that has a whole big family waiting to meet him and his family.  

If you have any information on where Joseph may be living please contact Carmen at maltamade@gmail.com.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

From Microfilms to Digital Media

From Microfilms to Digital Media

The Hill Museum & Manuscript Library began microfilming the archival collections of the Cathedral of Mdina, Malta, in 1973 under the direction of Mgr John Azzopardi. Filming concluded in 1989 after 8,229 books and manuscripts had been filmed. The microfilming project at the cathedral also included books, music manuscripts, and archival materials from other ecclesiastical institutions and private collections in Malta and Gozo. The contents of the materials filmed date from the eleventh to the twentieth century.
Among the various manuscripts microfilmed in Malta we find the Archives of the Archbishop's Curia in Floriana.
The Archives of the Archbishop of Malta contain the diocesan records from 1531 to 1898, along with some miscellaneous items dating from 1450 to 1928. 
The Archdiocese of Malta has transferred all its microfilms into digital media to make them available over the internet.  This will enable the Archives to be more accessible by researchers and the casual visitor alike. 
The Archives of the Archbishop of Malta hold more than is being published here.  Researchers and visitors are more than welcome to visit and do research at the Archives of the Archbishop at the Archbishop's Curia. 
This is an ongoing project and the Archdiocese of Malta is still digitising Manuscripts found especially in the Mater Dei and Sancte Laurenti Archives.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Charles Clews

Charles Clews

The sone of William George Clews and Maria Scerri, Charles was born in Senglea on the 27th Sep 1919.  He was educated at the Lyceum, Valletta and at the Dockyard Technical College as an Engine Fitter Apprentice.

During World War II Clews was a member of the Dockyard First Aid Squad and was presented with a Certificate (3-Chevrons) for his services.

In the midst of the Second World War, Charles and some friends formed a Concert Troupe, which performed comical shows to the workers at the Dockyard.  The Naval Authorities approved these shows as they heightened the morale of the workers during such a sifficult time.

These shows were becoming increasingly popular, and encouraged by many spectators, Clews together with Nestu Laiviera (later Speaker of the House of Representatives), Fred Underwood, Johnny Catania and Laurie Bellizzi formed Stage Commandos Variety Company and started giving shows in theaters all over Malta.

With "Radio Muskettiere", which he co-founded in 1945 with Catania and Armando Urso, Clews introduced a new kind of humorous hsow and a novel kind of comedy sit-com for Cable Radio, known in those days as Rediffusion and Radio, Series like Toto Tanti, Fredu Frendo Sghendo, Mabbli l-Fabbli l-Kuntistabbli, Ninu u Karmena Abdilla were very popular among the Maltese.

Clews had two very successful tours to Australia, in 1964 with Johnny Navarro and in 1984 with Johnny Catania, where they had shows at the Royal Opera House in Sydney.  He left the Dockyard as a Surveyor and in 1964 started his career as a journalist with the Union Press.  He has also been contributing a humorous column to It-Torca for several years.  He is the author of seven booklets of a humorous nature in Maltese and of a great number of scripts for radio, comedies and sketches, and songs for the stage.  His play Dar Fuq ir-Ramel has been translated into English, and included in Prof. A. J. Arberry's Maltese Anthology.

Clews was chairman, Board of Film and Stage Censors (1955-58) and member, Film and Stage Censors' Board (1971-87).  In 1996 he was awarded the Midalja ghall-Qadi tar-Repubblika (MQR).  The Broadcasting Authority presented him with a Trophy for long service on Stage and Radio in 1998. 

His favorite quote: 
Yesterday is history, Tomorrow is a mystery, So cherish today, That's why it's called The Present.

You Tube video -
Sparaw Ghall-Qamar (They shot at the Moon), a humoristic song of the 60's sung by Malta's late comedian, Charles Clews.

Music is copyrighted by its corresponding owners. No infringement of copyright is meant and if it does infringe, please message me and I'll remove it.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

