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Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Over the Border (reprise)

A follow-up from my friend Ricardo Dominguez of the Electronic Disturbance on last week's virtual sit-in against the MinuteMen:

From: rdom@THING.NET
SWARM the Minutemen - Action Update May 30th, 2005

SWARM would like to offer a sincere thanks to the more than 78,500 people from around the world who joined the Electronic Disturbance Theater's virtual sit-in against the MinuteMen. It seems that in a time when almost all the space in the United States has been privatized and free speech zones have been reduced to cages topped with barbed wire, the internet can still serve as a commons where people can gather together to create positive social change.

- Swarm the Minutemen

- Electronic Disturbance Theater

A global swarm has stood up and said no to the racist violence the MinuteMen project embodies and has consequently rejected this latest incarnation of the rising tide of fascism within the United States. We hope this will contribute to the movements around the world struggling to stop the violence of the MinuteMen and the Border Patrol. Together we fight for human rights for all people, regardless of migration status.

There were reports that at times the server was not responding and at times the server was unresponsive as well. Apparently the swarm had an effect. Within the MinuteMen circles the action was discussed as well.

I'm proud to say that I was one of the 78,500+ people who took part in this action last week.

Sunday, May 29, 2005


this is an audio post - click to play

When the Levee Breaks

It's been quite a week in New York. As I prepare to head back to England I thought I should let regular readers of my blog know that I may not be blogging as frequently over the coming week. Besides shaking off jetlag and attending to a various odd jobs, I need to finish writing my paper for the Digital Communities conference.

If I find some spare time today I may experiment with my second audio blog; even if it's just a test of Audioblogger's features. If you missed my first audio blog, you can get it by clicking on this link to see and hear what happened three weeks ago. I'm still quite surprised that no other Malta-related blog has explored audio yet. Perhaps someone has and I'm not aware of it. So, if you know of any other Maltese blog that has used audio at least once, please let me know.


UPDATE at 2:25pm (EDT): Since posting the above entry I've managed to test the service. The actual link to this audio blog appears above and/or in the blog entry after this. What you'll hear if you click on the graphic link is me speaking in Maltese for less than a minute.

Comments and questions are very welcome.


UPDATE at 6:15pm (EDT): I'm in the Terminal 4 Departures Lounge at JFK Airport in New York. Yes, I'm blogging at this time thanks to a free wifi signal I picked up just outside one of the executive lounges from one of the many airlines that fly from this terminal. Between the earlier test and this experience I can safely say that it's really easy to blog without being tied down to my computer somewhere I don't really care to be. The possibilities offered by this technology are quite exciting. Naturally, there's more to it than just the cool factor. What matters is what we do with it. I'll stop here for now because I have a flight to catch.

No eternal reward
will forgive us now
for wasting the dawn.

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Over the Border

A message from my friend Ricardo Dominguez of the Electronic Disturbance Theater:

We invite people from all over the world who oppose racist violence to join the Electronic Disturbance Theatre action on May 27th, 28th and 29th, 2005 to engage in a virtual sit-in on the MinuteMen website during their "Unite to Fight" Summit.

Dear sisters and brothers,

Electronic Disturbance Theater (EDT) in solidarity with Swarm The MinuteMen action will hold a 3 Day Virtual Sit-In starting on May 27th to May 29th (2005) on the MinuteMen Project. We call on all you to join us and let the MinuteMen Project know that hard borders are alien in an age of global interdependence and to the ideals of liberty as a "golden door" that is open to all. An ideal that so many have died trying to reach.

To join the Virtual Sit-In starting on May 27th click:

Why should you join the Virtual Sit-In on May 27th 2005:

For Benito González Cruz, Benito González Serrano, Javier Rojas Bracamonte, Juan José Romo Zetina, José Luis Garza, Roberto Acegueda López, Román Robles Rojas, Reynaldo González Corona and the thousands of other people who have been murdered for simply trying to cross the border into what is now the United States and which was once Mexico.

