The national anthem was created 100 years ago.
Based on music composed by Robert Samut, poet Dun Karm Psaila wrote the lyrics, which later became one of Malta’s symbols.
It was first sung in 1922, but with Malta’s independence in 1964 it became officially inscribed in the constitution and is now sung on the greatest occasions and when Maltese athletes represent the country. is now played.
But long before that, it had already been endorsed by the Maltese community. When it was played and all the spectators stood up and chanted Dun Cum’s words.
Those were different times and I wonder if Maltese would still stand up in protest if something similar had to happen today. Or do we take freedom for granted?
Yes, those who criticize Malta are not seen as kind by others, and some are even labeled traitors when they denounce what is wrong with our country. There are critics who want to see a better Malta, and defenders who are too partisan to see the big picture.
The Malta Independent newspaper held an exercise in the streets of Valletta last week, asking passers-by about the national anthem. Some knew the answer, some didn’t. Some could sing some verses, others could not. It’s good to know if a politician who prides himself on his patriotism can sing.
Some schools start the day with the national anthem. Let’s hope the practice continues and the students remember the words into adulthood.
But I doubt if we still live in ‘art helwa’ (sweet land). Look at the mess we have to endure every day. People posting old photos on Facebook bring back nostalgia for when Malta was really ‘sweet’. Today, it’s not an adjective to use if you want to be sincere. “Land of vines, dust, garbage, pollution, and traffic” (pick what you like, or pick them all) is a better description.
The lyrics are prayers to the Almighty and were written at a time when Malta was both more religious and secular than it is today. Some argue that Malta has changed so much that prayer as the national anthem is no longer appropriate.
Of course, there are words that have been the subject of so much debate in the past. Should we continue to use ‘jahkimha’, a reference to Malta’s colonial past when it was part of the British Empire, or should we use the more democratic ‘imexxiha’ (lead)? Although this was a controversy that flared up half a century ago, the word “jahkimha” (to conquer) is still officially part of the national anthem.
As for the “unity” and “peace” that the anthem prays for, it’s a very long story.
https://www.independent.com.mt/articles/2022-11-03/newspaper-leader/Malta-no-longer-a-sweet-land-6736247155 TMID Editorial: Malta Is No Longer ‘Sweetland’