The Migration and Arrival of the Maltese into Canada

MIGRATION and ARRIVAL of the Maltese into Canada

From: The Encyclopedia of Canada's Peoples/Maltese/
Initially, migrants were directed to other British colonies in the Mediterranean and the West Indies, but the Maltese themselves preferred the coastal regions of nearby northern Africa, where an estimated 36,000 had settled by 1885. An influx of cheap labour from other parts of Africa eventually made that continent less attractive, so that by the last decades of the nineteenth century the Maltese had begun emigrating to Britain, Australia, and North America. Unemployment in 1907, resulting from the end of a major construction project at the harbour and dockyard in Malta, stimulated an emigration movement. A significant number of workers left for Australia, the United States, and Canada, assisted by a volunteer group, the Malta Emigration Committee. These three countries were the preferred destinations because the Maltese believed that their knowledge of English would be an asset. An interest in Canada may also have been stimulated by the appointment in 1911 of the Duke of Connaught as governor general, since he had lived in Malta as commander-in-chief of the British High Command in the Mediterranean. However, at this time Canadian immigration policy restricted the entry of the Maltese on the ground that they were not of northern European background, despite their status as British subjects. A small number were admitted, but the racial issue would continue to be an obstacle until the 1960s.
At the end of World War I the lay-off of large numbers of workers at the naval dockyard again led to high levels of unemployment. In the period up until 1921 the exodus of thousands of Maltese virtually counterbalanced the natural population growth. A government department was established to promote emigration, and between 1918 and 1920 over 10,000 individuals left for the United States, Australia, or Canada. In the 1920s and 1930s, however, the number of Maltese who came to this country was low, and more than half eventually returned to the homeland. World War II halted the movement to Canada; by this time the community here was estimated at 2,000.
After the war the Maltese government re-established a department responsible for emigration, and a generous assisted-passage scheme was introduced. Between 1948 and 1967 over 90,000 people, or 30 percent of the 1948 population, left the islands. Of this number 13,000 came to Canada. The British government in 1953 contributed approximately $800,000 towards transportation costs during the following four years. Under the assisted-passage program individuals were able to emigrate to Canada for about $40. In addition, families received an allowance. Priority was given to ex-service-men and those who already had family members in this country.
The Maltese government had endeavoured to persuade the Canadian authorities to open the door more widely to its citizens. In March 1948 the two governments announced that a settlement scheme had been worked out. Five hundred individuals, to be selected by Canadian officials, would be admitted as construction workers “in recognition of the outstanding service rendered by the people of Malta during the war, and to assist them in dealing with their reconstruction problem.” The government in Malta would look after transportation arrangements. The first group of 131 immigrants embarked for Halifax in May and the rest the following month. Many were tradesmen from the dockyard; a few were professionals. They were taken by train to London, Ontario, where they were housed temporarily in a nearby air force training centre. Eventually they were referred to jobs in other cities in southern Ontario or found work on their own. This was the beginning of a steady flow of immigrants from Malta in the post-war years, which by 1979 would reach more than 18,000. In the early 1950s the annual level was set at 300 workers and their dependants. The selection in 1950, 1951, and 1952 was made by Maltese authorities, but, because of difficulties placing the newcomers, the process was subsequently taken over by Canadian immigration officials.
In the late 1950s the Maltese government became concerned about the number of emigrants who were returning home. In the period between 1948 and 1963, of those who had settled in Canada, 940 went back to Malta. Initially, as many as half eventually re-emigrated, but by the end of the 1950s work opportunities in the homeland had improved. As well, wages had increased, and health insurance and other social-assistance programs had been introduced. Those who emigrated to Canada often had difficulty finding work, and their problems were compounded by the harsh winters, to which they were unaccustomed.
When Canadian immigration regulations were amended in 1956, Malta was not among the countries from which newcomers were officially admissible. Until 1962, when the rules were again revised, admissions were authorized each year by order-in-council. Candidates were pre-selected by Maltese authorities and reviewed by Canadian immigration officials, who visited the country once a year. Beginning in 1963, applications were processed by the Canadian embassy in Rome. That year, under pressure from the British government, which was ending its military presence in Malta, Canada agreed to accept immigrants who did not qualify on occupational grounds. Some 869 individuals entered this country in 1963; the following year the number increased to 1,070, of whom three-quarters were sponsored by relatives in Canada.
Maltese immigration to this country continued to grow in 1964 and 1965, but it dropped off in the following year because of improved employment opportunities in the home country resulting from the government’s drive to expand local industry and tourism. Most of those who arrived were sponsored immigrants joining their families here. The introduction in 1967 of the “point system,” which evaluated all potential immigrants to Canada equally, ended discrimination on the basis of ethnic background or country of origin. However, because of the improved situation in the homeland, by the mid-1970s Maltese immigration had stabilized at the low level of about 160 a year. From the end of World War II to 1984 some 18,183 individuals had come to Canada. After that period the number per year averaged 100, and in 1991 only 29 Maltese newcomers entered the country.
The size of the Maltese community in Canada has been estimated to be as high as 50,000. Determining the actual number is difficult because, as British subjects, the Maltese were included in the “other British” category in early immigration and population data. Also, since the majority, especially those who arrived after World War II, spoke English, they were able to integrate more readily into Canadian society than some other groups. Further, they resemble Italians, Greeks, or other people of Mediterranean origin and may have chosen not to identify themselves as Maltese.
The 1991 census records 15,525 individuals who gave their single ethnic origin as Maltese and an additional 10,040 who designated themselves of multiple origin, for a total of 25,565. The great majority (14,605) were to be found in Ontario. The largest community was in Metropolitan Toronto, which contained 15,120 individuals of Maltese origin (single and multiple). Other Ontario cities with Maltese populations were London (1,620), Oshawa (1,040), Windsor (980), Hamilton (885), St Catharines (515), Ottawa-Hull (275), and Kitchener (235). Elsewhere in Canada the largest communities were in Vancouver with 555, Montreal with 385, and Winnipeg with 205. Smaller numbers were to be found in Halifax, Calgary, Edmonton, and Victoria.

Please Note - After 1935
Unfortunately, Pier 21 is not able to access Canadian immigration records for persons arriving after 1935, all records for arrivals after 1935 are held in Ottawa with the Department of Citizenship and Immigration and are not open to the public. They are protected under the Canadian Privacy Act for seventy-five years from date of arrival.


Monday, December 23, 2013

How to Celebrate a Maltese Christmas

How to Celebrate a Maltese Christmas


Christmas in the Mediterranean country of Malta, officially the Republic of Malta, is a lot like Christmas in the United States. In modern times, the country has adopted many practices popular in the west, like hanging stockings, wrapping gifts and putting them under a Christmas tree, and singing carols.But many old traditions have remained steadfast as well. Here’s a crash course in celebrating a Maltese Christmas, whether you plan on visiting the beautiful country during the holidays or just adding some culture-rich flair to your own celebration.                                