For any questions on the Electronic Disturbance Theater's action in solidarity with SWARM the MinuteMen contact Ricardo Dominguez (co-founder of the Electronic Disturbance Theater) at

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Don't let me be misunderstood

It's a grey chilly day in New York City today, so Christine and I are heading down to southern New Jersey until this evening.

Can you imagine how uninteresting my blog would be if most of my entries were similar to the first sentence I wrote here today?

Over the past week or so I've blogged almost every day. In some ways I regret that, mostly because of the comments some of the postings generated. Here's what I mean...

It started a couple of weeks ago when I blogged about a proposal by the Malta government to entrench something that's already illegal by criminal law into constitutional law. Since the subject of the constitutional hack-job happened to be abortion, follow-up comments on my blog about this topic degenerated into a debate between those who are pro-life vs those who are pro-choice. Meanwhile, our grubby politicians continue to make a medieval spectacle of themselves. Thankfully, other bloggers picked up on the actual bone contention and understood that the main argument was (and should be) "don't mess with the constitution!" An excellent blog entry on this topic comes from cartoonist Mikiel Galea, who is also a worthy writer of social commentary. Another eloquent entry comes from Antoine Cassar, even if it's only related to all this in a tangential way. If you can't read Maltese, or don't give much credence to blogs anyway, there's an article in The Malta Independent by Raphael Vassallo that's also most poignant.

Then, last week, Julian Manduca died. Tributes to him came from all spheres. So you can imagine my surprise when public comments following my blog entry about Choppy's passing turned into a debate about healthy lifestyles. It almost reads like an episode of the Twilight Zone. I wonder what Julian would make of it.

The cherry on top of this messy cake, however, came after my second open letter to Chiara following her performance at this year's Eurovision Song Contest. I don't have anything bad to say to or about Chiara. My words were sincere, even if slightly sarcastic or marginally jaded. Chiara was never meant to be the victim of my annoyance. The mostly-anonymous commentators on that entry believed otherwise. Poor misguided fools! (How's that for patronizing?) They clearly either misunderstood my intentions and/or have no idea where I'm coming from. At least it's not as bad as the inane comments posted after my first open letter to Chiara last February.

So, tell me. What should I do? Retreat to a shady corner and lick my shallow wounds? Maybe not. Few things are worse than feeling sorry for yourself. Should I say nothing about the lastest item in the news that strikes just the right (or should that be wrong) chord with me?

Here's what I've decided to do instead: my friend Joe Vassallo sent me a beautiful photo he took at work one early May morning about three weeks ago, and I'm sharing it with you here today. This picture is entitled please spare me the sort of irascible comments that triggered today's blog entry.

Photo: NUDE by Joe Vassallo - 3 May 2005

Photo: NUDE by Joe Vassallo - 3 May 2005

Monday, May 23, 2005

Shrinking Universe

This just in from The Times of Malta:

"Staff and directors at the Allied Group have been utterly devastated by the sudden death of one of their best loved colleagues, Alfred Giglio. The 47-year-old The Times photographer had just returned to Strickland House after an assignment when he suddenly collapsed and died on the spot."
I didn't know him well, but I believe that this is a great loss. Among his best known photos are those seen by many people last January where he captured the atrocious handling of detainees by AFM personnel at the Safi Barracks.

I'm sure that this will make many of us think deeply about our own mortality and the impermanence of everything; especially coming as it does less than a week after Julian Manduca's passing.

My condolences to his family, colleagues, and friends.

Sunday, May 22, 2005

Little Wing

Jackson Heights
New York City

22 May 2005

Dear Chiara -

Congratulations on your impressive placing at the 2005 Eurovision Song Contest! I was not in the mood for the song contest this year - mostly because I'm still a little depressed by Choppy's passing - but your outstanding performance has moved me to write you this second open letter via my blog.

