Tuesday 17 October 2017

mintoff

Hate will get us nowhere

At some point on my Facebook news feed last night, when emotions and passions were running high, I read that there were people honking their horns in celebration that Dom Mintoff has died.

If this is true, it is truly pathetic.  The man is no longer with us, so if anything, a blaring of horns can only be meant to wound his surviving relatives. Should they be to blame for Mintoff’s style of politics?  In matters of illness and death, I feel that if you can’t say anything nice about someone, don’t say anything at all.

I was no fan of Mintoff and disagreed with him on many issues; like many of my generation I missed out on going to University at the age when I should have because of his cockeyed educational policies. I eventually enrolled later on, as so many of my age group did, at the first opportunity  in 1986.

So yes, I can empathize with those who suffered at the hands of the political discrimination and violence which scarred the last years of the Mintoff era, but in the end, this continued festering hatred is getting us nowhere.  We went through all this when the Dear Dom documentary was released, and now inevitably, until the State funeral takes place, we are going to go through it all again.

His loyal supporters will idiolise him more than ever (for them he will always be the untouchable icon who lifted the working classes from abject poverty)  while those who despise him will relish this moment that they (apparently) have been waiting for all their lives.

And it is this vicious malice which I find difficult to fathom: how do you let one man dictate your life to the extent that he has such power over you even though he stepped down from Prime Minister in 1984?  Because, like it or not, harbouring such visceral hatred is giving him power.

It is like a woman who has left her abusive husband but continues to obsess about him, and plot her revenge against him until the day he dies.  Conversely, to continue this analogy, when such a woman completely ignores her ex-husband, cuts him out of her life and is indifferent to  what he is doing, it is then that she can truly be free of him psychologically.

With his passing, the Mintoff chapter should be finally closed. But, as long as people continue to hate him with such fervour, they will ironically be helping to keep his legacy alive.

And finally, there is also a lesson to be learnt here about adulating politicians. For I have always felt that if he had not been turned into an almost sacred figure by his supporters, Mintoff would not have been allowed to become the quasi-dictator that he became in his last years of power.

We vote them in, we vote them out – but in the end, no matter how great, they are mere mortals like the rest of us, and no politician should be treated like a demi-god.

  • Ramon Casha

    I find it quite ironic that the individuals who seem to hate him most (I’m sure you can think of one in particular) will only be remembered – if at all – based on their (her) obsession with Mintoff. Their lives will be boiled down to that, or more likely, forgotten within days of their passing.

  • Jan-Wouter Stigter

    Hate, surely, is the lowest feeling we are capable of. When it informs the ‘opinions’ of those who so evidently want to be taken seriously, it only has the opposite effect.

  • Steve Pace

    Very well written and as well as you, i do disagree with a lot of his methods, but the best way forward is to move on and let go . Unfortunately it does seem though that whenever I turn the radio on and hear one side demonizing him and the other side glorifying him , all those emotional days of when my school was locked with chains and i had to go to underground private lessons come back and everything seems so vivid again. But i try not to forget that one day “as a believer” i too will be in his state and no matter what has happened hatred would really take me nowhere. May he rest in peace and God willing this pain will soon be over as soon as the funeral is over…

  • James Grech

    Liema politika hija perfetta u/jew liema politiku huwa perfett? Huwa vera li fi zmien Mintoff kien hemm min baghata, jien wiehed minnhom. Jien ukoll ma thaltx l Universita fi zmieni. Imma f’dak l istess zmien missieri ha paga aktar dicenti u setgha jiehu is sick leave ghax qabel ma kellux. Ommi bdiet tircievi ic children’s allowance w il bonus kull sitt xhur. Bhal ommi u missieri kien awn hafna, u jien xorta spiccajt dhalt l Universita. Dawk l istrutturi socjali li twaqqfu dak iz zmien illum ghadhom maghna, u grazzi ghal perit Mintoff.
    Qisha kantaliena, dejjem irridu niktbu dwar il-hazin ta’ Mintoff u ta’ zmienu. U qisna dejjem ninsew li Mintoff kellu oppozizjoni harxa, immexxija min individwu ta’ stoffa, li pero ma kelliex ragun tohloq l instabilita politika li holqot u kif holqotha, skond il kostituzjoni ta’ dak iz-zmien. Ejja ma nkomplux nghejxu l istorja b’mod partigjan.
    Dak iz-zmien ghadda u imxejna hafna il quddiem, jekk pero ser nibqaw inhallu certu persuni kontinwament jitfawna lura fiz-zmien, fl idejologiji, hdura w il firda li irrenjat, allura mahniex ser nikbru u nimmaturaw qatt.

  • Alexia

    May I remind you that Mintoff opened around 50 schools in one year. And University was only available to the well-off people. And that is why alot of the poor population was very ignorant. The case of the University at a later stage : I think it made sense in those days because what is happening today is that we are ending up with too much law students for example, and not enough jobs for them. I remember that in my days there was no university in industrial design in Malta just a course leading to a diploma level for the simple reason that the country does not cater for so many jobs in certain fields of design and this was under nationalist government. Unfortunately we are a very small country and if we insist on a career we need to go and study and work abroad.
    What I am trying to say is that Mintoff wasn’t trying to punish students he thought it was good for the country during that time. Education should be free to all of us because a country to grow economically needs skilled and academic people. And It has been achieved thanks to Mintoff’s style. However one has to say that the nationalists then kept on improving what Mintoff has started. And hadn’t Mintoff kept the deficit low that is, the difference between the trade balance (exports vs imorts) there would have been no money for the nationalists to invest on the telecommunications and education etc… So that is why he was a visionary because Mintoff new that Malta had a time …fenj kellha tissikka ic cunurin hu ma tiftahx is-suq …to keep the deficit low…. for future investments.

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