  1. How to Celebrate a Maltese Christmas

    • 1
      Attend mass--Christmas Eve’s midnight mass is the most important of the holiday’s traditions in Malta. Because the country is widely Catholic, churches are heavily populated for this ceremony.
    • 2
      Listen to a child's sermon--During the midnight mass ceremony, a boy or a girl, normally aged 7 to 10 years old, does the preaching instead of the priest. This is called 'Priedka tat-Tifel' which means the preaching of the child.
    • 3
      Build a nativity scene--In Malta nativity scenes are called cribs, or pasture. Scenes are displayed in churches and most homes, complete with figurines representing Jesus, Mary and Joseph. The nativity scene is also popular in the United States, but in Malta, it is a staple of the celebration.
    • 4
      Plant some grain--In Malta, it is also tradition to sow wheat, grain and canary seed, called 'gulbiena', on cotton buds in flat pans five weeks before Christmas. The buds are left in dark corners in the house until the seeds produce white grass-like shoots. The pans with the fully-grown shoots are then used to decorate the crib or the statue of Baby Jesus.
    • 5
      Cook a big dinner--Today, the traditional Maltese Christmas menu has changed a bit, giving way to the Christmas Turkey and sides just as is popular in the United States. Mince pies are also a hit for the holidays in Malta.
    • 6
      Watch a parade--The Procession of the Baby Jesus, a parade of sorts in which a priest carries a doll symbolizing Jesus is a big part of the Maltese Christmas tradition. It has been held each year since its inception by the venerable Dun Gorg Preca, the recently beatified founder of the society for the teaching of Holy Doctrine, the M.U.S.E.U.M.
    • 7
      Decorate the tree--In modern times, the Maltese, put up Christmas trees in their homes, hang and stuff stockings and unwrap gifts with their loved ones on Christmas Eve. The children also anxiously await a visit from Santa Clause as is celebrated in the United States.

    How To Celebrate an Old-Fashioned Maltese Christmas

    • 8
      Bake a rooster with veggies--Though the times have changed the Maltese Christmas menu, traditionally, the Maltese house-wife kept the fattest rooster, or 'hasi', especially for Christmas lunch, which was roasted at the local bakery in a casserole with potatoes and vegetables. The traditional desert served at Christmas was the Treacle Ring, 'Qaghqa tal-Ghasel', and to top off the meal, a hot chestnut and cocoa soup, 'Imbuljuta tal-Qastan', which is still served as a night cap during the cold December days in Malta.
    • 9
      Go on a fast--Christmas in Malta used to be celebrated with a four-week fast leading up to Christmas Eve and culminating in the Midnight Mass. After mass, people would feast on traditional sweets like honey-filled rings, figs, chestnut syrup and deep-fried date-rolls, known as mqaret.
    • 10
      Hand out cash--Santa Clause was not part of the traditional Maltese Christmas. In the past, presents were given in the form of money on New Year’s Day, called l-Istrina.


Thursday, December 5, 2013

Parish Churches of Malta and Gozo

Parish churches in Malta and GozoHere is a list of all the parish churches in Malta, listed by village or city name,

It is the local parish church that organizes the religious events in the village as well as the famous and traditional festas.

Attard Parish Church (Attard)
Balluta Parish Church (St. Julian's)
Balzan Parish Church (Balzan)
Birkirkara Parish Church (Birkirkara)
Birzebbuga Parish Church (Birzebbuga)
Burmarrad Parish Church (Burmarrad)
Cospicua (Bormla) Parish Church (Cospicua)
Dingli Parish Church (Dingli)
Fgura Parish Church (Fgura)
Floriana Parish Church (Floriana)
Gharghur Parish Church (Gharghur)
Ghaxaq Parish Church (Ghaxaq)
Gudja Parish Church (Gudja)
Gwardamangia Parish Church (Gwardamangia)
Gzira Parish Church (Gzira)
Hamrun Parish Churches (Hamrun)
Iklin Parish Church (Iklin)
Kirkop Parish Church (Kirkop)
Lija Parish Church (Lija)
Kalkara Parish Church (Kalkara)
Luqa Parish Church (Luqa)
Manikata Parish Church (Manikata)
Marsa Parish Churches (Marsa)
Marsaxlokk Parish Church (Marsaxlokk)
Mdina (Mdina)
Mellieha Parish Church (Mellieha)
Mgarr Parish Church (Mgarr)
Mosta Parish Church (Mosta)
Mqabba Parish Church (Mqabba)
Msida Parish Church (Msida)
Imtarfa Parish Church (Imtarfa)
Naxxar Parish Church (Naxxar)
Paola Parish Church (Paola)
Pembroke Parish Church (Pembroke)
Qawra Parish Church (Qawra)
History of Qormi Parish Church (Qormi)
Qrendi Parish Church (Qrendi)
Rabat Parish Church (Rabat)
Safi Parish Church (Safi)
San Ġwann Parish Church (San gwann)
Santa Luċija Parish Church (Santa Lucija)
Santa Venera Parish Church (Santa Venera)
Senglea Parish Church (Senglea)
Siġġiewi Parish Church (Siggiewi)
Sliema Parish Churches (Sliema)
St. Julian’s Parish Church (St. Julian's)
St Paul’s Bay Parish Church (St. Paul's Bay)
Ta’ Xbiex Parish Church (Ta' Xbiex)
Tarxien Parish Church (Tarxien)
Valletta (Valletta)
Vittoriosa Parish Church (Birgu)
Żabbar Parish Church (Zabbar)
Żebbug Parish Church (Zebbug)
Zurrieq Parsh Church (Zurrieq)
Gozo - Fontana Parish Church (Fontana)
Gozo - Għajnsielem Parish Church (Ghajnsielem)
Gozo - Gharb Parish Church (Gharb)
Gozo - Ghasri Parish Church (Ghasri)
Gozo - Kercem Parish Church (Kercem)
Gozo - Munxar Parish Church (Munxar)
Gozo - Nadur Parish Church (Nadur)
Gozo - Nadur Parish Church (Nadur)
Gozo - Qala Parish Church (Qala)
Gozo - Rabat Parish Church Katidral (Rabat)
Gozo - Rabat Parish Church San Gorg (Rabat)
Gozo - San Lawrenz Parish Church (San Lawrenz)
Gozo - Sannat Parish Church (Sannat)
Gozo - Xaghra Parish Church (Xaghra)
Gozo - Xewkija Parish Church (Xewkija)
Gozo - Zebbug Parish Church (Zebbug-Gozo)