The fact that you have managed to acquire the highest number of points ever given to Malta at the Eurovision Song Contest should not go unmentioned. Although it has become less likely for anyone to know the outcome of the event before the end of the show, I believed all along that you would do better than you did back in 1998. Your second place is not only an improvement on your outstanding third place in Birmingham but also better than Ira Losco's spectacular second place in Estonia. Sadly, second place, as the saying goes is close, but no cigar. Malta being what it is you'll still get a hero's welcome on your return home, even though you're scheduled to get back in the middle of the night.

I have great admiration for the Italians, who have refused to take part in the Eurovision Song Contest after they hosted it at Cinecitta' in 1991. I remember a brief conversation I had with Peppino di Capri backstage that year, where he confessed (partly off the record) that he was selected to be that year's representative for his country because they didn't want to win it again after Toto Cutugnio's mega-success with Insieme (Unite Europe) the previous year. I wonder whether Malta would do the same after it won the Eurovision at least once. Enzo Guzman would be a great stand-in for Peppino di Capri's role, but somehow I doubt we'd take the honorable way out.

Incidentally, I wonder how Olivia would have done if she had won the Malta Song for Europe last winter. Stylistically, her song was closer to this year's winner from Greece than your own. Would a different song style have garnered the 38 extra points Malta needed this year to make it to the much-coveted first place? That's a question I doubt anyone can answer, of course. So don't mind me bringing up Olivia again after all you've been through in the last few months and whatever's in store for you in the coming weeks.

I honestly don't give much credence to the whole geopolitical voting argument. Do you? Something tells me you're above all that and that you're more concerned about your father's health than in making sense out of the whole who-voted-for-whom-and-why debate. May he make a full recovery as soon as possible so you can really focus on what's truly important in your life.

As for myself, I can truthfully say that I lost interest in the Eurovision Song Contest many years ago. Perhaps that's partly because I was so closely involved in the team that took Malta back into the contest after an absence of 16 years in 1991. Most likely, however, it's also because when I see who the winners of the contest usually turn out to be I see that, as is the case this year, it certainly is not the act/song that could be remembered the most out of that year's crop. Oh well, such is life! And that's exactly my point. Why put so much time and effort into something that's so shallow and forgetful? Maybe it's because there's always hope that someone like you could bring the gold to Malta some time. Relatively mediocre acts from countries less resourceful than Malta have done it, so why can't we, right?

Anyway, may you find the happiness you so truly deserve in your least until the next time you decide to seek it in something as perplexing at the Eurovision Song Contest.

Yours sincerely,

  Toni Sant

Saturday, May 21, 2005

Goodbye Yellow Brick Road

The Muppet's Wonderful Wizard of Oz world premiere aired on ABC-TV last night. It was as cute as any Muppet show can be but quite disappointing for any Oz fan like me. Ashanti plays Dorothy, but is far from being anywhere as endearing as Judy Garland or Diana Ross. Kermit the Frog is the Scarecrow, the Great Gonzo is the Tin Man, and Fozzie Bear plays the Cowardly Lion. Once you see them together for a few minutes that's good enough and there really isn't much else to the movie, expect that Miss Piggy plays all the witches, good and bad, while Toto the dog is replaced with a pet prawn (!) sporting a Spanish accent.

Today's Franklin Furnace meeting in Brooklyn marked the beginning of a new era for the organization. With the help of artists-in-residence Yury Gitman and Joshua Kinberg, the Furnace will now move towards dynamic publishing and RSS driven by blog technology. This is a significant move because it is now clear that Franklin Furnace must continue to evolve to remain the amazing force that it's been in the last 30 years. Martha Wilson's desire to remain on the cutting edge rather than rest on the laurels she has earned for the Furnace over the past three decades is truly inspirational.

