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A NEWSPAPER PROMOTING INTEGRATION AND DIVERSITY IN MALTA April 2014

The Film Industry in Malta: Then and Now

An Island Where I Found Myself

JEAN PIERRE BORG

QUI YIXIN Almost six months have passed since I arrived in Malta; and I can easily say that this is the best and most unforgettable experience I have had in my life. When I set foot on this beautiful little island, I was impressed by the distinctive Mediterranean-style buildings and low-story houses, which are so different from those in China. Honestly, it is my first time abroad in such a remote place which took almost two days to reach. My father was worried about my safety until he was told that the crime rate in Malta is one of the lowest among European countries. Continued on Page 4

© Zak Cassar

© Qui Yixin

Supporting Libyan Art

SAMIRA JAMIL

The film servicing industry is considered an important contributor to Malta’s economy. Besides creating employment, film productions invest substantially in the many services required including for instance hospitality, catering and renting of vehicles. There is also anecdotal evidence showing that films can influence viewers in visiting a particular country simply because a film was shot at a particular location. It is for these reasons that this industry should be well cared for and strengthened. Film cameras have been on the island since

the beginning of the twentieth century. With Malta being a British colony, British camera units were occasionally on the island reporting on events of general interest, with news reels of the time occasionally featuring events happening in Malta. 1925 marked the arrival of the first film production company shooting scenes for a silent feature film. Sons of the Sea was to be the first of a long list of films which were fully or partly filmed on our shores. The reason for the location shooting in Malta was the presence of the British Admiralty on the island. Continued on Page 12

Explore America (US Embassy OP-ED)

Surnames in Malta: What Can They Tell Us?

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From a young age, I have been exposed to art, both Eastern and Western. My English mother moved to Libya in 1960, after marrying my father. For my parents, holidays abroad were never complete without a trip to a museum. As a young child, the highlight of such trips was, invariably, the museum’s gift shop! Undoubtedly, the seeds of my appreciation of art and all things

beautiful firmly took root at a young age, and as I got older, I began to appreciate and value art in all its forms. I grew up surrounded by art. My mother was a great supporter of Libyan artists, encouraging them to showcase their works in exhibitions beyond Libyan shores. Under Muammar Gaddafi’s rule, Libyan artists were unable to make political statements. Nevertheless, even in the country’s darkest days, artists tried to express their frustrations, sadness and disillusionment through art. Before the revolution, control and censorship of art were the order of the day. Only a handful of artists were able to exhibit their work. They were not at liberty to express their creativity, often suppressing it. Artists critical of the regime were persecuted and forced into exile or imprisoned. In spite of the repression, Libyan arts did not die out. From the early days of the uprising in 2011, graffiti artists flourished in major Libyan cities, leaving lasting sketches of this historical milestone. Continued on Page 7

Food, Culture and Magic

The Way of Hand and Foot

© Najla El Fitouri

General Programme Solidarity & Management of Migration Flows 2007-2013 European Fund for the Integration of Third-Country Nationals (IF) Project part-financed by the European Union Co-financing rate: 75% EU Funds: 25% Beneficiary’s Funds Sustainable Management of Migration Flows

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Editorial Dear reader, Thomas Paine, an English-American political activist once said, “The world is my country,” an expression dating back to the 18th century, yet, a notion that seems to fit better today more than ever. We can communicate with friends on the other side of the world with ease; send photos, e-mails, and documents in a matter of seconds. We can hold conferences from the comfort of our own home with partners located around the globe. So why do people migrate within this country? Love, work, studies and the weather are some of the reasons why people move from one place to another. The third issue of Side by Side explores more experiences of Third Country Nationals who consider Malta as their home. Qiu Yixin is a Chinese visiting-student at the

University of Malta who is an outstanding example of integration; through adapting and living in harmony with traditions and habits of locals along with her international colleagues. Gina Ficur gives readers an insider view to the experience of the largest expat community in Malta - the Serbian community, while Anastasia Lesnikova writes about the Russian community. With around 6,000 Russian-speaking residents in Malta, the Russian community creates numerous activities aimed at promoting integration with groups like the Kalinka Russian choir or the professional Rhythmic Gymnastics Club. Some would agree that there are Maltese surnames which are certainly challenging to pronounce, but where do local surnames come from? Professor Joseph M. Brincat provides an overview of some surnames originating from Italy, England, Spain, France and beyond. Read more about this

on page 5. For art and music lovers, this issue reveals the spirit of Libyan art, while musician Drinu Camilleri gave Side by Side his thoughts on Kantilena, a local modern folk group with global influences on page 7. For Third Country Nationals considering purchasing property, the tips on pages 9 and 10 can be very useful, while pages 10 and 11 offer some recreational and educational ideas and activities. Side by Side also explored the development of the film industry in Malta on pages 12 and 13 from “Sons of the Sea,”(1926), to “The Cut,” and “Malta: All Inclusive” (2014). Looking at diversity in sport, the third issue focuses on two sports that originate from two distinct continents and cultures on pages 14 and 15. It is said that basketball was played for the first time in Massachusetts in the United States of America back in the 1891. A relatively modern martial art and

Olympic sport, Taekwondo, originated from Korea and was introduced to Malta by a Tunisian man. We also asked our younger readers to give us their views on diversity. We dedicated the last page to the best two essays we received. We hope you will enjoy reading the third and last issue of Side by Side. Follow us on facebook for more information via www.facebook.com/sidebysidemalta

The Editor

Bartek Romanczuk bartek.romanczuk@sosmalta.org www.sosmalta.org/sidebyside

Flying carpets – Experiencing Multicultural Encounters in the Theatre VICTOR JACONO

SOS Malta’s Aims and Activities SOS Malta is a registered Voluntary Organisation, set up in 1991, which works with local and international partners. The organisation assists socially disadvantaged groups in improving their quality of life by providing support services and opportunities to implement development and change. SOS Malta also encourages advocacy on behalf of social causes and promotes models of good care and practice. SOS Malta works on four pillars that encompass the above objectives. These are: Social Solidarity; Volunteering; Overseas Development; and Research and Training. Side by Side falls under the Social Solidarity pillar. Under this pillar SOS Malta implements projects advocating for increased intercultural understanding and the introduction and implementation of measures which contribute towards the two-way process of integration and social inclusion of migrants living in Malta. Contact Details SOS Malta, 10 Triq il-Ward, Santa Venera, SVR 1640 Tel: +356 21244123 Email: info@sosmalta.org Website: www.sosmalta.org Facebook: SOS Malta Voluntary Organisation Registration No. VO/0033

© Victor Jacono

On the flight back from my first visit to London I think of the piece the editor has asked me to write about my experience in multicultural performance contexts. Before 2006, when I started collaborating with a theatre group from Lecce as an actor in international performance projects, my considerations on culture and intercultural exchange were somewhat confined to lectures and ethnic meals organized at university by the anthropology society. It fed my interest in ways and beliefs from distant lands, especially in music. However, it was only in the course of my first encounters with performers from other parts of the Mediterranean, especially areas impacted by social and political conflict (Albania, Greece, Turkey, Cyprus, Palestine, and Syria) that I really started coming to terms with the matter of cultural identity, including my own.

What did being a Maltese actor mean to me What did being a Maltese actor mean to me? What was I to bring to the barter? Fellow performers from other countries were able to express their cultural identity with apparent ease, especially through traditional songs and dances associated with all aspects of life: birth, childhood, love, marriage, work, politics, war, death, and a combination of such themes. When my turn came round, I was at a loss. I was a theatre graduate, yet I knew little

about traditional Maltese performance that was not associated with passion plays, Good Friday processions and village feasts. I knew no traditional Maltese dances. I remembered a couple of rhymes from childhood games. I knew about għana; I had heard it live on a few occasions, but would only embarrass myself if I were to attempt an imitation. Obviously, I had little knowledge of the form and none of that vocal technique. Moreover, what did the għannejja actually sing about, besides the tragic story of a bride from Mosta in għana tal-fatt, and teasing each other about their singing abilities in għana spirtu pront? I did not know. There clearly must have been a gap in my cultural education and I felt a little ashamed of my ignorance. When I returned to Malta I was keen to learn more. I became especially interested in għana, I attended live performances whenever I could, I spoke with għannejja and I read more about Maltese folk music. Yet I have to admit that I could only relate to Maltese folklore at a certain distance, as through a thick glass preserving a museum artifact. Besides, at the time, the focus of my studies took me elsewhere.

There clearly must have been a gap in my cultural education and I felt a little ashamed of my ignorance Still, while performing and studying abroad, people kept asking me questions about Maltese history and culture. It has always been somewhat of a challenge for me to depict a clear-cut picture of what it means to be Maltese, considering the multiple cultures that have influenced Malta throughout its history. Even so, over the past decade I have been perceiving a mounting preoccupation with the preservation of Maltese culture from foreign influence, a concern that is mainly triggered by the landing of asylum seekers, certainly not by digital or cable TV. No doubt, irregular immigration is a complex matter, but the issue of preserving Maltese culture still leaves me a bit perplexed. What participating in international artistic projects has helped me to realize, besides certain gaps that I felt; vis-à-vis Maltese performance traditions, was the complexity of cultures that have influenced my own personal growth. I was born in Malta, and baptized Victor-Emmanuel Jacono. As can be gained

from my surname, I am of Sicilian descent. My great-grandfather was from Porto Empedocle, yet I am told that his son, Victor, after whom I was named, could not stand the Italians – he was a staunch supporter of King George and British football. I received a proper Catholic upbringing from my parents and yet with my Semitic mother tongue I prayed to Alla, just as Muslims do. To top it all, my formal education was for the great part based on British schooling. On my first visit to England it felt so strange to walk past the Royal College of

It has always been somewhat of a challenge for me to depict a clear-cut picture of what it means to be Maltese Music, to sense the familiarity of second hand sheet music for piano at a shop in Camden Town. I had sat for London examinations and I had taught English as a Foreign Language for a number of years, without ever having set foot in the British Isles. So what about my cultural identity? I am sure that most, if not all, Maltese could tell similar stories about their descent and upbringing. Not to speak of all the various other cultural influences that come through books, music, cinema, television, the internet, food, sports and so on. Ultimately, summing all of these influences together, did that define me, as a person? Clearly, for me the answer is no. It is my story that defines me and projects me forward. Multiple cultural threads are interwoven to form a vehicle for my story, like a flying carpet if you will. And the purpose of such a vehicle, as I see it, is to bring me in proximity with others who would also use their own cultural flying carpets for creative encounters, such as those I have experienced

Thinking of journeys and flying carpets’ with fellow artists from distant lands. Of course, lest things start coming across as being a touch too romantic, creative does not mean unchallenging or painless. Continued on Page 4


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OP-ED GINA ABERCROMBIE-WINSTANLEY U.S. AMBASSADOR TO MALTA

The United States of America is the thirdlargest country in the world by population. It is one of the world’s most ethnically diverse and multicultural nations, and enjoys an extremely varied geography and climate. These factors drew more than 14 million visitors for business and pleasure in 2013. I invite you to explore the opportunities available in the U.S. for business, education and culture. Business The economic relationship between the U.S. and the European Union is the largest in the world, with over $450 billion of trade in every good and service imaginable flowing across the Atlantic annually. In pursuit of our shared goal of global economic prosperity for U.S. and EU citizens, the United States and the European Union are negotiating a Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (T-TIP). Malta and the U.S. also share a desire to

increase trade between our countries. Direct subsidiaries of American firms in Malta employ over 2000 people and represent many of the jobs of the 21st century like those in the healthcare industry. The Commercial Section of the Embassy promotes exports of U.S. goods and services into the Maltese market and inward investment into the U.S. We provide a range of services and programs to help American companies export goods and services to Malta, as well as Maltese firms interested in importing from the United States. Our Commercial Specialists provide trade counseling which focuses on the identification and qualification of potential Maltese agents and partners in addition to market intelligence, access to trade promotion opportunities and advocacy and facilitation of trade dispute resolution. Investing in the United States has many advantages. With more than 300 million people and the largest economy in the world, the United States has one of the most attractive markets for any global company. The American workforce ranks among the best educated, most productive, and most innovative in the world. As a place to do business, the United States offers a predictable and transparent legal system, outstanding infrastructure, and access to the world’s most lucrative consumer market. As President Obama said, “We remain convinced that this community of nations can deliver a more peaceful, prosperous and just world to the next generation.” Education Educational exchanges are an important way to encourage the flow of information and ideas between nations. The United States had 40 of the top rated universities in the world, according to The Times Higher Education World University Rankings (2013). The U.S. is the largest destination for international students seeking higher education.