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Maltese Nationality 'on sale' by Ann Fenech

Saturday, November 16, 2013, 00:01 by

Our nationality ‘on sale’

Photo: Darrin Zammit Lupi
Photo: Darrin Zammit Lupi
In a matter of a few short weeks, the Government presented and passed a Bill in Parliament enabling it to literally sell Maltese passports, not even to the highest bidder, but for a measly €650,000 and €25,000 for wives and children and so many other relations – the list is endless.
It is outrageous and because the Labour Party in Opposition knew that the majority of the population would find it outrageous it kept it under wraps throughout its electoral campaign.
Did we know that if Labour were elected they would start to sell the epitome of our statehood - our passports - like cheesecakes? No, of course, not!
So Labour in government sprung it upon its unsuspecting citizens half expecting us all to take it in our stride as though it is the most normal thing for a government to do.
We are selling our citizenship as though it were a sack of potatoes
No it is not. Not unless you live in a banana republic in the middle of the Caribbean Sea, that is. And the Maltese people 10 years ago decided that they did not wish to be compared to, live like or emulate the nationals of St Kitts and Nevis. They wanted instead to confirm their European roots and become full members of the European Union.
Over the past 25 years, we have all worked like dogs to build a pristine reputation in the international arena. It is because of all this hard work that the world has grown to respect us for being this tiny island nation, which, despite our microscopic size, has developed one sector after another providing employment and, therefore, wealth for its people.
Be it financial services, the maritime sector, aviation, information technology, electronics or the pharmaceutical sector we have become associated with them through sheer hard work and determination and solid laws maintaining very high standards and have gained the respect of our international peers who have come to Malta and made it their base precisely because of our high, European standards.
This level of respect takes years to build and seconds to destroy! And, now, we risk all of that because our government, apparently incapable of generating wealth by developing economic sectors like its predecessor, has decided to make a quick buck by selling our passports exactly like the banana republics in the Caribbean. This is why this pathetic scheme will have a negative effect on Malta’s reputation because it is only Third World countries that sell their nationality in this manner.
This has nothing to do with being a Nationalist or a Labour supporter. It is all to do with the fact that Joe Public of this nation, who has worked very hard to get it where it is, who is proud to be Maltese, finds it unacceptable and insulting that we have a government that has concocted this scam and attempts to excuse this ploy by saying that “other countries in Europe have the same scheme”. There is no other country in Europe that has sold its passports in this manner so the Prime Minister should not insult our intelligence.
If it were not so serious, the entire matter could be an episode out of Blackadder.
You can just see Baldrick, faced with a destitute Blackadder before him, saying: “My lord ,do not fret, I have a cunning plan. Why don’t we sell our passports!”
What was equally disconcerting was the Prime Minister announcing the scheme by declaring that this was “modern” economics and through this he was going to take Malta out of its previous “prehistoric” ways of conducting business.
And the sad thing about all of this is that, notwithstanding the fact that this scam is clearly a no brainer, even if one only has a modicum of respect for one’s own country, the Government thinks that it’s a brilliant idea.
It thinks it is a brilliant idea to prostitute oneself and one’s nation for a dime. It thinks it’s a brilliant idea to grant citizenship to anyone who would have passed the due diligence test set by the same people who will have the exclusive task of finding the persons who wish to purchase Maltese nationality in the first place -not because they have come to Malta, lived in Malta, have made Malta their home and have sent their children to Maltese schools; not because they have come here with their businesses, develop them here, employ people and contribute to our economy and be proud to be part of Malta and the Maltese. Oh no, nothing so complex. It is sufficient if they never set foot here as long as they give the Government a cheque for €650,000 purely because they wish to get into Europe and the United States totally unfettered and are unable to do so on the strength of their own native passport.
The icing on the cake: we will have no idea who these persons are. The very idea of having a number of foreign persons who have purchased a Maltese passport and whose identity would remain a secret is hideous and downright creepy.
Why, I would like to ask, should anyone, unless they have something to hide, be attracted by the fact that applicants and grantees will remain anonymous? And why should we be giving our nationality to someone who has something to hide?
I just wonder what the US Department of Homeland Security will have to say about that and whether the visa waiver programme which the previous government worked so hard to get will remain? After all, if an undesirable gets through the Henley & Partner’s due diligence (and they will be earning a commission depending on the amount of passports they sell and not on the amount they turn away) that same undesirable can be winging his way to the United States on the back of a Maltese passport in no time at all.
Is this what the people of this country deserve?
The people wish to know why the Government has decided to keep this list secret. The people wish to know who will be hiding behind this anonymity. The people wish to know why this law, which gives away for a song our nationality, which our fathers and forefathers have worked so hard for, was rushed through Parliament without a single member of the government benches questioning this entire stinking affair as though no one had the slightest say because it had to get done quickly come what may.
Anybody would think that it had suddenly become payback time for someone to whom the Government was indebted to. No doubt, the Government will retort that this is scaremongering. Well, perhaps it could allay all our fears then by answering our questions. In the meantime and until it does so, the whole thing stinks.
Another bizarre thing about this entire matter is that the Government, like every government before it, had a golden opportunity of inviting the Opposition to create a structure that made sense. Both sides of the House could have worked together on a structure that would have brought the Opposition to work with the Government. It would have been a coup for the Government. So why did the Government not follow this path?
It seems as though the reasons behind the rush, behind the closed list, behind the insignificant price must have been so compelling that the Government had to go down that route rather than what ought to have been the preferable and easier option of drafting a structure that would have got the approval of both sides of the House of Representatives and avoid irking the majority of the population.
It must have been a very compelling reason indeed and sooner or later we will find out.
This is not an individual investment programme. This is the cold and calculating unashamed sale of our citizenship for cash to an anonymous list of persons as though it were a sack of potatoes.
It is demeaning, insulting and shameful to us as a nation
Each and every Labour MP should be ashamed of himself for allowing this to happen. So much for electing a party using ‘transparency’ as one of its clarion calls. How very ironic.
Ann Fenech is president of the PN executive committee.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Ruzar Briffa - Poet