See? I didn't blog about the Eurovision Song Contest, even though Malta received the highest number of points ever this evening. Perhaps I'll blog about that tomorrow as Chiara prepares to return home to a hero's welcome. We'll see what sunday morning feels like in New York City tomorrow. It usually mellows me out in a very Velvet Underground sort of way.

Friday, May 20, 2005


The next thing I blog about cannot be the Eurovision Song Contest. I named this entry Angel not for Chiara's song, but for Hendrix's.

Yesterday I left my home in Scarborough to visit Christine and Dina who were waiting for me faithfully at my New York home. Travel time on such a journey is such that it's easy to have long meditation sessions. My meditations on the train and plane included Immanuel Mifsud's new book of poems, and Julian's passing. The main themes were change, pain, and loss. Out of these three themes come another three: impermanence, determination, and a deeper appreciation of life.

While I felt a great emptiness inside over the 48 hours or so before I arrived in New York, this emptiness has now been filled mostly and thankfully with all the love Christine and I (not to mention Dina) have for each other. This trip to New York would have been an emotional rollercoaster even without the meditation. On second thoughts, the meditations have helped make this visit to New York emotionally richer. This afternoon I received an email from my boss who among other things said, "remember the part where you enjoy being with each other." Serendipity? Perhaps not.

Erezija posted a very beautiful piece on his blog in Maltese about Choppy's funeral. While reading erezija's blog, a strange thought kept flashing in my mind: how ironic that Julian had a fatal heart attack on the first night in many that I forgot to take my heart medication.

Last night, somewhat jetlagged, I woke up slightly panicked just minutes after falling asleep around midnight because I realized that I had forgotten to take my medication again. Without any hesitation, Christine brought me my pills and a glass of water. It's so good to be home with my monkey and my dog.

Maybe I should have named today's entry after Donna Summer's big hit I Feel Love, but Angel seems more appropriate to me. I promise that my next blog entry will not be about the Eurovision, even though the final night begins in less than 24 hours. Tomorrow morning I'm off to Brooklyn for an interesting meeting at Franklin Furnace, so I'll probably blog about that.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Goodbye Julian

I'm speechless. I opened my email inbox this morning to find two messages informing me that Julian Manduca had a heart attack and passed away yesterday evening. He was 46.
Journalist Julian Manduca
I first met Julian, whom we all knew as Choppy, about 20 years ago, and he was always a remarkable man. What a loss!

I need some time to digest this shocking that's it about Choppy's passing for now.

Here's the news report from


After thinking about what happened to Choppy last night for several hours, I am fondly recalling various wonderful instances where our paths overlapped, and I'd like to share some of them with you.

Earliest memory: meeting somewhere in Valletta to hear about the latest plans from Żgħażagħ għall-Ambjent. Although I cared for many of the environmental issues they were involved in, I wasn't as idealistic as he and his mates were. We didn't know each other before this, and I doubt either one of us believed we would meet much again. Then again, there's hardly any space in Malta for a couple of misfits like us to get lost in the crowd. And so on to the next memory.

Choppy at Sapienza's: "aw ras! ara naqra x'żewg kotba dawn..." One was by Aleister Crowley, the other a biography of Syd Barrett. The first of several interesting books I discovered thanks to Julian. Another two I still own and read from every now and then are Jay Stevens' Storming Heaven (what a book!) and an unusual publication on the music of Robert Fripp.

At his former girlfriend's birthday party in some fancy villa around Santa Maria Estate: "aw ras! trid naqra minn din ix-xarba li ħawwadt jien? ma ġietx eżatt kif xtaqtha imma l-effett xorta hemm qiegħed!!" I don't remember sleeping at home that fact I don't remember much else about that night except that it was also the first time I met the wonderful lover-of-life Carmelo Vassallo.

