Shortly after Queen Elizabeth II passed away, we heard that the governments of commonwealth states such as Antigua & Barbuda and Jamaica were considering holding a referendum to do away with the monarchy and introduce a republic. Malta underwent this constitutional change almost half a century ago after Queen Elizabeth was Head of an independent Malta for a decade.
Republican values have been revived in the discussions on whether and how far the Queen should be honoured and remembered. For many Maltese, it seems that any respectful remembrance of Elizabeth II smacks of the colonial mentality – an insulting tone of deferential obsequiousness to a former master.
Others went so far as to propose a monument to the monarch to honour her time as the first Head of State in independent Malta.
Whatever your position on QEII and ceremonies of remembrance, it would be safe to say that issues of royalty and colonial deference can be safely confined to the realms of clickbait and silly online talk. In fact, I would question what republic and republican principles remain of which we can be proud.
We may have beaten the Jamaicans and Antiguans to the race for republicanism, but where has “rajna f’idejna” (our destiny in our hands) really gotten us today?
People picketing the funeral ceremonies with posters saying “Not my King” were arrested for breach of public peace. In our republic, we are split between the few who refuse to bow to our self-crowned kings and those who adulate them even after they are so deep in corruption that they should hide their faces.
We inherited a series of crimes against the crown in our own penal code, but today’s kings in the republic do not even need to take refuge in the law. Impunity is de rigeur.
So, we cry shame at those who would honour the memory of a monarch, but we will let the republic be raped by its current kings – torn apart by greed and institutional breakdown.
What republic is there to glorify when the people’s courts have been neutered from delivering equal justice for all? Which republic refuses to explain its decisions and constantly stonewalls its citizens seeking truth?
Is this pride grounded in the kilometres of tarmacked inferno that have become a perilous death trap to commuters and users? Is it firmly anchored in the concrete and progressive spread (sideways and upwards) of urban ugly to the detriment of our natural heritage?
‘Remove the George Cross’, they said. ‘That silver cross has no place on our Maltese flag’ (incidentally given to us by a Norman son of Vikings). Melt the silver away.
Melted silver. I am told that Loujin is an Arabic name that means melted silver. Loujin is also the name of the four-year-old Lebanese girl who died in Maltese waters after the republic failed to provide a safe haven.
What pride then in this republic?