Rużar Briffa

 (1906 – 1963) was a Maltese poet and dermatologist, and a major figure in Maltese literature.
“I never thought of publishing these poems in a book. Some were written in hard times, others in moments of joy. And I wrote them for myself.” These were the poet’s words as they appeared in his first collection of poetry, Poeżiji, published in 1971 thanks to his second wife Louisette and his friend P. Valentin Barbara’s constant encouragement.


He was known as the poet "of smallness and simplicity". Rużar Briffa studied at the Saint Elmo elementary state school and at the Valletta Lyceum. Having obtained his matriculation certificate, in 1923 he started teaching at elementary schools. In 1924, he began his studies in medicine at the University of Malta and completed them in London in venereology and dermatology. In 1932 he became a specialist in skin diseases. He was known for his humility and his greatheartedness in dealing with his patients, especially those suffering from leprosy.
According to his wife Louisette, he dreamed of beautifying disfigured and suffering patients through his medical work. This aesthetic concern emerges frequently in his literary work, so much so that he was known as the "Poet of Beauty" amongst his contemporaries.
In 1931, together with his friend Ġużè Bonnici, he founded the Għaqda tal-Malti Università, which is active to date, and started issuing the magazine Leħen il-Malti ("Voice of the Maltese").
Rużar Briffa died on 22 February 1963. His full biogra phy was released in 1984 by Professor Oliver Friggieri. The Maltese town of Mosta contains a road named in his honour, Triq Rużar Briffa.


Many of his poems were written on bits of papers cut from notebooks or on the inner part of a used packet of cigarettes. Others were written on papers intended for medical prescriptions, on paper-bags; in short, he would use anything that was at hand to capture his poem on paper.
Although Briffa wrote very little, he was greatly appreciated by literary critics. These are some comments Briffa passed on poetry, as an individual interpretation and universal expression:
My poems are no great events, no profound thoughts on Life, and not even exalted desires of another World. They are just impressions, to put it this way, snapshots of everyday life as my heart senses them. The power of a snapshot is in its size, which in spite of being small, captures details which in a larger photo would pass unnoticed ... I too feel my poems have the power of simplicity.
I did not write for glory. Poetry for me is by no means a matter of amusement, but rather of great suffering.
I am struck by a thought and I keep brooding over it for several months –- or even years. Then I feel a sudden outburst. And no matter where I am, I would have to get a pencil and a paper and in a matter of a minute the poem flows out of nothing. No poem took me more than five minutes to write down.
Poetry should only aim to reach the heart of the heart of man, and even if it arrives at it just once, then poetry would have reached its climax.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Guze Chetcuti - Poet, Novelist, and Playwright

Novelist, poet and playwright Ġuże’ Chetcuti will be remembered for his significant contribution to the Maltese literature scene, as well as for the love for his country’s language and his involvement in the Akkademja tal-Malti (Maltese Language Academy).

Ġuże’ Chetcuti, was born into a generation of other deeply influential contributors to the Maltese literature scene such as Malta’s National Poet Fr. Karm Psaila, Rużar Briffa and Ġuże’ Aquilina.

Born on the 11th August 1914, Ġuże’ Chetcuti spent several years teaching the Maltese language in schools, while writing a number of novels, including “L-Isqaq”, which formed part of secondary school’s Maltese curriculum for a number of years. Ġuże’ Chetcuti also wrote a number of poems, along with plays for both the stage and television.