Julian and I were both mature students at the University of Malta between 1992 and 1994. It was at that time that I joined the University Film Club committee, where on Julian's insistence I served as Film Club president. Also during this period we were both elected to serve a term on the KSU executive committee. One campaign we worked on together involved an attempt to convince the pertinent authorities at the University of Malta to allow the installation of a condom vending machine in the restrooms at Students' House. The Film Club exists today in large part thanks to Julian's sense of organization in the late 80s and early 90s. Without that I doubt many people in Malta would have seen a film such as Derek Jarman's Caravaggio, the Film Club's largest crowd-puller for many years.

A fellow female student was quite infatuated with him. He wasn't interested in her. I was interested in her. She wasn't interested in me. I won't name her here of course, but if she reads this I think she'll know this is about her. Ah, the joys of enlightenment! I never managed to tell Choppy I thought he had testicular fortitude after this episode, but he did anyway.

The last time I saw him was by the Sliema Police Station in June or July 2001. I was off to meet someone in St Julians. He introduced me to Irene, whom he had recently married. He was happy for me that I had found my "groove" in New York, however, our encounter was brief and consisted mostly of small talk. We kept in touch by email after that; mostly he would email me to help publicize some theatrical production the company he had set up with Irene was about to present at St James Cavallier or wherever. The one time we broke this routine was when we had a brief discussion (still via email) about the Applied and Interactive Theatre Guide. Among other things, he asked me what I thought about his involvement in the Maltese theatre scene. Was I surprised that he was now involved in it? With Choppy I knew to expect unusual things. I also never excepted what happened last night.

I can only imagine what a tough time this must be on Irene. I hardly know her, but I'm sure you were a bright light in her life. Anyone who knew you will miss you, but your spirit will live on!

Sunday, May 15, 2005


This afternoon Pierre Mejlak asked me why I hadn't blogged anything this weekend. Well, I'm far too busy just to be blogging away without focusing on the thousand and one tasks I need to attend to before I leave for New York within the next 5 days. Among these tasks is a paper I'm writing for a conference on Digital Communities I'm attending in Italy next month.

Then, a few minutes ago, Mark Anthony Spiteri wrote an interesting response to my last blog entry about Id-Dar tal-Providenza and the Kerygma Volleyball Marathon and I found myself spending more time on blogs than I had planned to do today. So, I thought, now I can move on and blog about something else since there's at least one decent comment on my last post.

Just because things don't appear to be as busy as we sometimes would like them to be doesn't mean that nothing at all is happening. Seemingly irrelevant things happen all the time. For example, if I weren't about to point it out now, did you notice that there's a new Feedburner thingy attached to this blog now? Or that Robert Micallef is now's contributing editor for the Blogs section. Or that it's already been one week since I became the first ever Maltese language audio blogger?

One of the most remarkable things ever said by someone I admire comes from John Cage who said that the highest purpose is to have no purpose at all. This is not to say that anything goes; the highest aim in life is not towards an achievement but away from achievements altogether. This probably only make sense to people who either appreciate ancient eastern philosophies that glorify nothingness or anyone who has read and understands what Cage was really on about.

Meanwhile, back in Uzbekistan...

Friday, May 13, 2005

Money's Too Tight to Mention

I was shocked to learn that Id-Dar tal-Providenza is facing serious financial problems. The annual Kerygma Volleyball Marathon has apparently been quite instrumental in keeping the place going for the past several years.

The announcement comes with concerns about the fact that the Kerygma Volleyball Marathon has been cancelled this year. All this makes me realize how we take so many things for granted.

There was a time when the Kerygma Volleyball Marathon did not exist. I remember collaborating with Fr Charles Fenech and several Kerygma activists to publicise the first editions of this fundraising event via Radio Malta about 15 years ago. Charles Flores, Radio Malta's Head of Programmes at that time, was very supportive of the cause and put aside several hours of airtime for the marathon each year. We had studio interviews, phone-in reports from wherever the marathon was going on, and even fully-fledged outside broadcast shows featuring DJs and radio presenters live from the volleyball court. Part of the reason we did all this was to keep up the festive spirit for the participants; not that they really needed much cheering up back then.