International education promotes university-to-university partnerships, such as faculty exchanges, student exchanges and research projects. There are examples of such partnerships here in Malta. Three U.S. universities offer joint Master’s degree programs with the University of Malta: Sustainable Environmental Resources Management with James Madison University, Conflict Resolution and Mediterranean Security with George Mason University, and Transcultural Counseling with the University of New Orleans. In the U.S., international students study alongside Americans in an incredible variety of programs at different types of institutions, which also represent a wide spectrum of costs. There are 1,655 community colleges with an average tuition cost of $3,131 (2012). They enroll 26% of full-time college students. Most students pursue two-year degrees or study there, often with the goal of transferring to a four-year institution. Traditional colleges and universities, both public and private, offer four-year degree programs with tuition costs ranging from $8,655 to $29,056. In 2013, there were fifty-one Maltese students pursuing studies in the U.S. They join many Maltese alumni of U.S. universities. We encourage prospective students to research U.S. education opportunities. It’s a difficult decision to leave beautiful Malta, especially with the incentive of a free education at the University. Yet there are degree programs available in the U.S. not offered here, such as cinematography, game production, aviation and veterinary sciences, to name a few. If you are interested in pursuing studies in the U.S., please visit https://www.educationusa.info/ for_international_students.php for more information. We invite you to contact us here at the U.S. Embassy. We’re happy to assist. Culture and Tourism Many Maltese travel to the U.S. to visit

historical sites and wildlife reserves. The United States is famous for its wide-open spaces. The U.S. has an extensive network of national parks, seashores and recreation areas that invite you to relax and enjoy the view. Explore the Grand Canyon and make a side trip to nearby Las Vegas. See the splendors of Yosemite or Niagara Falls. Don’t miss the stunning geysers and buffalo in Yellowstone. I suggest you hike, camp or join a tour group to appreciate our natural beauty. The St. James Cavalier Center for Creativity and Eden Cinemas have introduced a way for people in Malta to enjoy U.S. cultural performances without leaving Malta: rebroadcasts of some of the best productions performed live at The Metropolitan Opera. We encourage you to visit us virtually. But it’s better to travel to the U.S. in person for a first-hand experience, and to participate in important events in the cultural calendar. You may find Maltese personalities there, too: U.S. opera houses have recently hosted renowned tenor Joseph Calleja, including a recent performance at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C., where he met President Barack Obama. Join Americans in Washington, D.C., as they tour the capital’s monuments and many free museums. In New York City there are also many world-class museums to tempt you. Discover the lights and shows of Times Square. Taste fresh seafood at San Francisco’s Fisherman’s Wharf. Of course, not to be missed are the theme parks with their exciting rides. From New York City to Alaska, we invite you to discover America at www. DiscoverAmerica.com. You’ll find suggested sites and itineraries in different parts of the USA. I’m eager to try out the Blues Highway, U.S. Route 61, from Nashville, Tennessee to New Orleans, Louisiana, but this is only one of many. Whatever your interest, you’re sure to find the right place to visit.

Integrating in a Foreign Country MAURICE CAUCHI

Finding oneself in a foreign country, be it for a shorter or longer period of time, for education, economic or personal safety reasons, always involves a challenge to one’s way of life. This is compounded and exacerbated when one feels that one is not wanted, an intruder, a usurper, even a threat to the much cherished way of life that one has been used to for generations. It is also most likely that the more conservative, isolated, or fundamentalist a community happens to be, the more threatening they interpret the incursion of foreign elements amongst them. For centuries Malta, consisted of a homogenous unity, where just about everyone practiced a way of life which varied very little

from decade to decade. Foreign rulers have come and gone, but one thing they had in common was that they always kept themselves to themselves, avoiding miscegenation at all costs. A look at the relatively small number of surnames that subsume the vast majority of the population is enough to confirm this. Likewise, a catholic upbringing was the rule until recently, encompassing more than 90 per cent of the population. All this has now changed, and Maltese have now become more liberal and more outward looking. Europe and all its customs are becoming integrated within Maltese society with a vengeance. It is curious how a much bigger island, Australia, also suffered from an isolation not so much because of a physical distance from anywhere else, as from the concept of ethnic purity which up to the last 30 years enforced a protective policy – the so-called ‘white Australia policy’, where north Europeans were sought after, but beyond that there was a sliding scale of acceptability, with Asians and Muslims at the bottom of the scale.

Several studies have shown that acceptability by a population depends on several factors, but includes ethnic proximity, skin colour and religion Several studies have shown that acceptability by a population depends on several factors, but includes ethnic proximity, skin colour and religion. We are far more likely to accept in our midst fair-haired foreigners rather those with

darker skins. We prefer those who share our history compared to those with whom we have had no relations in the past. And in particular, it is sad to say, religion has been one of the most pervasive and divisive of all characteristics throughout the ages. Integrating in a foreign country presents hurdles both for the individuals who have been lucky enough to obtain the necessary permission to remain there, as well as for the general public in accepting them. There are issues relating to settlement which often take a considerable time to be overcome. Learning a foreign language is almost never complete in the first generation of migrations. Likewise, complete integration within the complex interstices of a new society is to be expected only in the second and subsequent generation. One might add that these persons very often excel well beyond expectation and well beyond the average. For instance a recent report from the prestigious Monash University (Melbourne) shows that 40 percent of the top students in the Faculty of Business and Economics (2013) have an Asian surname. A policy of multiculturalism has been shown in both Canada and Australia to be the most effective way of ensuring a smooth transition. As practiced in both these countries, multiculturalism means that integration is a process, not something that can be achieved overnight by obtaining a certificate of citizenship, for example. It may be a slow process, where someone with a different upbringing and outlook, becomes coached into the new way of life. It has been well emphasized that this can be done best through one’s own ethnicity, maintaining language and culture while at the same time appreciating and become involved in the way of life of the new country. It is unfortunate that multiculturalism in some countries (mainly in US and more

recently in Europe) has become equated with an extremist militant approach where those who have been most marginalised have demanded the introduction of laws and customs which are at odds with those of the country they are living in. Multiculturalism should not be taken to mean that all laws are relative and that the laws of a country need to be overhauled to accommodate every whim and practice which migrants bring with them. Reaction by the general public to the introduction of foreigners can be quite widespread. In particular, one response, namely racism, is unfortunately rampant and seems to be becoming more so in many countries.

Multiculturalism means that integration is a process, not something that can be achieved overnight Concern about the effects of dilution of the old culture by the new arrivals is often present, albeit often hidden or expressed only in the most cautious of ways. On the other hand, racist comments can be very vocal and even accompanied by physical threats. Where studies have been carried out, it has been shown that the degree of antipathy towards migrants is greatest among the older, more conservative members of society and least among younger persons with a higher level of education. In the long term, one can only hope that the new generation of Maltese will be more informed, more tolerant of difference, more empathic towards those who chose to face untold dangers in an effort to gain access to a better way of life.


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A Land Where I Found My True Self QIU YIXIN

© Qui Yixin

Continued from Page 1. I live the University residence, where students from different places, with diverse cultural backgrounds live together. Socializing became the first challenge for me, since they all have different accents and living habits. In late November, you can still enjoy sunshine and wear a bikini, while lying by the pool or on the beach. Europeans tend to embrace the sunshine without fear of getting a sun tan, which in their mind signifies health. In contrast, Chinese girls prefer to avoid direct exposure to sunshine to maintain white and clean skin; which in China, signifies beauty. In fact it is quite common in China that girls walk on the street holding a parasol in summer. My European friends ask me, “Why don’t you join us near the pool and enjoy the sunshine?” As awkward as it felt, my excuse always was “Oh no thanks, I am easily burnt under the sunshine.” It is already a big step for me not to carry an umbrella, mainly to avoid being labeled as a weirdo. That is only one aspect of the numerous existing different living habits between me and other European students. It is gratifying that I still make a lot of new friends in the residence and live every day to the fullest. My lovely flat mates always tell me, “Hey Bessie, you are not an Erasmus student but you live like one!” I usually take that as a compliment. Apart from meeting interesting people, the residence has another advantage – you can enjoy colourful activities and themed parties; especially during Maltese holidays. Being a Catholic nation endows Malta with various local holidays of religious origin. Birgufest, Candle’s night; treasure hunts in Mdina; jungle’s night; dining in a fish restaurant in Marsaxlokk; chocolate festival in Ħamrun; family dinner, just to name a few, are

© Qui Yixin

among the fabulous experiences I had never tried before. I have watched a World Cup Qualifier in person; joined a bonfire party in Golden Bay; wore a costume at Halloween party; ate turkey during a Christmas dinner; and even went to a night club in Paceville! All have not only enriched my study life here, but also helps me to better understand different cultures and broadens my horizon. As colourful as life in the residence is, the University of Malta also holds a series of events in order to showcase its international atmosphere. During Discover University Open Week, Chinese students showed their talent in calligraphy and drawing. I did my part by giving a belly dance in front of a group of middle school students. Apart from life-styles, the distinctive eating habits of Chinese and Maltese are also worth mentioning. The main food in China is rice and noodles, which are primarily in the North of China. Wanton, dumpling, and baozi are traditional food in China as well, which is different from local Maltese food; represented by pastizzi, pasta and rabbit meat, amongst others. Pastizzi is my regular choice for breakfast; however, cheese is not as popular in China as it is in Malta. A proper Chinese dinner always includes several dishes and rice. During spring festival (Chinese Lunar New Year), families usually gather together to share a big meal. With my gradual integration into Maltese society; to my surprise, I noticed that

many Maltese people are very interested in Chinese culture. This was proven by the high attendance in the 2014 Chinese New Year celebration in Valletta; held with the cooperation of the Parliamentary Secretariat for Culture, the Government of Malta, the Embassy of The People’s Republic of China, the China Cultural Centre, and the Valletta Local Council. I was lucky to be one of the presenters of the show. Facing an audience of over 900 at the Mediterranean Conference Centre; and as nervous as I was, I completed my job successfully. I still remember a cute little Maltese girl dressed in a red traditional Chinese Chi Pao. A Maltese woman asked me if she could learn how to practice Chinese martial arts. The best choice I made in my life was to apply for the cooperation program promoted by Shanghai Maritime University, the University of Malta, and the International Ocean Institute. Otherwise, I would not have had the chance to experience or to understand so much that I never could in China. For me, it is not the knowledge that matters, but the confidence that I gained, the way that I see the world, and the dream that I am going to pursue to be a better person. People say Malta is the window and bridge of Europe, Africa and Asia; I say Malta is the window through which I learned about a bigger world, a bridge that connects reality and dream, and a land where I found my true self.

© Qui Yixin

Flying carpets Experiencing Multicultural Encounters... Continued from Page 2. On the contrary, coming to terms with one’s culture, identifying strings tainted by judgment, blame, prejudice and pride which without your knowledge have become deeply intertwined within your nervous system, that can be challenging Zdampen or conceal. Painful as it may have sometimes been, I have discovered that such strings, rooted deeply within mindless habit, can be undone. The magic of such a carpet lies in that, if you wish, you may never stop changing its patterns. Thinking of journeys and flying carpets, my thoughts finally go to those trapped in zones jarred by war or political unrest, among them artists who would bring their tragic stories to us, but also their visions of peace and prosperity for their communities. My hope is that our cultural flying carpets might reach them who cannot come to us.