Ġuże’ Chetcuti’s prose is realism-based and he used literature to move forward the cause of the poor and uneducated. In his novels, Chetcuti shows clearly the consequences of poverty on humanity. Novels like “It-Tnalja” , “Il-Kerrejja” and a large number of short stories all dealing with a clear and realistic manifestation of victims of social change.

Ġuże’ Chetcuti was also an important producer of Maltese romantic poetry. He wrote about Malta’s beauty and loved farms and the simple life. He also wrote about love and its power, troubles and the joy in life as well as patriotism and faith.

He was a member in the Għaqda Poeti Maltin (Maltese Poets’ Group), the Malta Drama League and a founder of the Għaqda Xirka għat-Tixrid ta' l-Ilsien Malti (Society for the Promotion of Maltese Language). The Maltese nation recognised his work when in 1996 he was honoured with membership in the National Order of Merit.

The National Book Council, on behalf of all writers and those who love Maltese books, paid homage to the writer. It also sent its condolences to the relatives of the writer and encouraged all those who work in Maltese to reflect about their work, in the shadow of Chetcuti, a literary giant who will remain present amongst the Maltese through his writings.

The Council explained that Ġuże’ Chetcuti worked for the Maltese language and literature in very difficult times when to love the Maltese language was considered a dishonour. He also worked to promote the language during the World War II. 


Monday, August 19, 2013

Guze Cassar Pullicino

Guze Cassar Pullicino
ĠUŻÈ CASSAR PULLICINO twieled Birkirkara fil-21 ta' Settembru 1921 u daħal fis-servizz ċivili fl-1940 u rtira bħala Direttur fil-Ministeru tal-Industrija fl-1979. Answer CASSAR PULLICINO born Birkirkara on 21 September 1921 entered into the civil service in 1940 and retired as Director in the Ministry of Industry in 1979. Għamel żmien bħala bibljotekarju fil-Fakultà tat-Teoloġija (Fondazzjoni tal-Istudji Teoloġiċi). On a Librarian at the Faculty of Theology (Foundation of Theological Studies).
Kien ingħata scholarship mill-British Council għat-taħriġ bħala bibljotekarju f'Leeds u Londra (1950); inħatar Associate of the Library Association (1952); membru tal-Akkademja tal-Malti u membru tal-kumitat tagħha (1942-45) u tal-Għaqda tal-Malti (Università); Assistent Editur tal- Melita Historica (1952-61); u tal- Maltese Folklore Review (1962-73). Was awarded a scholarship from the British Council training as a librarian in Leeds and London (1950); appointed Associate of the-Library Association (1952), member of the Academy of Malta and a member of its committee (1942-45) and of the Association of Maltese (University), Assistant Editor Melita Historica (1952-61) and Maltese Folklore Review (1962-73).
Kien ukoll President Onorarju tal-Għaqda tal-Folklor 1965-); membru tal-Kunsill ta' Din l-Art Ħelwa (1965-67); tal-Folklore Society ta' Londra (1962-), u tal-International Society for Folk-Narrative Research ta' Pariġi (1962-). Honorary President of the Association of Folklore 1965 -), member of the Council of Din l-Art Helwa (1965-67) of the Folklore Society of London (1962 -), and the International Society for Folk -Narrative Research in Paris (1962 -).
Ħa sehem u qara studji f'diversi kungressi internazzjonali f'Malta, Kiel, Kopenħagen, Katanja, Ġirba (it-Tuneżija) u l-Kanada. Took part and read studies in several international congresses Malta, Kiel, Copenhagen, Catania, Ġirba (Tunisia) and Canada. Kien mogħti l-midalja tal-Meritu tal-Fidda mill-Konfederazzjoni tal-Kunsilli Ċiviċi (1970); rebaħ il-Malta Government Prize għall-aħjar ktieb maħruġ fl-1974; il-Premju Letterarju għal xogħol oriġinali ta' riċerka dwar Ġużè Muscat Azzopardi (1978); il-Malta Literary Award (1979); il-Premio Città di Valleta (1989); mogħti l-Grad ta' Master of Philosophy (Hon. Causa) mill-Università ta' Malta (1993), u mogħti l-Midalja għall-Qadi tar-Repubblika ta' Malta (1993). He was awarded the Medal of Merit Silver by the Confederation of Councils Civic (1970), won the Malta Government Prize for best book issued in 1974, the Literary Prize for an original work of research Guze Muscat Azzopardi (1978), the Malta Literary Award (1979), the Premio Città di Valletta (1989), awarded the Degree of Master of Philosophy (Hon. Causa) from the University of Malta (1993), and given the Medal for Service to the Republic of Malta (1993).
Ġużè Cassar Pullicino, meqjus bħala studjuż ewlieni dwar il-folklor u l-kitba tal-Malti għandu diversi pubblikazzjonijiet f'dan ir-rigward. Guze Cassar Pullicino, regarded as a leading scholar of folklore and Maltese orthography has several publications in this regard.
Huwa l-awtur ta' Kelma Waħda Biss (1971); Aquilina u l-Malti (1974); Ġużè Muscat Azzopardi: Studji (1991); Kitba u Kittieba tal-Malti – tliet kotba (1962-64); Dun Karm: tagħrif ġdid u noti kritiċi (1985); Poeżiji ta' Ġorġ Zammit: noti kritiċi (1985); Ġużè Ellul Mercer: il-kitbiet miġbura, l-ewwel ktieb (1985); Malta fis-Seklu Tmintax: xi djarji Maltin tal-Imgħoddi (1981); An Introduction to Maltese Folklore (1947); Ħaġa Moħġaġa 1-4 (1957-59); Il-Folklor Malti (1960); Stejjer ta' Niesna (1962); Il-Bennejja tal-Folklor Malti (1964) ; Studies in Maltese Folklore (1976); Skunġrar u Orazzjoni fil-Poeżija Popolari Reliġjuża f'Malta (1981); Studji di tradizioni popolari maltesi (1989); L-Imgħoddi tal-Ġens Tagħna: Bejn Storja u Folklor (1990); Ħżuż Manwel Magri: Ktieb tan-Notamenti dwar il-Folklor Malti (1991); Kitba bil-Malti sal-1870 (2001) u Kitbiet Oħra tas-Seklu Dsatax ( 2002) He is the author of Word Only One (1971) Aquilina and Malta (1974); Guze Muscat Azzopardi: Studies (1991), Writing and Writers Maltese - three books (1962-64), Dun Karm: information new notes and critical (1985) Poems of George Zammit: notes critics (1985) Mercer: the writings collected, the first book (1985); Malta in the eighteenth century: some diaries Maltese Past ( 1981), An Introduction to English Folklore (1947); thing Moħġaġa 1-4 (1957-59), The Maltese Folklore (1960), Stories of our people (1962), The Builders of Maltese Folklore (1964); Studies in Maltese Folklore (1976); Skunġrar and Oration in Poetry People Religious Malta (1981); Studies di tradizioni popular maltesi (1989), The Past of Gender Ours: Between History and Folklore (1990); Ħżuż Emanuel Magri: Book of Records on Maltese Folklore (1991); Writing Maltese until 1870 (2001) and other writings of the Nineteenth Century (2002)   u Ħaġa Moħġaġa u Taħbil il-Moħħ Ieħor (2003) . and thing Moħġaġa and puzzles Another (2003).

