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Title: Exile or paradise? Comino – on the fringes of Maltese politics and public policy
Authors: Warrington, Edward
Keywords: Political planning -- Malta
Comino (Malta) -- Political aspects
Islands -- Economic aspects
Comino (Malta) -- Description and travel
Comino (Malta) -- History
Issue Date: 2017
Publisher: University of Malta. Faculty of Economics, Management and Accountancy. Department of Public Policy
Citation: Warrington, E. (2017). Exile or paradise? Comino – on the fringes of Maltese politics and public policy. In M. T. Vassallo, & C. Tabone (Eds.), Public life in Malta : papers on governance, politics and public affairs in the EU's smallest member state : Vol. 2/2 (pp. 117-136). Msida: University of Malta.
Abstract: It is not difficult to imagine the scene: a small boat, laden with seven men, is being rowed across a shimmering blue sea, approaching a bleached, forbidding landscape. A yawning cave punctures the soaring cliff and, above the cliff, a turreted, crenellated, ruinous castle rises tremendous against the sky. The boat glides into the cave, disgorging a frightened prisoner into the castle’s dank bowels. In the Warden’s quarters, a chilling exchange takes place. Having listened to Edmond Dantes’ plea of innocence, the Warden replies, "My dear Dantes, I know perfectly well that you are innocent. Why else would you be here? If you were truly guilty, there are a hundred prisons in France where they would lock you away. But Chateau d’If is where they put the ones they are ashamed of." There follow the scenes of Dantes’ imprisonment, his improbable friendship with the Abbé Faria, another prisoner; the Abbé’s fortuitous death; and Dantes’ escape from the Chateau d’If. Later, another small boat appears, carrying Dantes and Ali, his Nubian slave, navigating a similarly forbidding shore, all caverns and sunbleached rock: only this is the island of Monte Cristo, bearing the promise of a fabled treasure. Indeed, Dantes dives to the bottom of a watery cavern, recovering the treasure’s apparently boundless riches. In a perfect reversal of the scene where Dantes is taken to the Chateau d’If, his boat pulls away, laden to the gunwales with crates of coin, bullion and jewels, her master intent on a new life ... and on revenge! Natives of the Maltese Islands who have watched the film version of The Count of Monte Cristo released in 2002, in which these scenes appear, will recognise at least some of the landscapes in which the story unfolds. Birgu and Comino feature prominently as the settings for numerous important scenes: little Comino, in fact, doubles as the soul-destroying Chateau d’If and the life-restoring Island of Monte Cristo. Not for the first time, and most assuredly not the last, Comino flickered into the limelight for an evanescent moment of fame ... or notoriety. In choosing Comino as the setting for the Chateau d’If and the Island of Monte Cristo, the film’s producers recognised, perhaps unwittingly, the little island’s dual character, its two contradictory roles in Maltese history, politics and public policy.
ISBN: 9789995710477
Appears in Collections:Public life in Malta : papers on governance, politics and public affairs in the EU's smallest member state : Vol. 2 / 3

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