© Qui Yixin

© Qui Yixin


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Surnames in Malta: What Can They Tell us? PROFESSOR JOSEPH M. BRINCAT In Malta one meets surnames of different origins: local, Italian, English, Spanish, French and nowadays a fair sprinkling of Slav and Arab ones too. Smaller groups include Indian, Greek, Chinese, African, Jewish and Turkish surnames. The general impression is that the legacy of surnames reflects our islands’ adventurous history; however the attempt to give substance to impressions is not easy because of a number of facts and factors. First of all, many will be surprised to read that in Malta the surnames now in circulation are just under ten thousand. This is certainly a large number, considering the total population of the Maltese islands and gives an average of 41 persons per surname. In Italy, which is considered to be a country with one of the largest number of surnames, the estimate is about 330,000 different ones but, considering that the population is around 50 million, the average number of persons per surname is 151, much higher than in Malta. Significantly in Malta we have more surnames, in proportion. The topic is both fascinating and intriguing. Although the Etruscans already had a system of three names, which they passed on to the Romans, in the Middle Ages people were more interested in the identification of the individual person than in his being a member of a particular family. With the exception of the aristocracy, who had lands and riches to pass on, medieval people usually had a

Christian name followed by another name specifying that they were the son of someone their father’s name (De Gaetano), or came from somewhere (Licata, Catania, Messina, Siracusa, Lentini are towns in Sicily) or practised a certain craft or profession (Cassar – a carpet-maker, Micallef – a judge) or had some peculiar characteristic (Fenech – rabbit, Magro – lean). It must be kept in mind that what medieval documents show as surnames were not always hereditary up to the 15th century. For example a study of the Florentine land register of 1427 reveals that for the majority of the population the second name was not inherited, and that personal identification relied on the first name for a long time in rural areas. In fact notaries tended to multiply the references to the paternal line (Giovan Matteo di Antonio di Matteo di Meglio). It may safely be said that a term becomes a surname only when it loses its meaning,that is when persons called Buttigieg, Carbonaro, Miller or Schumacher no longer have anything to do with hens, coal, flour or shoes. This change did not happen overnight but was spread over four or five centuries, and sometimes for an even longer period. This slow rate of change means that there are problems with the sources which provide the necessary information. The need for proper identification was only felt in administration and therefore the first sources for names and surnames are chancery lists, catasti, and notarial archives (which rarely go further back than the 11th century) and, after the Coun-

cil of Trent (1563), parish registers of births, marriages and deaths. It is only natural, therefore, that the development of our surnames begins in the Norman period and increases with immigration during the Order’s and the British periods. The origins Trying to uncover the origins of Maltese surnames is a difficult and tricky process. Some interesting facts, however, emerge from the data at our disposal. For instance the most common of our traditional surnames are already registered in the early lists and documents, however one must not forget that a large number have died out while others are dwindling. For instance the lists of 1419 and circa 1480 analyzed by Wettinger in 1968 show 389 different surnames, out of which 135 survive to this day while no less than 254 are extinct (Bakibac, Bercax, Alligrittu, Bagnolu, etc.). One should note that the extinct ones are not all “Semitic” names, purportedly resulting from a systematic substitution as it is sometimes stated, but also “Romance”: the figures for the former and the latter stand at 101 and 119. Moreover, one may reasonably suspect that not all the patronymics (father’s names) were handed down to the next generations and that the score of place-names (de Agusta, Mazzara, etc.) only show that the person was a recent settler, which means that although de la Licata and de Catania are still around as Delicata and Catania, one cannot guarantee that there is a direct line between

the persons named in the 1400s and those who carry these names today. The same goes for De Ursu and De Laurenzu and today’s D’Urso and De Lorenzo. Historically, the most important consideration is that the development of Malta’s surnames closely follows that of Norman Sicily, noting that some of Malta’s traditional “Semitic” names are registered first in Arabic-speaking Norman Sicily, e.g. Asciak, Curmi and Xerri in 1095, Agius, Buhagiar, Cassar, Ebejer, Sammut and Xuereb in 1145, Abdilla, Borg, Caruana, Galea, Ellul, Farrugia, Mintuf, Saliba, Tabuni in 1178, Cutajar, Grixti, and Zammit in 1182-83 (see Fiorini 1987-88). “Romance” surnames in Sicily, as in Malta, are recorded later, in the 13th - 15th centuries, except for Episcopu in 1192. One should also note that over the centuries a number of “Semitic” surnames survived in Sicily (Caggegi, Cassese, Morabito, etc.) but not in Malta and vice-versa.

Improving Migration Integration: Malta Integration Network Project ADITUS FOUNDATION

Over the past year, representatives from civil society, trade unions, the Malta government, academia and various migrant communities came together with the purpose of identifying and proposing policy and intervention measures necessary for effective integration of third country nationals living in Malta. These meetings form part of the Malta Integration Network (MIN) project being implemented by aditus foundation. A series of thematic discussion meetings were organised in the first half of 2013. Each meeting, attended by the representatives from various sectors, tackled issues as identified by the Migrant Integration Policy Index (MIPEX), a European measurement index focusing on integration, namely: • Anti-discrimination • Labour Market Mobility • Family Reunion • Education • Access to Nationality • Long Term Residence • Political Participation

© aditus

The idea behind the organisation of the Multi-Functional Teams (MFTs) was to bring together all stakeholders in an informal setting in order to discuss various issues at the heart of migrant integration. These meetings also served as an effective networking tool for the participants where key front-line serviceproviders and policy makers could discuss and be in direct contact with potential serviceusers. The MFT meetings covered existing EU and Maltese laws and policies; the identification of gaps and good practices and solutionoriented exchanges with all participants. The presentations, reading lists and informal notes can be found on our MIN project page: http:// www.aditus.org.mt/aditus_foundation/MIN. html. The Networking Roundtable which had the same composition of the MFTs (government representatives, academia, civil society, migrants) was the culmination of these series of meetings. Participants from various EU Member States, including Malta, met and examined the issues identified throughout the MFT meetings and exchanged best practice experiences. On the basis of this inter-agency dialogue and discussion with experienced stakeholders in other European Union Member States, the Networking roundtable meeting aimed to transpose those experiences from which Maltese policy and practice could benefit. Following the MFTs and the Networking Roundtable, we at aditus foundation felt that it was extremely satisfying to see key stakeholders in migrant integration sit round the same table discussing in an open and equal

© Aditus

fashion crucial themes that effect migrants and their integration in Malta. A final report will be drafted, collating the identified best practices according to thematic relevance. This report will form the basis of the discussions to be held during a Final Conference next year. The MIN project is part-financed by the European Union under the European Fund for the Integration of Third-Country Nationals (EIF) as part of the General Programme Solidarity & Management of Migration Flows [2007-2013]. Look out for updates to our MIN Project Page, including the Final Report and information on the Final Conference: http:// www.aditus.org.mt/aditus_foundation/MIN. html. Any person interested in finding out more about the MIN Project can contact aditus foundation on the contact details below. aditus foundation aditus foundation is a young, independent, voluntary, non-profit and non-governmental organisation established in 2011 by a group of young lawyers dedicated to ensuring human rights access in Malta. aditus foundation was

established to monitor, act and report on issues of fundamental human rights access for individuals and groups. aditus foundation was founded on the principles of the universality, interdependence and indivisibility of all fundamental human rights. We work to adopt a broad perspective for human rights in Malta, identifying themes such as discrimination and access to effective remedies. Furthermore, while focused on Malta, we work towards highlighting the regional and international implications of local obstacles to human rights access. Our main activities include the identification of priority areas, formulating advocacy strategies and working towards improvement in legal and administrative standards. This includes offering pro-bono legal information and advice. Although we focus primarily on the Government of Malta, we also address the EU institutions, the UN, the Council of Europe and other relevant agencies. This past year we continued our efforts in the areas of migration/asylum and Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender & Intersex (LGBTI). We also plan to commence our engagement with access to justice and rights of the child.


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The Evolution of Russian Migrants to Malta ANASTASIA LESNIKOVA The history of the cultural and historical relations between Malta and Russia dates back to the middle of the 16th Century. Throughout the centuries, these two countries have been in close collaboration with one another, and even the history of the order of St. John is closely associated with the Russian Empire. In the beginning of the 20th Century, Malta gave shelter to hundreds of Russian emigrants, who fled from Russia during the Revolution. A number of these emigrants have greatly influenced Maltese culture. The Russian emigrants founded Ballet schools, and worked

© My Malta

with Maltese researchers and scientists. The end of the 20th Century brought another wave of Russian emigrants, coming to Malta for several reasons. These emigrants were seeking an area with a safe and welcoming environment and a mild climate where they could have the opportunity to buy reasonably priced property, and to obtain a residence with good conditions. The Russian-speaking community in Malta has changed once again. The majority of the Russian people are coming to Malta either as professional specialists in high-demand, or for the purpose of sending their children to local private schools. Education in Malta became very attractive to Russians; not only due to the fact that children have an opportunity to study further in most universities of Europe, but also due to the safety at schools, proper control against bullying, drugs and sexual harassment. A large part of the Russian community is formed by spouses married to Maltese and EU citizens (most of whom have also become citizens of Malta) and the children from such international marriages. In spite of the fact that the Russian community in Malta is considerably big, there are about 5000 to 7000 Russianspeaking residents. For many years, the community was very much divided due to different reasons. The only link was the Orthodox Parish of St. Paul which has been in Malta for over 10 years. However; during the last five years, the situation has changed. Several organisations were created within the community: the educational centre (RadugaThe World of Harmony), a professional Rhythmic Gymnastics Club (Ritmika), the charity organisation Arteforte, the European

© Russian Community

Centre for Culture and Arts (Radost), the Russian choir (Kalinka) and many others. Together with the Russian free newspaper published in Malta since March 2010 “Moja Malta,” all the organisations have the aim to promote cultural, historical, musical and sporting traditions of Russia in Malta, to give an opportunity for children study the language, literature, theatre and traditions, and to organise cultural festivals, balls, fairs and other events. In April 2013, the community organised an NGO, The Coordination Committee of Russian Compatriots Assembly in Malta to protect the rights of Russian residents and to develop and support projects in cultural,

social, educational, humanitarian, religious and other areas. Members of this NGO are both organisations and individuals. With the help of CCRCA several events were organised in 2013 and 2014. In June 2013, there was the international music and dance festival for adolescents and children from different countries, where a special prize “Audience Choice Award” (with a free tour to the International Vocal Competition in St. Petersburg) was granted to the young Maltese singer, Karl Luke Schembri. In October 2013, club Ritmika organised the 2nd international Rhythmic Gymnastics competition in Malta; more than 100 gymnasts from all over the world took part in the event. In January 2014, a set of festive events for children and families was held, including a charity Christmas Ball at the Excelsior Hotel. The International Music Festival of classical music concerts took place in February of this year, and in March, for the third time we organised the Maslenitsa. The Maslenitsa is a traditional folklore festivity, similar to the Maltese Carnival, yet with the ancestral Russian traditions (e.g. one of these traditions is to eat pancakes with different fillings and to burn an effigy, symbolizing the end of winter). This mass event became popular not only within the Russian society, but also amongst Maltese and guests of other nationalities. The concert is usually presented by the Russian Boarding school Maltacrown, with participants from all the local Russian studios. Colourful costumes of participants, beautiful songs and dances by young actors, souvenirs fair, food, and art by Maltese and Russian participants all contribute to make the event very special for the Russian community.

A Journey to Integration The Serbian Experience GEORGINA FICUR

© Georgina Ficur

The integration experience of the Serbian community in Malta is an exemplary case of integration of Third Country Nationals within Maltese Society. Serbians in Malta have become very well integrated, and have been constructively contributing to the development of Malta in many socio-economic spheres. The roots of our friendship date a long way back; it has deepened during both the good and the difficult times. The first settlers from Serbia in Malta can be traced back to the 18th century, when visiting Malta by ship. Some remained here and started families. During the next few centuries, the exchanges between Malta and Serbia were sporadic. However, relations were improved during the catastrophic events of the Second World War, when Yugoslav partisans came to Malta for hospital treatment and military training before they returned to combat. Over time, Serbians also bore witness to significant events in Maltese history. An interesting anecdote is that the first time “L-Innu Malti” was played at a football match between Malta and Yugoslavia in 1945. The two countries set up diplomatic relations as soon as Malta declared its independence in 1964. However, it was only until the 1990s that

the most significant development in relations between the Maltese and the Serbian peoples occurred; during the break-up of Yugoslavia, Malta experienced the largest influx of Serbian migrants. During the turbulent 1990s, Serbia was a pariah state in the disintegrating region, with a media onslaught covering Serbian politics of the time, and sadly, the Serbian people in general. Nevertheless, even with all the bad-publicity, the Serbian people were received with open arms by the Maltese, who were open-minded, and welcomed all those wishing to find refuge from the economic, political and civil crises that were devastating Yugoslavia. Over the past 20 years, the Serbian community in Malta has become involved in all aspects of life. Serbian nationals have contributed to the development of medicine, economy, culture, arts and sports, just to mention a few. Every day, a large number of Serbian doctors and surgeons are working meticulously to promote healthcare in Malta. These doctors are well integrated, respected and accepted that many patients do not even realise they are not Maltese. There is an anecdote about a doctor to whom a patient referred to as a tall, blonde kind MALTESE doctor who speaks too much English. Most notably, a Serbian gynaecologist who has been working in Malta for 20 years is now delivering a second generation of Maltese babies. Serbian pilots have left their mark on Air Malta. A large number of experienced Serbian pilots were invited to instruct young Maltese aviators in the late 1980s and early 1990s. In return, many Serbian pilots were offered a helping hand and a job at the times when Serbia was under international sanctions and our pilots had no chance to fly, which threatened the loss of their flying licences. Serbian construction workers have put in their hard work and expertise to successfully complete some of Malta’s most ambitious infrastructural projects, such as the Portomaso Tower, Mater Dei Hospital, and the new Parliament building. In culture and arts, Serbian painters have been

contributing to the diversity of Maltese cultural life by exhibiting in numerous collective and individual exhibitions. Last year, the Serbian Maltese Community organised an exhibition entitled “TOGETHER” and gathered over 20 Maltese and Serbian artists who exhibited paintings, sculptures, and applied art objects. The exhibition was very well received and was covered by the media. There are also a few well

represented by the folklore group “Osvit” which takes part in events organised by local councils and other organizations. Recently, a TV program on different cultures and nationalities living in Malta (which was a part of another EU funded program and supported by S.O.S. Malta) featured a Serbian family in their home in Malta. During the program, Serbian cuisine was featured, along with certain traditions linked to family life and religious feasts. This program was very well received and it was rerun several times, as it achieved very good ratings with the viewers. Serbs are a Christian nation of the Orthodox creed. However, even though our religious

recognised Serbian painters who work and live in Malta, who became internationaly known as Serbs who chose Malta for their home. Serbian folklore and tradition is also

ceremonies and the calendar are different, our community has been met with full understanding and support from the Catholic Church in Malta. Continued on Page 16

