George Santayana in 1905 wrote that ‘those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.’ The quote was slightly changed in a speech by Winston Churchill to the House of Commons in 1948 when he said that ‘those who fail to learn from history are condemned to repeat it.’
History is not written by paid trolls like Manwel Cuschieri, Tony Zarb, Robert Musumeci, Manwel Micallef or Karl Stagno Navarra. History is written through facts and achievements known and acknowledged by the whole world.
Take Ġorġ Borg Olivier. He was a humble politician, who was tormented all his political life because of an indiscretion by his wife. He was continually called a cuckold by Mintoffian thugs. Yet Ġorġ Borg Olivier is not remembered for this, he is remembered as the statesman who, through his tenacity, made Malta an independent country and changed it from a colonial state depending on the British Forces to a new Malta based on tourism and manufacturing.
Then came Dom Mintoff, with his strange, rough and confrontational ways, who led Malta with stubbornness, vetoes and close friendship with dictators like Muammar Gaddafi, Nicolae Ceaucescu, North Korea (the famous arms deal signed by Lorry Sant) and China (the fabbrika tal-elf). Yet Mintoff managed to improve social services, built housing estates (even if they were distributed strategically around Malta for him to gain votes in traditionally Nationalist strongholds).
During Mintoff’s rule corruption was rife, as was violence. Nationalist Party clubs were burnt nearly every single day. The family of the Opposition Leader was attacked and his house ransacked. The Times of Malta building was gutted on Black Monday. Yet Mintoff will go down in history as the Prime Minister who made Malta a republic and introduced social benefits. Mintoff disagreed with the undemocratic 1981 election result and wanted to go for an early election but was held at ransom by his corrupt ministers. He got his revenge a few of years later.
Then came the worst period of Maltese recent history. Mintoff left and appointed his stooge Karmenu Mifsud Bonnici, maybe the worst ever Maltese politician. KMB was the first ever Maltese Prime Minister who was in office without one single vote. During his tenure Malta burned, literally. He was a spineless leader, who allowed violence go unpunished. He even led the ‘aristocracy of the workers’ attack and burning of the Curia, barely 90 metres away from the Police HQ. Who can forget the Tal-Barrani fracas and the murder of Raymond Caruana? Those indeed were the years of fire.
In 1987, maybe the most important politician in Maltese history, Eddie Fenech Adami, gained power. Within a few years, along with a strong visionary team, he literally transformed Malta from a third world socialist regime to a thriving economic miracle. He did away with second hand telecommunications systems, coal-fired power stations and guided Malta to be a modern country. His efforts were recognised by the whole world. It was not a coincidence that the Cold War ended on a stormy December day in 1989. News reports at the time referred to the Malta Summit as the most important since the 1945 Yalta Conference.
Eddie Fenech Adami had a dream, of taking Malta into the European Union. His dream was kept on hold by the 22-month long Alfred Sant chaotic administration. The only feather in Alfred Sant’s cap was that he eradicated Labour’s violent faction. After a few months the saviour Mintoff turned into a traitor and Sant went to Brussels as an MEP – with his referendum voting document still in his pocket. Fenech Adami returned to power to make his vision come true when Malta joined the European Union. From then on Malta stood proud as a member of Europe’s community.
Lawrence Gonzi had to face Europe’s worst recession in its history. Yet he passed with flying colours, having Angela Merkel admit that she wished Germany, the largest economy in Europe could emulate Malta. In spite of all his troubles, even by some of his own glory-seeking MPs, and an unprecedented economic crisis Lawrence Gonzi managed to attract huge new investments to Malta – financial services, pharmaceuticals, aircraft maintenance, online gaming amongst other industries. He left Malta as a stable economic reality.
Then Joseph il-Kink took over. And everything went ‘puff’. His famous road map started working from the beginning. Accounts were set up in Panama and secret corrupt agreements with Aliyev were signed, away from the prying eyes of the media and civil servants. He sold Maltese (and European citizenship) to shady Arabs and Russians. Never had Malta faced such a corrupt government. Every deal, every agreement every law passed smelled of corruption. We know for sure, through evidence given under oath in Court, that his office at least covered up the assassination of Daphne Caruana Galizia. Maybe worse.
Joseph Muscat will go down in history as the most corrupt we ever had. They may put up a statue after his death, but then again, even Lorry Sant has a statue in Paola. After leaving Castille in shame, Joseph Muscat, like Mintoff in the eighties, left an anointed one to ensure ‘continuity’.
It is still too soon to judge Robert Abela. But from what we have seen up to now, one can already compare him unfavourably with Karmenu Mifsud Bonnici. Only time will tell.