Monday, August 12, 2013

Gabriel Caruana - Artist


Gabriel Caruana is a Maltese born ceramist and sculptor who has exhibited his work in various countries including Great Britain, USA, Germany, Holland and Italy. Gabriel Caruana studied in Malta, Italy and the USA, and also under the well known British artist Victor Pasmore.
His works are represented in various collections and Museums both in Malta and in other countries. The Maltese Government honored him with the presentation of a Medal for Artistic Achievement in 1999.
The artist was born in Balzan, Malta in 1929, his career spans thirty years of intensive artistic activity and travels. Early in his artistic career he showed a marked preference for the international modern art movement and as a result the traditional element has never been part of his work. He works in a variety of media exploiting their possibilities to the fullest extent but he truly excels in the medium of ceramics.
He was among the pioneers of modern art in Malta and his works have found recognition both in Malta and abroad. He has held solo exhibitions in Malta, England, Italy and Switzerland and has shown his work in group exhibitions in Osaka, Detroit, Munich, Tripoli, London, Israel, Melbourne, and several times in Malta. He has participated several times in the International Competition of Artistic Ceramics in Faenza, Italy and his works can be found at the International Museum of Ceramics of Faenza, at the Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester, at City of Manchester Art Gallery, and, at the National Museum of Fine Arts Malta. He has a studio in Rome and another one in Malta


Friday, August 9, 2013

Charles Camilleri Concertino (2nd Mvt)

Michele Gingras (clarinet faculty Miami University Ohio) and Brenda Wristen (piano faculty at U. Nebraska-Lincoln) perform Charles Camilleri's Concertino (2nd mvt)


Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Charles Camilleri

Malta can boast a few fine classical composers whose work is known abroad, including the classical-era Francesco Azopardi and Nicolò Isouard, and, in recent years, Ruben Zahra. However, Charles Camilleri, who has died aged 77, stands out in this company, because his music, comprising more than 300 compositions written over 65 years, is known around the world. In the UK, it has been played on Radio 3 and Classic FM, and a 1968 concert at the Royal Festival Hall, London, was devoted to his output. He should also be remembered for helping to revive traditional Maltese and Mediterranean folk styles.

A self-taught pianist and accordionist, Camilleri, who was born in Hamrun, came from a musically talented family. At 11, he composed his first work, a band march. By the age of 15, he had finished a series of compositions, including the much-loved Malta Suite, which were inspired by Maltese folk singing, known as ghana. He developed an interest in Stravinsky and Stockhausen (both of whom he later met), Bach, Chopin and north African music.

When he was 18, his family emigrated to Australia, but Camilleri did not take to it and left for London, where the impresario Harold Fielding snapped him up. Soon, he was touring with top names such as Hoagy Carmichael, Frank Sinatra, Tommy Steele and Frankie Laine. His abilities were also recognised by Malcolm Arnold, whom he helped with the score for the soundtrack of the 1957 film The Bridge On the River Kwai.

Camilleri left London for Canada, to study composition at the University of Toronto. He viewed the ensuing years as the most exciting of his life. "To be in New York in the 1960s was electrifying," he said. "In the United States and Canada I did everything. I conducted, I wrote film scores, I was published and then I was appointed conductor with CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation). Naturally I loved the money: however, around 1965, I decided to quit and dedicate the rest of my life to composition." He flew back to London and became a full-time composer.