The first settlers from Serbia in Malta can be traced back to the 18th century


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A Global Twist To Traditional Maltese Folk Music BARTEK ROMANCZUK

© Kantilena

Modern, contemporary, and yet, in a sense, traditional folk with multiple, even multicultural, influences – this is what comes to mind when listening to Kantilena. The foursome is a showcase of what they brand as Contemporary Maltese Folk Music. I met up with Drinu Camilleri, founding member, guitarist, writer, and one of the band’s two vocalists. “We love traditional music and

© Kantilina we love the Maltese language, but we wanted to create something contemporary whilst keeping the traditional part,” Drinu said, and I must say that they succeed. Kantilena is a modern folk group made up of four members, James Baldacchino (violinist), Albert Garzia on (accordion-player), Alessandro Lia ( vocalist and pianist), and Drinu Camilleri (vocalist and guitar-player). Their line-up frequently includes

Manuel Pulis on percussion. “Our music is, essentially, Maltese. It is written and sung in Maltese; it catches and spins snatches of Maltese music; the lyrical content often alludes to local elements. However, we are also inspired by various sources, including music from other countries and cultures. We’ve been told a few times that our music sometimes reminds people of Jewish music, or Balkan, or Sicilian. We find it exciting and flattering that, in a way, people travel around the world while listening to our music,” Drinu said. The name Kantilena has strong cultural ties to Malta. It is the name given to the first ever recorded literary work in Maltese, originally written no later than 1485 by Pietru Caxaro, and only discovered between 1966 and 1968. “We chose the name for various reasons, among them being a heartfelt tribute to a very beautiful and ground-breaking poem. Caxaro wrote his piece in Maltese at a time when, as far as we know, Maltese was looked down upon. As a band, we also feel that we are part of a growing cultural and social interest in the Maltese language, which can be as powerful and articulate a language as any other,” he said. Kantilena is, in fact, one of a handful of Maltese bands gaining fame for what can be described as an indigenous musical output. The band was

formed in 2009 by Camilleri, Baldacchino and Lia. Their aim was to create music inspired by traditional folk. At the same time, they did not want to remain in the past. “We have no interest in acting as a sarcophagus; yes, we do love tradition, but we also love living in the 21st Century. We want to create stuff that grabs hold of people’s imagination and drags it the way a book, a painting, or a film drags it. We want to take people places, physical and otherwise; we want to take our listener out to sea on a rickety boat, say, or to the gallows, but also inside their own or someone else’s consciousness. Some places will be familiar; others, not so much. But that’s the beauty of any adventure,” Drinu added. Kantilena is currently working on the release of their new album, scheduled to be launched for May 31st, with support from the Malta Arts Fund. “It’s been a great ride. For five years we’ve worked on this stuff; we’ve gigged and the response has always been positive. The time is right, we now feel, to commit our music to a more permanent record. Let’s hope our audience enjoys listening to this album as much as we’ve enjoyed creating it,” he said. Kantilena can be followed through their website www.kantilenamalta.com and Facebook page facebook.com/kantilena.

Supporting Libyan Art SAMIRA JAMIL

Continued from Page 1. Libyan artists, in post-revolution Libya, revelled in their new-found freedom of expression, encompassing a wide spectrum of art from the highly expressive graffiti on the walls of cities throughout the country vilifying the brutal dictator to sculptures made out of recycled war materials. Artists express themselves in all forms; from abstract to figurative to calligraphic, and work in different media, though painting seems to be the most popular. As a Libyan who grew up in Malta, it has always been my dream to showcase the creative side of Libya and in doing so, project my homeland in a positive light. I recently organised two exhibitions at the St James Centre

Even in the country’s darkest days, artists tried to express their frustrations of Creativity in Valletta and at the Corinthia Hotel, St. George’s Bay, in collaboration with Noon Arts, to promote works of some of Libya’s most talented contemporary artists. The positive feedback from both exhibitions was a

great testament to these artists. The artists taking part were Noon Arts artists, and the exhibition was curated by Noon Arts. Prior to Malta, Noon Arts had showcased works of Libyan artists in London, Tripoli and the USA. Najla El-Fitouri, Matug Aburawi, Yousef Fetis, Mohammad Bin Lamin, Hadia Gana, Naziha Arebi and Arwa Abouon were the artists who took part. Works on display depicted themes such as war, migration, natural landscapes and traditional Libyan life. Although painting on canvas seems to take precedence, calligraphy is also an integral part of the contemporary art scene. Ali Omar Ermes is a prolific Libyan calligraphist based in London. Ermes’s work consists of Arabic letters, which draw references to art, literature and milestones in history. His work has also been influenced by Andalusia, North Africa, the Middle East and other regions of Islamic cultural excellence. Ermes recently offered his ‘Sixth Ode’, a depiction of a poem from the Muallaqat Al-Sabaa, to be auctioned off by Christie’s. Proceeds from the sale were passed on to help Syrian refugees. As in most civilisations, ancient Libyans expressed themselves through art. One of the earliest forms of art was rock art, in the form of engravings or paintings etched on rock formations. These invariably depicted wild animals. Rock paintings and carvings at Wadi Mathendous and the Jebel Acacus region are evidence of this.

© Yousef Fetis

Although painting on canvas seems to take precedence, calligraphy is also an integral part of the contemporary art scene. Ali Omar Ermes is a prolific Libyan calligraphist based in London. Ermes’s work consists of Arabic letters, which draw references to art, literature and milestones in history. His work has also been influenced by Andalusia, North Africa, the Middle East and other regions of Islamic cultural excellence. Ermes recently offered his ‘Sixth Ode’, a depiction of a poem from the

In spite of the repression, Libyan arts did not die out

© Matug Aburawi

The artists taking part were Noon Arts artists, and the exhibition was curated by Noon Arts. Prior to Malta, Noon Arts had showcased works of Libyan artists in London, Tripoli and the USA. Najla El-Fitouri, Matug Aburawi, Yousef Fetis, Mohammad Bin Lamin, Hadia Gana, Naziha Arebi and Arwa Abouon were the artists who took part. Works on display depicted themes such as war, migration, natural landscapes and traditional Libyan life.

Muallaqat Al-Sabaa, to be auctioned off by Christie’s. Proceeds from the sale were passed on to help Syrian refugees. As in most civilisations, ancient Libyans expressed themselves through art. One of the earliest forms of art was rock art, in the form of engravings or paintings etched on rock formations. These invariably depicted wild animals. Rock paintings and carvings at Wadi Mathendous and the Jebel Acacus region are evidence of this. Samira Jamil is a freelance feature writer based in Malta.

© Mohammad Bin Lamin


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Food, Culture and Magic JASEN OGLE There is a building that houses a traditional Maltese restaurant in the Qormi valley which was built about 400 years ago by the Knights of St. John. It was a milling factory that supplied Qormi bakers with flour and later was transformed into a pigstye. Today it hosts pleasant nights out, where patrons can eat a traditional Maltese meal. After three years of restoration and renovation, it was opened as Ir-Razzett L-Antik in August 2002. Alex Cassar has been the manager of Ir-Razzett L-Antik for the past seven years. He granted Side By Side access to the kitchen to see food being prepared for guests before an intimate Wednesday night treat. Most of the ingredients are purchased from local markets. On Wednesday nights, which are dedicated to Maltese cuisine, guests are served Maltese ħobż (bread) with three kinds of dips: bigilla (bean dip), hummus, and aljoli which is made of herbs, olives, olive oil and tuna. In the summer, the tent cast over the

patrons, so other Mediterranean dishes have been added to the menu. In spite of this, the most requested items are fenek and braġjoli. As a restaurant serving traditional food, it is difficult to compete with fast-food restaurants, especially because the restaurant is located near the village centre. “A fine dining restaurant would not work here because the costs are so high, especially with so many restaurants mushrooming up everywhere. This does affect us, but we hold other functions such as wedding receptions and conferences which bring in a higher profit margin,” Alex said. Although Qormi is not known for its pull on tourists like St Julians or Sliema, half of the patrons at the restaurant are foreigners. “Our drawback is that we do not get any walk-ins, so whoever is coming here is coming specifically for us. They have either heard about us through friends or through advertising,” Alex says. The restaurant also hosts groups organised by tourist agencies. On Wednesdays the restaurant organises

serenading each table. The duo accompanied members of the Paul Curmi Dancers who were dressed up in traditional outfits. Dinner is topped off with a magic show in the Chamber of Mysteries upstairs. The theatre is small, so the show is intimate and guests

help magician Brian Role’ and assistant Lola Palmer perform feats of magic. Ir-Razzett L-Antik is located near the heart of Qormi in Valley Road.

© Jasen Ogle Serving a plate.

© Jasen Ogle Maltese sausage, bebbux, tripe and liver.

internal yard is pulled back so patrons get an unobscured view of the night sky. Next comes a well-seasoned platter of Maltese sausage, bebbux (snails), tripe, and chicken liver. One might think that some of this food is not for the adventurous; but if you were lucky enough to find such a well prepared selection, you would dive in head first. The next dish includes samples of Maltese pizza topped with bigilla, deep fried ġbejna (goat cheese), ravioli, and imqarrun il-forn (baked vermicelli). Fenek, which is Maltese for rabbit, is one of the best known ingredients of the traditional Maltese cuisine. Marinated rabbit, flamed in garlic and wine is on the menu for the night as well as veal beef olives. Locally referred to as braġjoli, the thin cuts of veal are wrapped around peppered cheeselets and bacon, which is then braised in a dark ale and red wine. A leg of pork which was purchased in the afternoon, and was slow roasted for five hours. The meats are slow cooked to bring out the flavour. Guests also have a choice of roasted chicken legs marinated with rosemary and cayenne pepper, roasted potatoes with fennel seeds, and poached ċerna garnished with black olives and chopped tomatoes. Alex says that food is served to guests in traditional pots and pans on the table to share. “We try to keep tradition alive as much as possible,” he says, noting that the waiting staff dresses up in traditional clothing. After dinner, guests are brought a platter of Maltese desserts including bread pudding, aromatised pastry, dates, zeppoli filled with sweet ricotta, almond tart and nougat. Although there are many restaurants that serve Maltese food, Alex says the aim of IrRazzet L-Antik is to be different. At times, however, a restaurant must accommodate its

transport for tourists between their hotel and the restaurant for a night of traditional Maltese food, music, and dance. Throughout dinner, guests are entertained by a Maltese folk music duo with their acoustic guitars. They went around the restaurant,

© Jasen Ogle Maltese pizza, deep fried gbejna, ravioli, imqarrun il-forn.

© Jasen Ogle Paul Curmi Dancers.


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Advice For Third Country Nationals: Opening a Bank Account BARTEK ROMANCZUK

According to the Malta Financial Services Authority (MFSA), the single regulator for financial services in Malta, opening an account can be done in a few simple steps. After choosing from around 20 banks in Malta, an applicant will be asked for personal identification such as an ID card, passport and/or residence card. Further to these documents, the bank may also request a permanent address supported by recent utility bills such as water, electricity or phone

bills as verification of details. If the bank feels that the information provided is sufficient, it will verify eligibility to open an account. The bank will also take note of employment and may ask for a character reference if a current account is opted for. Some banks may also ask to provide a character reference letter from another bank. Fees may apply for opening particular bank accounts and conditions vary from one bank to another.

money can be deposited for a definite period of time – usually varying between 1 month and 5 years. A fixed-term deposit cannot be withdrawn before the term’s end date without incurring penalties. This account enables the account holder to benefit from better interest rates, but conditions vary.

loan, monthly payment, fees, penalties, annual percentage rate (APR) and other important features available when asking for offers.

Exchange rates Malta is part of the Euro Zone thus Euro exchange rates apply for other currencies.

