Conclusion to the symbolic public protest on the arrival of a cruise ship
After a good 10 days of campaigning via this newspaper, radio and social networks, I think that I built enough public awareness to show that the Munxar Reef theory for St Paul’s shipwreck is complete nonsense.
I am grateful to all the devout Pauline followers of this island who took time out of their busy schedule, on a work day in peak season or during their summer holidays, to meet the cruise ship and join in this symbolic protest. I’m sure the number of Maltese who cherish our national heritage would have been much higher if it had been on a weekend when more working people would have been available.
Those who did attend were capable of covering both port exits and peacefully made their presence felt. We managed to distribute to the passengers disembarking from the cruise liner a substantial amount of copies of The Malta Independent on Sunday of 15 July carrying my article explaining why Bob Cornuke’s Munxar Reef theory does not hold water.
The cherry on the cake came the evening before the protest, when someone who previously held high office, on condition of anonymity, passed me an important document which I passed on to the press covering the protest. This notarised document is dated 31 March 2006 and is signed by Bob Cornuke. In the document he apologises to US Ambassador Kathryn Proffitt and the Government of Malta. My sources inform me that Cornuke sent similar notarised apologies to the President of Malta, the Prime Minister, the US Ambassador to Malta, the Minister (probably responsible for culture) and the Brigadier of the Armed Forces of Malta.
I quote from this: “As the author, I take full responsibility for all errors, mistakes, omissions and misrepresentations that may occur in my book. Although this action was taken in order to meet an important publishing deadline, I apologize (sic) for any resulting embarrassment, damage or harm.
I also made statements and allegations regarding you, Ambassador Proffitt and the Government of Malta which I now deeply regret making.”
One has to admire this man’s tenacity, or rather investigate his motives for going on to produce a DVD with this story, after officially apologising for errors, mistakes, omissions and misrepresentations in his book. Bearing in mind that he is also largely discredited for his ‘discoveries’ of Noah’s Ark in Iran, the Ark of the Covenant in Ethiopia, the ‘real’ Mount Sinai in Saudi Arabia, and the Israelite crossing of the Red Sea at the Gulf of Akaba, then I rest my case knowing full well that readers can easily come to a verdict.
The evening news coverage on all three main networks did the job of creating local public awareness. Two of the channels said that they tried to get comments from Mr Cornuke, but that he was unavailable.
My main objective was to show the Maltese public that Apostle Paul’s ship could not have been shipwrecked on the Munxar Reef. From the media coverage and the feedback I am receiving, I think that I have achieved my objective. I sincerely hope that this baseless theory has foundered on the Munxar and that it will never become a tradition with us Maltese.
I now appeal to the media to be cautious when reporting historical events. Next feast of St Paul, journalists should not broadcast the most exciting video clip without first investigating its source.
I honestly regret any stress I may have caused Mr Cornuke, but when you mess with our national heritage, do not expect decent Maltese people to grant you quarter. Cornuke would do well to heed the advice of his 16th US President, Abraham Lincoln, “You may fool all the people some of the time, you can even fool some people all of the time, but you cannot fool all of the people all the time.”