Camilleri's fascination with Maltese and Mediterranean music can be felt in his Piano Concerto No 1, the Mediterranean, which he wrote aged 16 and revised in 1978. He also wrote the first-ever opera in Maltese, Il-Weghda (1984), and the language's first oratorio, Pawlu ta' Malta (1985), in honour of the island's patron saint. His second oratorio, Dun Gorg (2001), celebrated the life of a 20th-century Maltese saint. Jimmy Page approached him with the idea of commissioning a guitar concerto in 1981, but the project never came about.

From 1977 to 1983, Camilleri was professor of composition at the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto, and from 1992 to 1996 professor of music at the University of Malta. He also co-wrote two books: Mediterranean Music (1988) and The Folk Music of Malta.

Between 2003 and 2006, Camilleri was a member of the Malta Council for Culture and the Arts. In 2003, his opera Maltese Cross was performed in Paris; his last work, the New Idea Symphony - commissioned by his compatriot, the author Edward de Bono - was premiered in Brussels on 13 January this year.

He is survived by his wife, Doris, a writer, and their daughter Anja and son Charles.
• Charles Camilleri, composer, born 7 September 1931; died 3 January 2009

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Song of the Wooden Flute - Charles Camilleri

 Song of the Wooden Flute by Malta's famous composer, Mro Charles Camilleri.

We're showing video clips and photos taken around Malta and Gozo, all taken by my wife, Choy Hong (Jasmine) Grech.

Mro Camilleri, who has made a name for himself and for Malta all over the world, embarked on his career in his teenage years composing a number of works based on Maltese folk tales and legends.

Later on in life he conducted, wrote film scores, operas, orchestral works, chamber ensembles, concertos, operas, a ballet, the oratorio Pawlu ta' Malta and the famous Malta Suite.

He has over 300 compositions, half of which are recorded on some 36 CDs, sold all over the world.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Antoine Camilleri - Artist

Antoine Camileri - Artist
(Excerpts from the book "The Maltese" by Tony S. Mangion)

Antoine Camilleri was born in Valletta on the 5th of February 1922.  He studied at St. Aloysius College and the Government School of Art.  He completed his studies at the Ecole Nationale Superieure des Beaux Arts in Paris (1948-50).  In 1960 he was awarded a scholarship to the Bath Academy of Arts, UK and he won another scholarship in 1964 to the Accademia Pietro Vannucci in Perugia.  

Camilleri taught Art with the Education Department (1956-76) until he was appointed Education Officer for Arts and Crafts (1976-79).

He was one of the founder members of the Artists Group Atelier '56 and of the Artists' Guild.  He exhibited regularly in Malta and has presented his works in Paris, London, Edinburgh, New York, Hamburg, Frankfurt, Tripoli and the Biennale di Venezia in 1950.

Camilleri, who was engaged in a continuous process of introspection and experimentation, has won a number of prizes including the first prize for a self-portrait and two other first prizes awarded by the Malta Government Tourist Board for Poster designs.  He was also awarded second prize in the Homage in Dante competition (1966) and third prize in the Human Rights Art Exhibition held at the National Museum, Valletta (1968).

His first exhibition was held in 1947 at the British Council, Valletta while his latest entitled "Le Cri et Le Silence' was held  together with his family at the St. James Cavalier-Center for Creativity, Valletta in 2002.  He has participated in the Contemporary Maltese Art Exhibition (1980), the Maltese Landscapes Exhibition (1981), the Exhibition of Eleven Artists (1982) and the International Graphics II (1983).  All these exhibition were held at Gallerija Fenici.  In 1984 he also participated in Art '84 - Malta and Ghajta Siekta and at the Malta Arts Festival, New Gallery, Auberge de Provence in 1992.  The President of the Republic of Malta awarded Camilleri the Midalja Ghall-Qadi tar-Repubblika (MQR) in 1996.  

Monday, July 22, 2013

Carmel Busuttil

Carmel Busuttil (born 29 February 1964 in RabatMalta) is one of Malta's most experienced football players. Now retired from playing, he is assistant coach of the Malta national football team.


Busuttil started his career with Rabat Ajax and won 2 titles there. He then went on to have a short one year spell at Verbania Calcio in Italy, where he was capped 20 times and scored 8 goals. He then moved on to spend 6 years playing for Belgian Club FC KRC Genk (322), four of them as captain, and finishing as the club's top scorer for three seasons. In 1994 he returned to play for the Maltese club Sliema Wanderers, where he scored 78 goals, helping his team to win the Maltese Premier League and also the Maltese Cup. He was capped 113 times for the Malta national football team and was their top scorer with 23 goals, until recently Michael Mifsud broke Busuttil's record.
He is known as 'Il-Bużu', an abbreviation of his surname. After he retired, he was football coach at a couple of respected Maltese private schools, most notably St. Michael's Foundation for Education. He then formed his own youth training academy, The Buzu football school. In November 2003, to celebrate the 50th anniversary of UEFA, he was selected as the Golden Player by the Malta Football Association as the most outstanding player of Malta in the last 50 years. Busuttil has also won wider acclaim. In 2000 he received the prestigious Order of Merit of the Republic from the then president of Malta, Professor Guido de Marco, for his contribution to Maltese sport.
As a coach, Busuttil had a stint with the Maltese Football League side Pietà Hotspurs, and assisted Horst Heese in the guidance of the Maltese national team between 2003 and 2005. He return to the position in 2009 as assistant to John Buttigieg. They are both on a 5-year contract. However, in 2011, they were both sacked and replaced by the Italian Pietro Ghedin.

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