Types of accounts Here are some general guidelines to assist applicants in their options: Savings A savings account can be opened, but minimum deposit amounts vary. With this type of account money can be deposited and withdrawn with ease. A debit card may also be available enabling the use of ATM machines. Current A current account is required if an account holder intends to use a cheque book or a debit card Fixed/Term deposits A fixed deposit account is where a sum of

Taking a loan When purchasing property, if an applicant does not have enough funds to complete a purchase, the applicant may consider applying for a loan. It is important to choose the best option available. Although procedures involved in accepting a loan may be complex, it is very important that all agreements in a loan contract are clearly understood before they are signed. The bank will make sure you will be able to repay the loan. To compare loan offers, ask for the same information from each bank. Take note of the loan amount, type of loan, duration of the

Your I.D. Card/s or passport/s Evidence of income (FS3 forms and/or tax returns) Three-year statements of your bank account In case of non-residents, copies of evidence of income, settled utility bills and Bankers’ Reference Architect’s property report and valuation Building permits, layout plans and site plans Preliminary agreement / deed of acquisition

Most banks will ask for the following documents:

The above information may vary from one bank to another and may use/offer different options both for deposit accounts and bank facilities.

Purchasing of Immovable Property in Malta by TCNs BARTEK ROMANCZUK

On a small island like Malta, land is precious and becoming an owner of part of this limited resource may pose a few challenges. To help readers overcome some of the hurdles, Side by Side has explored the conditions for Third Country Nationals purchasing immovable property in Malta. In general, the purchase of immovable property in Malta by Third Country Nationals is regulated by the Immovable Property (Acquisition by Non-Residents) Act – Chapter 246 of the Laws of Malta. In very simple terms, a Third Country National, requires an Acquisition Permit (AIP) in terms of Chapter 246 of the

Laws of Malta in order to purchase immovable property in Malta. However, no AIP permit is required to purchase property in certain areas around the Maltese islands which are designated as the “Special Designated Areas” which have no restrictions on acquisition. More information about the AIP permit can be acquired from the Inland Revenue, Capital Transfer Duty (CTD) Department. Other conditions imposed on TCNs for purchasing property in Malta set a minimum purchase price of €104,486.37 for a flat or maisonette and €174,143 for the purchase of any other immovable property. However, these prices are subject to periodical change and consultation with your notary is highly recommended. These conditions also differ according to circumstances; especially where commercial entities and other businesses come in. A notary can provide guidance through the process. For more information consult the Notaries of Malta website: www.notariesofmalta.org and the Inland Revenue Department website: http:// www.ird.gov.mt/ Where to start? Any potential purchase starts with a property

that is to be bought. The buyer then enters into what is called a konvenju (convenu), or a promise of sale agreement. This is usually arranged by the buyer’s notary or solicitor who will guide you through your purchasing process. Prior to entering into a promise of sale agreement, it is strongly suggested that the property that is to be purchased is examined by an architect for potential problems and irregularities. Also make sure that all the financial requirements necessary for purchasing the property can be met. Bear in mind that the promise of sale can involve significant nonrefundable expenses. Following the promise of sale agreement, the notary conducts the necessary research required for purchasing the property. Following the research, the final deed or contract can be signed, upon which the purchaser formally acquires ownership of the property. The time frame for this process varies between 35 days to six months. Are there other conditions imposed? Third Country Nationals who purchase property in Malta through an AIP permit are bound by a number of conditions issued by the Ministry of Finance. Among other conditions, the AIP permit

generally states that a property can only be used as a residence by the applicant and his/ her family and cannot be rented to third parties, except under certain conditions. Which properties are listed as Special Designated Areas? 1. Fort Chambray 2. Portomaso development 3. Cottonera development 4. Manoel Island/Tignè Point 5. Tas-Sellum residence (Mellieħa project) 6. Madliena village complex 7. Smartcity 8. Fort Cambridge zone, Tignè 9. Ta’ Monita residence, Marsascala 10. Pender Place and Mercury House site 11. Kempinski residences, San Lawrenz, Gozo 12. Metropolis Plaza, Gzira 13. Portomaso extension, St. Julians 14. Vista point, Marsalforn, Gozo Consulting a notary or solicitor is strongly recommended at every stage of a purchase. Conditions for Maltese citizens and citizens of the European Union are different to those stated above.

Financial Institution Seeks To Help Malta’s Poor JASEN OGLE Malta Microfinance is a not-for-profit company licensed by the Malta Financial Services Authority and owned by St. Andrew’s Scots Church in Valletta. It is the result of ‘Out of Africa...Into Malta’ a mission project of the church which aims to help irregular migrants rebuild their lives in Malta. Malta Microfinance seeks to empower Malta’s impoverished communities through disbursing small interest-free loans to fund education, or to assist in obtaining suitable accommodation, or to

fund small start-up businesses. It is difficult to assess poverty, but in general, if a person can be approved for a loan from a big bank, then it is likely that they would not be approved for a Malta Microfinance loan. Malta Microfinance trade loans cover the cost of training and education to be certified for a professional trade. Rent loans are available to impoverished residents to improve their standard of living by providing finance to move out of shelters, garages or open-centres and into more suitable accommodation.

Income Generating Loans are funds lent to generate a personal income, as a salary would do, which would cover loan repayment as well as personal costs. These loans require a business plan, which the company provides assistance with. Money is distributed to individuals who must be part of a community based solidarity group. The intent of the solidarity group is to provide community support in achieving the goal of financial independence. A solidarity group is a support group that ensures each member repays their loans. They

meet each week to share ideas and to network. A loan of a maximum of 2,400EUR is disbursed to each group member one at a time. Only after the first loan has entered repayment is the next loan disbursed to another group member. This is an incentive for group members to encourage each other to repay the loans. There is no request for a guarantee for any loan, but borrower activities are monitored by support worker, Celine Warnier de Wailly. Celine is a human rights lawyer with many years of experience working in Malta. Continued on Page 10


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HELPING MALTA’S POOR Continued from Page 9. “I just want to help people out of poverty,” she told Side by Side. Group members hold each other responsible by creating and adhering to a code of ethics. The code of ethics is a set of principles and standards of which each group must create and abide by. For example, group members can agree and adhere to an agreement that they will not tolerate violence, drug abuse, or any other crimes committed by or against members of the group. Malta Microfinance has disbursed its first loan to the first solidarity group. The loan was to a group of three men, one of which is disabled and is supported by the two other members of the group. Because the loans are interest free, Celine stresses to the group that, “If you do not repay your loan, we cannot help others.” The company is composed of two committees to which Celine reports. The resources committee consists of financial experts whose roles are to assess repayment risk before a loan is approved, and to assist loan applicants in budgeting and

VolServ SOS Malta, in partnership with the Ministry of Health, run a service at Mater Dei Hospital where volunteers, recruited by VolServ, help in the daily running of the Hospital. Assisting patients and relatives whilst at the same time contributing to the local society is the best way to familiarize yourself with the Maltese culture and language and thus integrate better. A team of over 150 volunteers includes a number of foreigners who work with patients to offer them a better overall experience whilst at

conforming to legalities. The committee also determines how the loans should be repaid. The service committee is made up of members of local NGOs, university lecturers and social workers who assess systematic problems such as adjusting to leaving an open centre. They also provide mentoring support and assess the long term plans, intents and motivation of loan applicants. Celine met with a group of Maltese women who discussed a business model and were just as excited and optimistic as the migrants who come to her for help. “My aim is not only to create more groups, but to have more groups of Maltese women,” She said. A difficult part of disbursing loans is creating solidarity groups, because most people who approach her for help come by themselves or as a family. A solidarity group can only be of all males or all females. Loan applicants are not self defeating, but very optimistic about their possibilities. “They have big dreams and are positive because they know that with a little help they can take care of themselves,” she said. Celine provides support where necessary.

She pushes the group to be independent and do research for their business plans. She is making arrangements to hold meetings

in shelters to spread the word of the financial support available to groups of society most affected by poverty.

the same time show part of the hospitality that Malta is renowned for. For more information visit www.sosmalta.org/volserv or call on 21244123. kun int li tagħmel id-differenza Volontarjat fl-isptar Mater Dei u fil-Komunità Ċemplu fuq Tel: 21 244123 jew żuru l-website www.sosmalta.org

Have You Seen... Casa Bernard St. Paul Street, Rabat, Malta TEL:+356 21451888 email:casabernard@onvol.com Casa Rocca Piccola, 74 Republic Street, Valletta, Malta TEL:+356 21221499 email:enquiries@casaroccapiccola.com Domus Romana, Museum Esplanade, Rabat, Malta TEL:+356 21454125 email:info@heritagemalta.org Gallery Gvilla Gourgion, 4 Sir Ugo Mifsud Street, Ħal Lija, Malta Art Gallery TEL:+356 21421984 email:info@medzone.com.mt Għar Dalam Cave & Museum Żejtun Road, Birżebbuġa, Malta TEL:+356 21657419 email:info@heritagemalta.org Inquisitors Palace Main Gate Street, Vittoriosa, Malta TEL:+356 21827006 email:info@heritagemalta.org Ir-Razzett Tal-Markiz Wied Il-Ghasel Mosta, Mst 2142, Malta TEL:+356 79268221 email:talentmosti1983@gmail.com Limestone heritage, Mons Mikel Azzopardi street, Siġġiewi, Malta TEL: +356 2146 4931 email:info@limestoneheritage.com Malta at War Museum Couvre Porte Gate, Vittoriosa, Malta TEL:+356 21896617 email:info@wirtartna.org Malta Aviation Museum Ta` Qali, Limits of Attard, Malta TEL:+356 21416095 email:info@maltaaviationmuseum.com Malta Classic Car Museum, Klamari Street, Qawra, St. Paul’s Bay, Malta

TEL:+356 21578885 email:info@classiccarsmalta.com Malta Maritime Museum Ex-Naval Bakery, Vittoriosa, Malta TEL:+356 22954000 email:info@heritagemalta.org Manoel Theatre, Museum and Courtyard, 115 Old Theatre Street, Valletta, Malta TEL:+356 21222618 email:culturalservices@teatrumanoel.com. mt, info@teatrumanoel.com.mt National Museum Of Archaeology, Auberge De Provence, Republic Street, Valletta, Malta TEL:+356 21222163 email:info@heritagemalta.org

St. James Cavalier Art Gallery, Centre For Creativity, Castille Place, Valletta, Malta TEL:+356 21223216 email:info@sjcav.org

Wignacourt Museum, Parish Square, Rabat, Malta TEL:+356 27494905 email:info@wignacourtmuseum.com

St. John’s Co-Cathedral & Museumst. John’s Square, Valletta, Malta TEL:+356 21220536 email:info@stjohnscocathedral.com

GOZO

Tempra Museum Municipal Council, Church Square, Mġarr, Malta TEL:+356 21520011 email:mgarr.lc@gov.mt The Baby Jesus Museum17, St. Theresa Street, Birkirkara, Malta TEL:+356 21492111, +356 79492111 email:ilmuzewtalbambini@gmail.com

National Museum of Fine Arts South Street Valletta, Malta TEL:+356 22954341 email:info@heritagemalta.org

The Cathedral Museum, Archbishop Square, Mdina, Malta TEL:+356 21454697 email:info@mdinacathedral.com

National Museum of Natural History, Vilhena Palace, St. Publius Square, Mdina, Malta TEL:+356 21455951 email:info@heritagemalta.org

Torre dello Standardo, St. Publius Square, Mdina, Malta Tel: 356 21454480

National War Museum, lower Fort St. Elmo, Spur Street, Valletta, Malta TEL:+356 21222430 email:info@heritagemalta.org Palace Armoury, Grand Masters Palace, Palace Square, Valletta, Malta TEL:+356 21249349 email:info@heritagemalta.org Palazzo Falson Historic House Museum, Villegaignon Street, Mdina, Malta TEL:+356 21454512 email:info@palazzofalson.com Palazzo Parisio Victoria Square, Naxxar, Malta TEL:+356 21412461 email:info@palazzoparisio.com

Toy Museum, 222 Republic Street, Valletta, Malta TEL:+356 21251652 email:info@visitmalta.com Tunnara Museum, Mellieħa Bay, Mellieħa, Malta TEL:+356 99407704 email:info@visitmalta.com Ta’ Ħaġrat temples, St. Peter Street, Mġarr, Malta Tel: +356 21 586 264 email:info@heritagemalta.org Ta’Skorba temples, St. Anne Square, Żebbiegħ, Mġarr, Malta Tel: +356 21 580 590 email:info@heritagemalta.org The Chinese Garden of Serenity, public Chinese garden, Santa Luċija, Malta

