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Title: The machismo cult : Malta's independence in contemporary politics
Other Titles: Malta's quest for independence : reflections on the course of Maltese history
Authors: Frendo, Henry
Keywords: Decolonization -- Malta
Malta -- History -- British occupation, 1800-1964
Malta -- History -- 1964-
Political parties -- Malta
Issue Date: 1989
Publisher: Valletta Publishing & Promotion Co. Ltd.
Citation: Frendo, H. (1989). The machismo cult : Malta's independence in contemporary politics. In H. Frendo (Ed.), Malta's quest for independence : reflections on the course of Maltese history (pp. 1-18). VaIletta: Valletta Publishing.
Abstract: Independence is not made in one day; but there is a day when it is obtained. Like most ex-colonies, Malta since 1965 had celebrated 21 September as her National Day. A measure of consensus had been reached in Parliament at the time that Dr. Giorgio Borg Olivier headed Malta's (Nationalist) Government. A quarter of a century later, Malta's statehood is itself beginning to have a history. In this - especially after 1971 - the very acquisition of independence has been turned into an acrimonious partisan issue between the main contending political parties, although the argument that questions how far Malta became independent in 1964 remains fundamentally a political rather than a constitutional one. 'Independence', 'freedom' and indeed 'national' days have assumed an unenviable (and unique) history of their own. Independence Day was eliminated as a national day and even as a public holiday by the Mintoff - led Malta Labour Party (MLP) following its assumption of office in 1971. After using the pre-independence national day of 8 September (1565/1945) temporarily as a stop-gap, national day became 13 December (1974) when Malta was declared a republic - no longer a constitutional monarchy as it had been since independence. But this day was itself replaced by another, that of 31 March (1979) marking the expiry of a new military agreement with the former colonial power, Britain, concluded in 1972. When in May 1987 the Partit Nazzjonaiista (PN) were returned after sixteen years in opposition, the government would have wished to rehabilitate Independence Day; equally it sought "reconciliation' in an island that had become more internally polarized than ever. In view of the impossibility of reaching consensus about restoring Independence Day to its former status, in March 1989 it was agreed to do without a National Day as such and instead to have no less than five (5) days designated as "national" feasts, these to include 21 September 1964, 13 December 1974 and 31 March 1979. The first of these to be commemorated under this new agreement, 31 March, ended in a terrible fracas during which, inter alia, the Commander of the Maltese Armed Forces was assaulted on the dias by well-known MLP supporters as he was about to take the salute. Thus the meaning attributed to words - 'freedom' itself, for one - begs many a definition. Nationalistic rhetoric abounds in what appears to have become a machismo bout: 'whatever you can do I can do better'.
Description: Includes author's preface.
Appears in Collections:Malta's quest for independence : reflections on the course of Maltese history
Scholarly Works - InsMS

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