The Malta Independent 24 September 2021, Friday

‘Fjuri Li ma jinxfux – Tifkiriet 1955-1990’

Malta Independent Sunday, 28 December 2008, 00:00 Last update: about 8 years ago

‘Fjuri li ma jinxfux – Tifkiriet 1955-1990’

Oliver Friggieri, Klabb Kotba Maltin Publication, 712 Pages, Pb €33, Hb €45

This is a book of reminiscences covering the years between 1955 and 1990, a book of personal experiences, social customs, and the political parties’ feuds. It is a narrative of people’s lives, events, locations, especially those of Balzunetta, one of Floriana’s quarters, the Grand Harbour, and its surroundings. Streets without traffic, children playing everywhere, women still wearing the ghonnella, houses without television, beggars sleeping outdoors, Malta an English colony…

Oliver Friggieri depicts interesting episodes from his childhood up to a very turbulent time in the history of Malta. He describes the dispute between the Catholic Church and the Labour Party, and how he experienced it, as a boy in the MUSEUM, and then as a Seminarist, during the Interdict period. He gives detailed descriptions of life in Malta in the 1950s and 60s, and intertwines personal episodes with dramatic events during the leadership of Gorg Borg Olivier, Dom Mintoff, Karmenu Mifsud Bonnici and Eddie Fenech Adami. After so many years he had the opportunity to discuss these events with Dom Mintoff, who with his famous statement in Parliament – Those who are idle should write a book! – instigated him to write the novel Fil-Parlament ma jikbrux fjuri (1986).

Fjuri li ma jinxfux includes the author’s revelations of his encounters with Gorg Borg Olivier, Eddie Fenech Adami, Censu Tabone, Guido de Marco, Ugo Mifsud Bonnici and Alfred Sant. There are descriptions of popular local characters and traditions. Everything within the background of political agitation that in other colonies resulted in civil war. Why were the Maltese people capable of preventing a national tragedy before and after Independence? How did the conflict erupt between Mintoff and the University academic staff? Why did Malta become divided into two? Which direction did Malta take after all this? The publishing house, Klabb Kotba Maltin, is finally proud to present this voluminous work full of reflections by one of Malta’s most distinguished thinkers.

In Oliver Friggieri’s own words: “This piece of work was written between 1995 and 2008. If it were not for Klabb Kotba Maltin, I would never have finished it... Something prevented me from saying the last word about a time where people fought harshly between themselves, like brothers full of anger because of their mother. I was always there like many others! I wrote with nostalgia, with respect for tradition, with a modern spirit, and with the desire to understand and interpret. Thanks to memory!”

(See Professor Friggieri’s interview on page 27).

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