Basilica Museum, Il-ħaġar, San Gorġ square, Victoria, Gozo TEL:+356 21557504, +356 99829191 email:bookings@heartofgozo.org.mt Ta` Kola Windmill, Bambina Street, Xagħra, Gozo TEL:+356 21561071 email:info@heritagemalta.org Old Prison, Ċittadella, Victoria, Gozo TEL:+356 21565988 email:info@heritagemalta.org Cathedral Museum Cittadella, Victoria, Gozo TEL:+356 21556087 email:info@gozocathedral.org.mt Għarb Folklore Museum, Il-Knisja square, Għarb, Gozo TEL:+356 21561929 email:info@heritagemalta.org Museum Of Archeology, Bieb L-Imdina street, Ċittadella, Victoria, Vct 104, Gozo TEL:+356 21556144 email:info@heritagemalta.org Museum Of Natural Science, Kwartieri Ta` San Martin street, Ċittadella, Victoria, Gozo TEL:+356 21556153 email:info@heritagemalta.org Pomskizillious Museum of Toys, 10, Gnien Xibla Street, Xagħra, Gozo TEL:+356 21562489 email:info@gozo.gov.mt Folklore Museum Bernardo De Opuo Street, Cittadella, Victoria, Gozo TEL:+356 21562034 email:info@heritagemalta.org


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Wordsearch

Diary Of Events

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GENETICS - PLANTS - ANIMALS - ARTHROPODS - CRUSTACEANS - ARACHNIDS - INSECTS FISHES - AMPHIBIANS - REPTILES - BIRDS - MAMMALS - MARSUPIALS - ANTEATERS SLOTHS - ARMADILLOS - BATS - INSECTIVORES - HOOFEDMAMMALS - RODENTS MARINEMAMALS - PRIMATES - BEHAVIOUR - BIOSPHERE - ECOSYSTEMS - FARMING

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Kellimni.com JAMES BUHAGIAR From the 21st of April, Kellimni.com’s chat service will also run on Monday evenings apart from the usual Wednesdays and Fridays 7pm-11pm and Saturday mornings 10am2pm. As part of the ongoing expansion of the kellimni.com services now our chat services will also be open on Monday evenings. Due to increasing numbers in Chat requests and also through service users asking about furthering our Chat service we shall now open on Mondays from 7pm-11pm. Kellimni.com is an online support service for young people generally in their teens and twenties. Today’s youth spend a lot of time online and so it makes sense to provide them with a service right there, where they are to be found. Kellimni.com provides online information about youth issues, live real-time online chat, a discussion board forum and emailbased support. Live real-time online chat offers one to one instant support. Being live this services proved to be a great success because the amount of sharing and clarification that someone can do when seeking support at kellimni.com. The discussion board forum is open all the time and is also very interesting. Here youths discuss different topics, answer each other on issues concerning them. In the forum one has

also the opportunity to initiate new discussions. All posts will be queued for moderation before being published. The e-mail based support is open 24/7. Here you can write to us in form of a lengthy e-mail as needed on whatever is bothering you or causing you concern. People who like to express themselves with some thought and reflection find this service more appealing to their needs, because they have time to think, reflect, write and then post. From our end we try to answer your e-mail as soon as possible. Kellimni.com is online, confidential, anonymous and free. The service is delivered by a team of professionals and volunteers that are both trained and supervised. It is run as a partnership between Appogg, the Salesians of Don Bosco, Agenzija Zghazagh and SOS Malta.

Events to be held in April 2014 22nd – 26th April: International Spring Orchestra Festival @ Manoel Theatre, Valletta 25th April: MYO Swings – Concert by the Malta Youth Orchestra at Pjazza Teatru Rjal, Valletta 25th – 30th April: Malta International Fireworks Festival 26th April: The Eco Gozo 55k Trail @ Nadur, Gozo 26th April: Met Opera > Cosi Fan Tutte – Mozart @ St. James Cavalier, Valletta 26th April: The Beatles ‘1’ Album Live @ SmartCity, Xgħajra 27th April: The 2014 Gozo Half Marathon @ Xagħra, Gozo 27th April: Spring Fete @ Msida Bastion Historic Garden 27th April: Alive 2014 – Cycling Challenge for Cancer @ Ta’ Qali National Park 27th April: Frott il-Bidwi Mġarri (annual agricultural event) @ Mġarr 27th April: Torelli Trumpet Quartet – Lunchtime Concert @ St. James Cavalier, Valletta 27th April: In Guardia Parade – Historical Re-enactment @ Vittoriosa (Birgu) 27th April: Ħad-Dingli Agrarian works and traditions @ Dingli Cliffs, Dingli 27th April – 11th May: Malta International Music Festival – Piano Competition 28th April: The Winter’s Tale (Shakespeare) Live @ Eden Cinemas, St. Julians 30th April: Blood Donation Campaign @ University of Malta, Msida 30th April: The MTA Dive Lectures – a series

Events to be held in May 2014 of lectures about diving and marine habitats @ Malta National Aquarium, Buġibba 30th April: Gareth Emery live @ Valletta Waterfront, Valletta 1st May: Labour Day – Public Holiday 1st May: The Trench – Re-enactment displays from the Early 20th Century @ Fort Rinella, Kalkara 3rd May: National Fireworks Festival @ The Granaries, Floriana 3rd May: Met Opera > Cosi Fan Tutte – Mozart @ St. James Cavalier, Valletta 3rd May: The Picture of Dorian Gray – contemporary dance adaptation by Oscar Wilde @ Manoel Theatre, Valletta 3rd – 4th May: Medieval Mdina Festival – Pageantry and re-enactments @ Mdina 3rd – 4th May: Legends from the Middle Ages – A storytelling event for children @ Palazzo de Piro, Mdina 4th May: Feast of St. Publius – traditional religious festivity @ Floriana 4th May: Horse Riding fundraising event for animal aid @ Bidnija 4th May: In Guardia Parade – Historical Re-enactment @ Vittoriosa (Birgu)

5th May: History in Action @ Fort Rinella, Kalkara 5th – 9th May: f ’DARhom: At home – exhibition by Pietro Bonacina @ Salesian Theatre, Sliema 6th May: Victorian Garrison Day @ Fort Rinella, Kalkara 8th May: Public Lecture by Daniela Murphy Corella – ‘The Conservation of the Chapel of Auvergne in St John’s Co-Cathedral’ (Monthly lectures by DIN L-ART ĦELWA) @ Melita Street, Valletta 9th – 17th May: The Beland Music Festival @ Bulebel, Żejtun 9th – 21st May: UEFA European Under-17 Championship (hosted in Malta) 10th May: Met Opera > La Cenerentola – Rossini @ St. James Cavalier, Valletta 10th May: Permaculture – The Compost Festival @ Żebbiegħ, Mġarr 11th May: Spring Ricottafest – Artisan and modern fresh local dairy products @ Ħal Kirkop 11th May: In Guardia Parade – Historical Re-enactment @ Vittoriosa (Birgu) 11th May: Balaton Duo – Lunchtime Concert @ St. James Cavalier, Valletta 13th May: The MTA Dive Lectures – a series of lectures about diving and marine habitats @ Malta National Aquarium, Buġibba 16th May: Organ at the Fore! Organ concerto @ Robert Samut Hall, Floriana 17th May – 24th May: Malta Design Week @ Fort St. Elmo, Valletta 17th – 18th May: Great Spring Horticultural Show @ San Anton Gardens, Attard 18th May: 4 Hands, 1 Piano - Lunchtime Concert @ St. James Cavalier, Valletta 18th May: Alarme – Military re-enactment @ Vittoriosa (Birgu) Waterfront 20th May: The MTA Dive Lectures – a series of lectures about diving and marine habitats @ Malta National Aquarium, Buġibba 23rd May: Bir Miftuħ Concert: Maestro Francisco Bernier, classic Guitar, sponsored by the ADRC Trust in collaboration with the Embassy of Spain 23rd – 25th May: Eco Gathering @ Żebbiegħ, Mġarr 24th – 30th May: The Malta Fashion Week @ Valletta 25th May: In Guardia Parade – Historical Re-enactment @ Vittoriosa (Birgu) 27th May: The MTA Dive Lectures – a series of lectures about diving and marine habitats @ Malta National Aquarium, Buġibba 30th May: Magical Classics @ Manoel Theatre, Valletta 31st May: Bir Miftuħ International Music Festival Concert - sponsored by the Embassy of France, and the Alliance Francaise, Malte Mediteranee 31st May: Malta International Food Festival @ Ħaż Żabbar 31st May: Malta National Fashion Awards @ SmartCity, Xgħajra


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The Film Industry in Malta: Then and Now JEAN PIERRE BORG © Zak Cassar

Continued from Page 1. Sons of the Sea (1926) is not only considered to be the first film shot in Malta but research has also placed this film as the first ever fiction film to boast Admiralty support. As other film projects also began to obtain Admiralty support, Malta found itself hosting one of Britain’s most prestigious film companies ‘British Instructional Films’. By 1931, four films had been filmed locally, of which three were silent. In the 1950s, Malta was once again on the radar of film companies due to the British Forces stationed here. With the exception of Malta Story (1953), which could not have been filmed elsewhere, all the other feature films shot in the 1950s resulted from the collaboration that the British forces provided to the various film companies.

Sons of the Sea was to be the first of a long list of films which were fully or partly filmed on our shores In 1963, British special-effects expert, Benjamin ‘Jim’ Hole, was working on the Viking saga, The Long Ships, when a storm off the Spanish coast destroyed the production’s floating sets and models. After the damage © Filmed in Malta Collection

meant that productions needed to bring over to Malta smaller film crews making huge savings on their budgets. It also meant that these Maltese crew members became renowned for their extensive and talented craftsmanship, to which the epic sets and props built on the island are a testimony. In 1979 the MFF Managing director, Narcy Calamatta, negotiated with English producer Lord Lew Grade the funding and building of a new underwater filming tank for the film Raise the Titanic (1980). This new cone-shaped tank, originally designed for underwater filming, can also be used as a surface tank. As the popularity of the now renamed Mediterranean Film Studios continued to increase, so did its range of special effects machinery which could create incurred by the storm, Hole decided that he needed a solution to film on water in a safer and more controlled environment. An unfortunate circumstance for Hole sparked off a chain of events that led Malta to host one of the largest filming tanks in Europe. At Rinella, Hole founded the Malta Film Facilities, and together with a young Maltese construction manager, Paul Avellino, built a 300-foot wide shallow water tank, which would allow filming of water scenes in a controlled environment and safe from erratic climatic conditions. Ingeniously, the location of the tank, practically on the edge of the seashore, creates the illusion of seaborne action taking place miles off the coast without relying on back projection or any special effects. The founding of the Malta Film Facilities; coinciding with the acquisition of Independence, seamlessly shifted the incentive for foreign productions from one based on British Forces’ support to one related to this new film-making facility. Naturally, while Maltese locations continued to attract a portion of the productions shooting in Malta, the new water stage aided considerably by contributing to the appeal of filming in Malta. While films such as The Bedford Incident (1965), Murphy’s War (1971), Orca (1977), and the James Bond film The Spy Who Loved Me (1977) came specifically and solely for the tank, countless other productions found in Malta an attractive situation where the diverse locations and the Film Facilities complemented each other. As the popularity of Malta as a film destination continued to soar, the regular flow of productions meant that a skilled workforce became increasingly involved in the workings of this industry and, as a result, gained more experience in the specialised skill-set required of a regular film crew. Over the years, this has

© Zak Cassar

the wildest storms using smoke, wind and wave machines, tip-tanks and water cannons practically bringing the forces of nature under the director’s control. When in 1999; a few years after shooting White Squall (1996), Ridley Scott returned to Malta for Gladiator (2000), he chose to recreate Rome within the walls of Fort Ricasoli. Because of the position of this fort, the wind and the salt-laden air have weathered the stone to give it a perfect patina. The enormous battlement walls were used to create the Roman street sets, and in the middle of this, the huge parade ground was used to house the Colosseum. Fort Ricasoli has today became a unique open soundstage, and its enormous space is a popular location for the building


April 2014

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of large-scale film sets, allowing period sets to blend in with the existing surroundings, thus minimising visual effects and other postproduction requirements. Following the simultaneous production of Gladiator (2000) and U-571 (2000), with the former said to have pumped over $28 million into the local economy, the Maltese Government set up the Malta Film Commission in January 2000 aimed at further promoting Malta as a film-making destination. Over the years, the Malta Film Commission has managed to attract and facilitate many international audio visual productions as well as implement extensive developments in the local film-servicing sector. Undoubtedly, the most important of these was the introduction of financial incentives in 2005, which were instrumental in attracting more productions to film in Malta. Currently, the Malta Film Commission offers a rebate of up to 20% on eligible costs. Troy (2004), Agora (2009) and World War Z (2013) are just some of the major films which were partly shot in Malta with the help of local Government incentives. Furthermore, if Malta is featured as Malta, the total possible rebate goes up to 22%. In recent years, additional incentives aimed at Malta being used as Malta have been introduced also by the Malta Tourism Authority. Furthermore all VAT paid