All this started at a time when the only other charity fundraiser on the local airwaves was Milied Flimkien, the successor of the annual Christmas Ring Us Up campaign and the antecedant for L-Istrina and its current ilk.

Running a complex such as Id-Dar tal-Providenza costs tens of thousands of liri each month. So when an important source of its revenue disappears, albeit temporarily, it is indeed cause for concern - particularly when one keeps in mind that Id-Dar tal-Providenza is a truly charitable institution in every sense of the word.

If, as St Paul famously explained, charity is a synonym for love, then this is a case where money can buy love...and apparently lots of it. The angels need to see us making love.

Monday, May 09, 2005

I Don't Know What It Is

I know that my argument about women's reproductive rights is a slippery slope. However, I'm unable to remain silent as I see my country behave like the worst of religiously extremist nations.

When Justice Minister Tonio Borg brought up the subject of a constitutional amendment to outlaw abortion last week, I took it as just a flamboyant jesture from a politician. Evidently I was wrong. This crazy idea has legs! Incredibly, it even has public support from the opposition party, which was erstwhile contrary to just about anything proposed by the government.

What I don't understand is why there is a need to make unconstitutional something that is already illegal!

Any Maltese woman who wants to exercise her reproductive rights has to go overseas. This is now easier than ever since we're all EU citizens. However, any woman or girl who cannot afford (financially or emotionally) to seek help overseas will be damned by consitutional law to consider doing anything else with her body than whatever is sanctioned by Malta's constitution. As if the fiery fire of hell (for those who believe in it) is not bad enough after life, we must also make some people's lives a living hell if they happen to live in Malta.

Once again, I am not advocating abortion! I am simply questioning the way Maltese authorities choose to mess with our rights as private citizens.

I pray that this is merely a show of force for national law in retaliation against the rejection of recognition for Christianity as the official religion of Europe in the EU constitution.

Saturday, May 07, 2005

Who Needs Information

This morning I was invited to speak on Sandro Mangion's Spirtu Pront, which is broadcast on the Malta Labour Party's Super 1 Radio every Saturday morning. Sandro's studio guests were Joe Mifsud (MLP's International Secretary) and James Debono (journalist, Malta Today); Leo Brincat, Malta's shadow foreign minister appeared towards the beginning of the programme by telephone. The topic chosen for this morning was the UK General Election. Apparently I have something interesting to say about this by virtue of the fact that I live in the UK and my association with

My home phone rang a few seconds before my voice was due on the air. Sandro had contacted me by email earlier so I had managed to shake the pre-weekend sleepiness out of my head before I started speaking on the radio. Somewhat typically, Joe Mifsud greeted me with a silly question about being mistaken for a terrorist at airports and what not - giving Sandro the opportunity to mention last Sunday's Manic cover story. This melted any icy feeling I had about appearing on a political party's radio station; I made a point to avoid appearing on such channels during my years as a professional broadcaster in Malta. The reason for this is simply because I believe that political parties should not own dominant media organizations in any society...not even in the name of (pseudo) democracy.

Anyway, if you understand Maltese and care to listen to what I had to say just click here and you'll access an audio file captured while I was speaking - duration: 11 minutes and 56 seconds. It's nothing fact it's the sort of thing that makes blogger erezija ask the most legitimate question of all: so what's the big deal with this Toni Sant?

I'm sure I can think of better ways to spend my Saturday mornings, but not today. I've got too many other things to do and think about to worry too much about that. Besides, Sandro is an excellent broadcast producer and I'd never say no to an invitation from him...even when it's on the sort of radio station I wouldn't listen to except for research purposes.

this is an audio post - click to play

Thursday, May 05, 2005

What's the buzz?

