The Malta Independent 22 August 2019, Thursday

Pawlu Mizzi: the Gjorgjan who gave more than he received

Noel Grima Sunday, 11 August 2019, 09:07 Last update: about 11 days ago

All through my life, I was under the impression that Pawlu Mizzi, the founder of Klabb Kotba Maltin who died last week, was taught by my mother or one of her teacher sisters in his childhood years.

Now I find that it could not have been. My mother was a teacher in Gharb, her sister in Zebbug and the third sister was around the same age as Pawlu.

In any event, the families were friends, living not so far away in It-Tigrija where his mother had a shop.

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Both families were big Gjorgjani – which is a side of Pawlu that most people do not know. In order to see it, one had to see Pawlu, in a group of men wearing suits, walking backwards and clapping as San Gorg bursts into the square and is turned backwards, periodically raised high, as the festa and the procession come to an end.

Years later, this Gjorgjani connection led me to write a story involving Pawlu: I swear that Pawlu did not put me up to it. I happened to stumble across some court papers and my background knowledge enabled me to tell a story going back long years – beginning with an escapade in San Gorg, continuing with a tragic death, later with a parochial jibe and ending with a protracted court case and a scuffle inside San Gorg.

Our paths crossed many times in our lives. At the beginning of his Klabb Kotba Maltin (KKM) venture, Pawlu offered me the job of editing his new Heritage initiative and, in fact, there is my name in some of the early issues. Then the idea did not seem to work out and he continued on his own.

Years later, Archbishop Mercieca, another Gjorgjan who found himself living on the other side of the same Mdina square, appointed him to run the problem-stricken Il-Hajja Press after Dun Saverin Bianco. But Pawlu soon found that producing a book was very different from running a printing press and the idea came to naught.

Other people, especially those whose books were published by Pawlu, can speak of his determination, drive and courage. His wife and children, who all became totally involved in the running of KKM and Midsea Books, were an indispensable help, but it was always Pawlu who strode ahead and took difficult decisions. He will be sorely missed.

 

An Invictus cartoon

I do not know who does the cartoon in our paper and how this person gets inspiration. So this is my offering: a Joseph Muscat, high on a plinth like the Workers’ Monument in Msida, raising his hand and uncovering the notorious Invictus tattoo. And surrounded on all sides by scenes such as towering cranes, log-jams on the roads, skeletons of trees, boat-loads of refugees, etc. etc.

 

Arch-what?

On Wednesday I watched as the Chancellor, Mgr Lawrence Gatt, read out the decree that said that the parish of San Gejtanu in Hamrun satisfied all the criteria to be promoted to an Arch-parish and its parish priest to become an Archpriest.

The applause that greeted this announcement inside the church by the faithful was, at best, rather tepid. But outside the church the announcement was greeted with far more enthusiasm by those who maybe do not frequent the church so often.

It was about time that Hamrun got some appreciation, better than the cat-calls in the stadium.

What is needed now is for the parish to stop its cultural decline and improve its cultural offering (I am speaking of culture here, not religious practice). The two bands, who today will be filling the streets with huge crowds of supporters ready to defy the heat and the humidity, have been improving their offering for years and years, while the parish has gone into decline ever since the time of Dun Nerik Cordina Perez, 60 years ago.

Here’s hoping this ‘arc’-promotion does the trick.

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