An unfortunate circumstance for Hole sparked off a chain of events that led Malta to host one of the largest filming tanks in Europe in Malta is fully refundable. Nonetheless, while some years back Malta had an edge over other competing countries, this advantage has been gradually eroding as other countries have been more generous with their incentives than Malta. Indeed the game has changed so much that even historic filmMeccas like Hollywood are falling behind. Just a few weeks ago, it was reported that the trend has been rising for high-profile films set in the Golden State to be filmed almost entirely outside California, due to lucrative tax breaks elsewhere that producers cannot turn down. Just recently, Malta itself missed out on the filming of ‘Mary Mother of Christ’ soon after Italian financiers lured the production away

from Malta with a generous cash incentive. Mr Engelbert Grech, the newly appointed Film Commissioner, together with the Board of the Film Commission headed by Dr Beverly Cutajar, recently dedicated a whole day to consultation sessions with all the local stakeholders of the film servicing industry. The event, which was very well attended, proved to be a milestone in Malta’s film servicing history as many took this rare opportunity to contribute to the policies being reviewed. Stemming from the awareness that Malta needs to work aggressively on its competitiveness, there is a sense of hope among all stakeholders that these sessions will pave the way to making Malta competitive once again. Simultaneously, while the Film Commission is reviewing its incentives and other policies, Credit Malta 2014 will see the Film firstCommission, ever direct injection Photo by www.airphoto.com.mt © 2000 of €0.5 million into the training of local film crews. Partially funded through the European Social Fund, the Malta Film Commission will be launching a certified training programme encouraging individuals of all ages to further their studies, as well as to develop their skills in order to increase their opportunities for employment in the film servicing industry. While these courses are aimed at below-theline crews, Mr Grech has committed himself that the Malta Film Commission will in due course also provide training for above-the line personnel. While improving the financial incentives and investing in further training for local crews are a good start to putting the industry back on its feet, these two important areas are only two of the variables in a very complex formula. In comments to the media, Mr Grech pointed out that the Film Commission will also be reviewing the local film infrastructure, with a view to upgrade current facilities. While in the 1960s Malta was a pioneer in the building of the water filming tanks, nowadays most reputed film studios around the world also offer some sort of water filming facility. Mr Grech also plans to build proper soundstages, the lack of which has been lamented since the 1960s. Another interesting initiative which was announced during last year’s budget speech was the introduction of a €1 Million CoProduction fund. Once launched, such a fund will undoubtedly open more doors; by assisting local companies to partner with foreign production companies in order to produce films on an international level. The Film Commission is stepping up its participation in international industry events like festivals and markets to ensure that Malta is consistently visible with potential film makers and investors. In a situation where the

many film commissions of various countries or regions are aggressively marketing their offerings and incentives, Malta must not fall back in its efforts to reconfirm itself as the Hollywood in the Mediterranean, a moniker coined by a CNN journalist in 1999, at a time when Malta was simultaneously the base for two big budget films - Gladiator (2000) and U-571 (2000). Despite its diminutive size, Malta’s natural landscape, architectural heritage and purposebuilt film facilities allow it to double for a wide variety of locations across multiple periods and settings making Malta an incredibly versatile location. Easy access to Europe, a stable climate with long hours of light, financial incentives, the water tanks and a skilled English-speaking workforce, all complement each other to make Malta attractive to the film-maker. Finally, even though Malta can boast of some famous locations such as the Azure Window in Gozo, the Blue Lagoon in Comino, Fort St Elmo in Valletta or the fortified city of Mdina, Malta retains a mysterious timeless quality that makes the local landscape an enticing canvas for the film-maker to work his art.

Jean Pierre Borg has for the past years been researching on the films that have been fully or partly shot in Malta. For more information, curiosities and trivia about the Maltese film industry, contact the author on 79710271, email jeanpierreborg@filmedinmalta.com or visit the ‘Filmed in Malta’ Facebook page.

Primarily for locations

For locations plus Admiralty support

Primarily for Admiralty support

The early films 1925-1931

Bolibar (1928)

Sons of the Sea (1926) Tell England (1931)

The Battles of Coronel and Falkland Islands (1927)

The early films 1925-1931

Treasure in Malta (1963)

Single-Handed (1953) Malta Story (1953) They who Dare (1954) The Battle of the River Plate (1956)

The Baby and the Battleship (1956) The Silent Enemy (1958)

Primarily for locations The Tanks era Miniature work and Special Effects 1965-2000

Davy Jones’ Locker (1966) Vendetta for the Saint (1969) Forget Mercy Humppe and Find True Happiness? (1969) Mister Jerico (1970) The MacKintosh Man (1973) L’Invenzione di Morel (1974) Voir Malte et Mourir (1976) Sweeney 2 (1978) Inseminoid (1981) Les Loups entre eux (1985) Pirates (1986) Black Eagle (1988) Gladiator (2000)

Death is a Woman (1966) Can Hieronymus Merkin Ever Captain Nemo and the Underwater City (1969) Eyewitness (1970) Pulp (1972) Children of Rage (1975) Charas (1976) Midnight Express (1978) Trenchcoat (1983) Final Justice (1985) Iron Warrior (1987) Casque bleu (1994)

Malta Film Commission 2001 - today

Revelation (2001) The Count of Monte Cristo (2002) Swept Away (2002) The League of Extraordinary The Death of Klinghoffer (2003) Gentlemen (2003) A Different Loyalty (2004) Alexander (2004) Munich (2005) The Da Vinci Code (2006) Eichmann (2007) Pars: Kiraz operasyonu (2007) Tempelriddernes Skat III (2008) A Previous Engagement (2008) Nie kłam, kochanie (2008) Непобедимый Agora (2009) (Nepobedimyy) (2008) Человек, который знал всё Vinnaithaandi Varuvaayaa (2010) (The Man who Knew Everything) The Devil’s Double (2011) (2009) When Pigs Have Wings (2011) Ghost Track (2011) World War Z (2013) иуда (2013) Курьер из рая The Cut (2014) (Courier from Paradise) (2013) Malta: All Inclusive (2014)

For locations plus Tanks

Primarily for the Tanks

A Twist of Sand(1968) Hell Boats (1970) Zeppelin (1971) Shout at the Devil (1976) Warlords of Atlantis (1978) Popeye (1980) Clash of the Titans (1981) Samraat (1982) Erik the Viking (1989) Der Skipper (1990) Christopher Columbus: The Discovery (1992) Cutthroat Island (1995) U-571 (2000)

The Bedford Incident (1965) Casino © Royale Prof.(1967) Patrick J. Schembri Mosquito Squadron (1969) The Italian Job (1969) Murphy’s War (1971) Battle of Britain (1969) David Copperfield (1969) The Adventures of Gerrard (1970) When 8 Bells Toll (1971) The Golden Voyage of Sinbad (1973) Il Lupo dei Mari (1975) Orca (1977) The Spy Who Loved Me (1977) Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger (1977) The Black Pearl (1977) Force 10 from Navarone (1978) North Sea Hijack (1979) Raise the Titanic (1980) L’Ultimo Squalo (1981) Leviathan (1989) Les 1001 nuits (1990) White Squall (1996)

Munich (2005) The Da Vinci Code (2006) Eichmann (2007) Pars: Kiraz operasyonu (2007) Tempelriddernes Skat III (2008) A Previous Engagement (2008) Nie kłam, kochanie (2008) Wickie und die starken Männer (2009) Wickie auf großer Fahrt (2011) Kon-Tiki (2012) Captain Phillips (2013) Форт Росс (2014) Piet Piraat en het zeemonster (2013)

The Emperor’s New Clothes (2001) Ein Fliehendes Pferd (2007) Sommer (2008) Новая Земля (Novaya Zemlya) (2008) Golfstrim pod aysbergom (Gulfstream Under the Iceberg) (2012) Astérix et Obélix: Au service de Sa Majesté (2012)

© Prof. Patrick J. Schembri


April 2014

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The Way of Hand and Foot THE MALTA TAEKWONDO FEDERATION It is dubbed the most systematic and scientific Korean traditional martial art. Those who practice this Olympic sport say that it does not only teach physical fighting skills. Taekwondo literally means the way of the foot and the fist in Korean – the basic concepts of this sport. According the World Taekwondo Federation, it is the art used to stop fights and help to build a better and more peaceful world. Taekwondo was established in the late 1950s by the South Korean military service and made its way to Malta in the late 1980s. The World Taekwondo Federation style was introduced to Malta in 1986 by a Tunisian, Mr Ghilan Rageb. During the introductory

Desira went to Korea to attend an instructor course for foreigners. They were the first two local Taekwondokas to be officially recognized as instructors by Kukkiwon – the World Taekwondo Headquarters. During the same year the US Taekwondo Olympic team was in Malta as part of their preparation for the 28th edition of the Olympic Games that were held in Greece. Amongst the local Taekwondokas was several time World and Olympic champion, Steve Lopez. Furthermore the Maltese national team had the privilege of joining the US team during their sessions. In 2005, Taekwondo had the opportunity to be included in the 11th edition of the Games of the Small States of Europe (GSSE) that were

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phase of Taekwondo, Mr Rageb held regular training sessions in the Tigne area in Sliema and in a private gymnasium in Pieta. Two years later, a national association was set up and in October of 1988 Mr Christopher Vella established another club in Birżebbuġ. In 1989, Korean Master Choi Chang Yeul, sixth Dan (ranking in Taekwondo) came to Malta, with technical as well as administrative guidance to the local athletes and officials. His coaching was conducted at the Birzebbugia Taekwondo Club, which prevailed as the only Taekwondo Club for the years that followed. Since then, the association was called the Malta Taekwondo Federation (MTF). In 2004 Christopher Vella and Neville

held in Andorra, where Mr. Formosa and Mr. Desira represented the MTF as athletes. In 2006, Stephen Formosa was the first local athlete to attend for a two-month instructor course organized by the WTF and Kyung Hee University. In October 2010 the MTF organized its first open championship entitled First Malta Taekwondo Spirit International Open, which was held between teams including Malta, Cyprus, Luxembourg and Greece. Another great milestone was the Introduction of the latest technology in recording impacts during fights, the P.S.S. DAEDO Strike system. Kimberly Meli won Gold during the Malta Olympic Committee MOC Mediterranean

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Highlights of Taekwondo in Malta 1986 – 1988 – 1989 – 1994 –

Introduced in Malta by Tunisian Mr Ghilan Rageb National association established and first club opened Visit by Korean master Choi Chang Yeul (6th Dan) A new national federal statute was adopted and new clubs were formed - The Federation joined the - World Taekwondo Federation (WTF) and - The European Taekwondo Union (ETU) 1995 – The Federation joined the Malta Olympic Committee (MOC) Competitions 1996 – Senior European Championships in Helsinki, Finland with Stephen Formosa Charles Grima and Johan Cini as athletes and Edwin Calleja as coach. 1997 – Juniors European Championships in Patra Greece with Kenneth Calleja as athlete. - Mediterranean Cup held in Rome, Italy Stephen Formosa and Neville Desira as athletes. 1998 – Senior European Championships held in Eindhoven, Holland with Stephen Formosa, Johann Cini and Neville Desira as athletes. 2005 – 11th edition of the Games of the Small States of Europe (GSSE) in Andorra with Stephen Formosa and Neville Desira as athletes. 2010 – 3rd Poomsae (pattern) World Championships that were held in Ankara, Turkey with Christopher Vella as athlete. - ‘1st Malta Taekwondo Spirit International Open’ between teams of Malta, Cyprus, Luxembourg and Greek athletes.

2010 - ‘1st Malta Taekwondo Spirit International Open’ between teams of Malta, Cyprus, Luxembourg and Greek athletes. - Kimberly Meli won Gold during the MOC Mediterranean friendship games in Sicily. - 3rd edition of the BTCB open championships Kimberly Meli as athlete. 2011 – European Poomsae Championships that were held in Genova, Italy with Christopher Vella as athlete. 2012 – the MTF participated with Kyle Vassallo for the first time in the 3rd European Championships -21 that were held in Athens, Greece. Training 2004 – Christopher Vella and Neville Desira attended an instructor course for foreigners and became recognized instructors by Kukkiwon 2006 – 2-month instructor course organized by the WTF and Kyung Hee University done by Stephen Formosa 2010 – Kukkiwon held its foreign instructor course in the US for the first time outside Korea which was attended by Joseph Azzopardi - WTF-Kyung Hee University athletes course that was held in Suwon Kimberly Meli 2013 – Senior athletes Mauro Busuttil and Gianluca Barbara were sent for the WTF – Kyung Hee athlete course. - Joseph Azzopardi attended WTF I.R. course in Inns- bruck May 2013 and became the first local licensed international referee.

friendship games in Sicily. Kimberly was also the first national athlete to attend the WTFKyung Hee University athletes’ course that was held in Suwon. She later participated in the third edition of the British Taekwondo Control Board (BTCB) open championships in Manchester. In 2013 Christopher Vella was promoted to seventh Dan during the first European Dan Promotion Tests that were held in Sindilfingen, Germany while Joseph Azzopardi attended WTF I.R. course in Innsbruck May 2013 and became the first local licensed international referee. This year’s aims are to send the senior team to participate in a G1 tournament in Europe and to other several competitions in preparation for the first MTF participation to a Kyorugi World Championship that are going to be held in Russia in 2015. In 2011, a new committee of the MTF was formed which is currently presided by Brian Saliba. The objectives of the MTF include propagating, standardizing and developing Taekwondo in Malta both as self-defense, martial arts, and as a competitive sport. It also seeks to ensure that the practice of the art involve physical conditioning as well as personality development based on principles such as courtesy, integrity, perseverance, selfcontrol and an indomitable spirit.