Following the publication of Ġużè Stagno's Manic cover story last Sunday, a Maltese blogger who uses the name ereżija posted an entry entitled "Toni Sant?" on a blog called Il-Kriżi...u kif tegħlibha (translation: Crisis...and how to overcome it). I don't know this blogger, and this is quite evident from what's written in the "Toni Sant?" entry.

Ereżija's Maltese-language entry starts by telling readers that it should be easy to make enemies in the Maltese blogsphere by asking the question: who is this Toni Sant? To be more more precise, the question raised is about my achievements (for lack of a better term) rather than my identity or personal character. Ereżija claims to remember my TV show Mill-Garaxx as "ħelu, imma xejn specjali" ("sweet, but nothing special"), and recalls my days as a university student calling me "karattru mill-aħjar, persuna simpatika" (which roughly translates as nice guy). Well, what can I say? Thank you for your kind words! Ereżija's big question, however, is "Jista' xi ħadd jgħidli x'għamel speċjali li huwa daqshekk rispettat?" (Can someone tell me what he's done that's so special to earn him such respect?)

Ġużè Stagno and Mark Vella, not to mention Robert Micallef and Pierre Mejlak, are probably responsible for ereżija's question. I don't think there's anything but sincere bewilderment in ereżija's question. No one's feathers will be roughled by this question, but perhaps Ġużè, Mark, Robert, Pierre or someone else cares to engage with erezija's question. I'm not fishing for compliments. Honestly! I'm just saying, does anyone care to take up erezija's question?

If I were to attempt a response to ereżija's question I'd say that what comes across as "respect" is mostly human warmth. My professional activities over the past 25 years or so mean very little to anyone who wasn't aware of the struggle against all odds that came with whatever they experienced. Some of these people simply lived similar struggles in their own lives while others saw the challenges first hand by being a part of whatever I was involved in, be it radio, TV, theatre, music, or the Internet.

Then again, it could be that, as the Bard put it, it's all just a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Bombs Away

I meant to blog about this yesterday but I'm just too busy right now. Still, I couldn't leave this alone; although there isn't really much to say (other than the obvious), there certainly is a lot to think about.

Portes des Bombes - vandal attack - 3 May 2005The attacks on Portes des Bombes and the Catholic institute in Floriana come at a critical moment as Malta enters its second year as a full member of the EU. Such vandalism happens in many other countries, some of which are better equipped that Malta (mainly through CCTV) to rein in the perpetrators.

I believe that the choice of location and the form of the attacks is not inconsequential. In 2003 the Government made a big deal about spending over Lm50,0000 to clean-up/restore the old Portes des Bombes in time for Malta's accession to the EU. So this clearly flies against that sort of effort and the pomp and circumstance that go with it. It's also a very visible location. Then again, it's somewhat pranky that the vandals did no permanent damage. Can you imagine how much worse things would be today if they had used a small bomb instead of tar to make their mark?

The Catholic institute has been vandalized before. The politically charged graffiti "divorzju issa!!" (divorce now!!) marked the west side of the building throughout most of the 1980s; it has also been immortalised in Immanuel Mifsud's L-Istejjer Strambi ta' Sara Sue Sammut. This week's attack on the CI is not as clearly motivated as that old one. What did the vandals have in mind? Clearer separation of church and state? Divorce and/or abortion legislation? A protest call on the election of the new pope perhaps? Or maybe just a little more tar than they thought they needed to mark the old Portes des Bombes.

Sunday, May 01, 2005

Knowing Me Knowing You

One of the most memorable moments in my life this year was unleashed on newspaper readers in Malta this morning. Today's Manic magazine cover story, issued with The Malta Independent on Sunday, features a piece written by Ġużè Stagno about the day we met face-to-face for the first, and so far only, time.

For the benefit of anyone who does not have access to Manic (the magazine isn't online!) I've digitized the unedited text submitted by Stagno: just click here to read it. Stagno embraces hyperbole like there's no tomorrow, but I still find his writing style quite refreshing.