April 2014

15

Life Beyond Basketball JASEN OGLE

My mother is my motivation did not watch much television and they spent a lot of time in church and in prayer,” Crystal recalled. Their many hours in church gave Crystal a lot of time to practice on the court. “I love it. It opened a lot of opportunities to meet people and see places,” Patricia said. “I have been playing since I was seven; so all I know is basketball.”

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Crystal Woodley, Patricia Bright, and Micheal Myers Keitt are three talented African-American basketball players from different parts of the United States who came to Malta to play on a professional level. Crystal, 30 years old, from Chesapeake, Virginia has been playing professional basketball for five seasons. She has played for teams in Germany, Rwanda, France, and Nigeria among other countries. It is her first season playing © Zak Cassarin Malta for Hibernians. “I expected palm trees everywhere, but I did not expect ancient architecture,” Crystal said of her first sense of Malta. For Patricia, 22 from Phoenix, Arizona; it is also her first season playing in Malta for Luxol. “I was just happy it was sunny,” she said. Michael, 25 of Waterbury, Connecticut was surprised at how many people live on the Maltese islands. “It appeared to be so densely populated,” he said. “I was also surprised about the nightlife in Paceville. The Maltese do know how to party.” He also plays for Luxol

Crystal recalled seeing pictures of herself holding a basketball at the age of 4. At the age of 10, she signed up for the Fresh Air Fund, a not-for-profit agency in New York

“When I’m not wearing Hibernians gear, I get the worst treatment ever” that sends inner city children to experience life in the country. She spent a summer in Vermont where she stayed with the family of a pastor. The church basketball court is where she spent her free time. “The family

Crystal likes to joke around with her teammates in Malta. She wants them to have a good time and feel comfortable. “The good thing is everyone speaks English,” she said. Good communication was not always the case in her previous travels. Crystal explains, “In Rwanda, no one spoke English and in Germany most people preferred to speak German.” Life in Rwanda was different for Crystal. “The country is still recovering from genocide,” she said. “There are the very rich and the very poor; no middle class. There are a lot of dirt roads. It made me appreciate simple things like walking on pavement.” Basketball has exposed Crystal to ways of life in different countries. “I rarely saw police in Germany and friends could leave their home with their front door open. In Rwanda I saw police walking around with automatic weapons,” she said. Her experience has given her an optimistic outlook on life. “Living inspires me. When I say living, understand that people are alive, but do not live. They live in a cycle, a routine, but I want to live my life outside of that cycle,” she said. “I have

“I expected palm trees everywhere, but I did not expect ancient architecture” All three have been playing basketball since they were young children. The game is very personal to them. “My mother is my motivation,” Micheal said. “I never wanted to let her down. I got a free education through basketball and I felt that that was the first step to making her proud. I’m here in Malta living my dream and I know she is proud of me.”

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better peace of mind about life than a lot of my friends who work for money and not for their dreams.” Although they are learning a lot in their first year of professional basketball in Malta, a lesson that they are learning off the court is that not everyone is a team player. “When I’m not wearing Hibernians gear, I get the worst treatment ever,” Crystal said. “I was walking with Crystal when about five intoxicated Maltese guys called us monkeys and said to go back to Africa. I’ve never had to deal with this sort of racism at home in America,” Patricia said. Crystal said she was almost prevented from purchasing items from a store because of her skin colour. “Attitudes changed once I pulled out my American credit card and my American passport,” she said. “I get stares that are a look of disgust. I have to prepare myself for it before I step out of my house.” She says that when out with her teammates, they get worse looks than she does. “They get looks that say, ‘what are you doing with her’. It’s difficult to deal with,” she said. Micheal was verbally abused and threatened for accidentally bumping into a table and spilling a man’s drink. Before things escalated, he decided to walk away. “I had some Maltese friends who helped calm me down. Even though we face these issues, there are really nice Maltese people like our teammates who we can rely on,” he said. “I do not like the way people treat me because of the colour of my skin, but apart from that, there are good Maltese people that are very nice,” Crystal said. In spite of the challenges they face, they still try to enjoy themselves through seeking the good things that Malta has to offer. “Malta’s history is interesting, I have been to see the Tarxien Temples, and it is nice to see how Malta preserves its history,” Crystal said. Patricia enjoys discovering the “hidden bits of history around the island,” as she is walking around. Patrica and Micheal enjoy trying traditional Maltese foods. “Horse and Rabbit wasn’t bad. I like the horse better though, it was like eating steak,” Michael said. Patricia prefers to stick with pastizzi. © Jasen Ogle Naturally all three miss their homes and their families, but there are particular things that they really miss. Crystal really misses her juicer, American style pancakes with maple syrup, and Jolly Ranchers, which she has been able to find in a local specialty candy store. Crystal currently has no long term plans to stay after the end of the season, but at the very least, she would like to return as a tourist. Micheal is entertaining the idea of returning for another season and Patricia is excited to see what the future holds.

Patricia Bright cheering on her teammates. Crystal Woodley talking with her coach. © Jasen Ogle

Micheal Myers Keitt warming up. © Jasen Ogle


April 2014

16

Diversity Around Me SIDE BY SIDE Education is key to shedding a positive light on diversity, integration and multiculturalism. When exposed to different cultures at early ages,

people are more receptive to diversity. To further the aims of Side by Side project, SOS Malta felt the need to involve young people in our newspaper; hence, a competition was launched in January for all secondary school students to write a short essay entitled Diversity

in which it is expressed. The submissions were written by Mattea Coppini and Raquel Micallef, both from the Convent of the Sacred Heart. Congratulations Mattea and Raquel!

RAQUEL MICALLEF

MATTEA COPPINI Diversity: having variety, a range of things which are all unique. It describes all I see around me; what makes life interesting. No person is identical to another. Everyone is different somehow and this gives us our individuality. A person’s physical appearance is the first thing that catches my eye. This may help me identify the person’s gender and, possibly, race or nationality. However, this is what I assume through sight. As I look deeper, and get to know a person, I come in touch with the person’s character. Some people may be shy, others outspoken, caring or nasty. The combinations of emotions and characteristics making up a person are never ending. These relate to the life one leads, through culture, religion, level of education, conditions and other influences. All people have their own opinions which affect the way they look at life. Though there are so many interesting differences in everything and everyone around me, this does not mean that similarities do not exist between people or should be avoided. All people are human; have blood in their veins, need food, shelter, sleep, companionship, and love. We all adapt to and value these necessities differently. A common aim may unite a group of people. So many things which make a person different to some make the person similar to others, such as language, family and even religion. The world needs and benefits from

Around Me. The aim of the essay is to express what diversity is and how it affects the author in his or her life. Out of the submissions received, Side by Side chose the two essays published below because of the message conveyed and the unique way

common aims upon which to unite, and many societies seem to be doing their best to foster unity while maintaining diversity. Something very beautiful which I witness around me is that people share what they have to help those less fortunate; putting aside their differences to put others first. Apart from diversity amongst human beings, I can see differences and specific characteristics in my surroundings. In nature, every single leaf on a tree has a unique pattern. There exist numerous types of species which in turn need a specific climate and habitat. This is biodiversity, the diversity of all life. Cities and architecture take many different forms, but again this links to the different preferences and needs of human beings. The blend of all diverse qualities and characteristics results in a richness that is to be appreciated and safeguarded. Even if but one aspect was missing, an incompleteness would result. It would be like a beautiful jigsaw puzzle with one vital piece missing, ruining the whole picture. If everything had to be the same, life would be boring and tiresome. It is thanks to diversity that our colourful world goes round as we know it. Mattea Coppini (14) is a student at the Convent of the Sacred Heart School Foundation

Michel de Montaigne once said, “There never were in the world two opinions alike, no more than two hairs or two grains; the most universal quality is diversity.” This is entirely true; as diversity is the variety in the world around us. It encompasses not only respect and tolerance, but the acceptance of our dissimilarities. This variance not only distinguishes us from each other but can also bring us together. There are multitudes of factors that form this divergence. Race, interests, age and other features all contribute to diversity; as well as backgrounds, skin colour, religion. The most prominent factor that distinguishes us from each other is our appearance. We are all different. Some of us are short and plump, others robust or lean and tall. Our DNA is one of the most uniquely formed complex structures. This means that even the most identical twins cannot be the same and there is no such thing as a dead-ringer. Even if our appearance were similar, we would still differentiate considerably from each other through our gap in age and gender. These can affect our values, hobbies and beliefs. Our background and race also affect one’s attitude towards society and traditions. Someone who grew up in the peaceful countryside would stand out in an exotic area or urban city. For instance, someone raised in the middle of New York would find it considerably

hard to adjust in a desert or rural area. Whereas one might be raised to worship religion daily, another might be raised in a highly educational environment or have unheard of traditions such as human sacrifices and erratic wear. We also notice the plentiful diversity in the surrounding nature; for instance, the picturesque mountainous land, jaw-dropping cliffs, grand trees, majestic animals and exotic fish. This diversity in nature gives exquisite scenery but, most importantly, it is also essential for the continuation of species. The variety in the makeup of species ensures that if epidemics strike, not all creatures will be affected and therefore prevented from becoming extinct. However, the world is not entirely diverse. Stereotypes mystify and obstruct society. Although we all seem different, we are all totally human. Most crave acceptance in society and enjoy the company of friends. Universal values of kindness, honesty, generosity and love strike out everywhere. Even different religions share at least one common belief: there is one supreme being who is the beginning and creator of everything. Although we are all different from each other, our diversity can divide or unite us; therefore, we must remember that diversity is the one true thing we all have in common. Celebrate it every day. Raquel Micallef (14) is a student at the Convent of the Sacred Heart St.Julians.

A Journey to Integration The Serbian Experience

St. Sava celebration

Continued from Page 6. Recently we were given one Maltese chapel, which we will renovate with our own funds. This will be a great step forward in our relations as we will now be able to celebrate Orthodox liturgies with our Maltese friends, families and neighbours. Regarding festivities, Serbian people spend Maltese holidays with their Maltese friends, who in turn are our guests during Serbian feasts. Last but not least, Serbian people have added considerably to the development of Maltese sports and are representing Malta at

international competitions. From tennis, to football, basketball, water-polo, rugby and basketball, sportsmen and sportswomen of Serbian origin have worn the Maltese colours and helped advance Malta’s sporting reputation internationally. Today, many people are not aware that the Serbian people are the largest community of third country nationals living in Malta. According to ETC statistics, Serbian nationals outnumber all the other nationalities residing in Malta. The fact that many people are unaware of this statistic is an encouraging sign which illustrates how well the community has integrated into Maltese society. In the past few years, we have seen a growing number of Serbs attaining Maltese citizenship. This, coupled with a large number of mixed marriages between Maltese and Serbian people, is leading to the Serbian community becoming an integral part of contemporary Maltese Society.

Even with all the bad publicity, the Serbian people were received with open arms by the Maltese These developments have led to the need for

Many people are not aware that the Serbian people are the largest community of third country nationals living in Malta structures to be set up and give substance to the strong bonds between the Maltese and Serbian communities. For this reason, we have created the Maltese-Serbian Community. Our aim is to promote cultural and religious dialogue and cooperation, strengthen economic links, and promote friendship between the two nations. The Maltese-Serbian Community is only two years old; however, we have made huge progress. Today, our community numbers more than 200 active members. We regularly organise sporting, cultural and networking events with both the local population and the respective governments. Having seen all of these advances in such a short time, and considering that this is done on a voluntary basis, I believe that the fact that we have advanced so much shows peoples’ aspiration for stronger relations between Malta and Serbia. It is clear that the Serbian community is well integrated in Malta, which makes our relationship very strong. Every relationship

General Programme Solidarity & Management of Migration Flows 2007-2013 European Fund for the Integration of Third-Country Nationals (IF) Project part-financed by the European Union Co-financing rate: 75% EU Funds: 25% Beneficiary’s Funds Sustainable Management of Migration Flows

requires nurturing, and thus we need to continue deepening our dialogue and cooperation. We may not speak the same language, be we all understand the language of tolerance and good will. Let’s keep talking.


April Side by Side