- Posted August 28, 2012 by
A Grand Funeral for a Great Leader
It may be the tiniest of archipelagos, but the pride which lives on it, is like no other!
On the evening of Monday 20th August 2012, the breaking news that Dom Mintoff; the toughest and most determined leader which the Maltese islands ever knew, passed away peacefully at the age of 96.
Dom Mintoff who was a civil engineer and an architect, took a political stand to fight for the independence of Malta from the British and led Malta to becoming a Republic in 1974. He also turned Malta into a politically neutral country; no longer used as an army base by foreign states.
The death of Dom Mintoff on Monday, left the nation in grief for the rest of the week. The state funeral held in his honour two days ago on Saturday 25th August, wrapped up the one week of mourning. The Maltese nation gave their last respects to the man whom they call the father and saviour of Malta.
On Thursday 23rd, I was present for the laying down of Dom Mintoff’s cadaver in the Presidential Palace in Valletta. The capital was filled with sorrow, melancholic music was played, grieved supporters of Mintoff and patriots. A cortège was held in his honour, where he was carried from Mater Dei Hospital all the way to Malta’s capital, Valletta. The Presidential Palace was open for the public throughout the next day for the public to pay visit to Mintoff’s corpse.
Last Saturday (25 August) the funeral was held at St John’s Co-Cathedral. The mass was celebrated by the Archbishop of Malta, Mons Paul Cremona and Mgr. Mario Grech. The Archbishop pointed out how Mintoff attached his religious beliefs to his political career by looking out for the poor by introducing social services.
The crowd at the ceremony was overwhelmed with pride. While Mintoff’s coffin was being carried out of the St John’s Co-Cathedral, people shouted out his name, and some also called him by his nickname ‘architect’. Mintoff is in fact known as ‘the architect’, “il-perit” here in Malta since he rebuilt Malta after the second World War.
The huge crowd at the funeral was packed with proud Maltese citizens including ex-patriots. I was very touched when the crowd spontaneously started singing the national anthem at the end of the funeral.
I was lucky enough to have met Dom Mintoff unexpectedly just a year ago, I shall treasure that evening forever. He is truly a legend and as Tony Zarb, head of Malta’s General Worker’s Union said, ‘Malta is a living monument of Dom Mintoff'.
May Dominic Mintoff Rest In Eternal Peace.
1. End of the funeral as the coffin was being taken out of the Cathedral continuing its way towards the cemetery (private part of the ceremony). (25 Aug 2012)
2. Coffin brought into the Presidential Palace in Valletta. End of Cortège. (23 Aug 2012)
3. Crowd in Valletta on the day of the funeral. Thousands attended. (25 Aug)
4. Funeral ceremony. People did their best to find some shade away from the scorching August sun. (25 Aug)
6. President of Malta Dr George Abela & the First Lady Margaret Abela. (25 Aug)
7. People from Valletta looking outside their windows as Mintoff's coffin left the city. (25 Aug)
8. Mintoff's family: daughters, their children and grandchild. (25 Aug)
9. Flags flying at half-mast. (25 Aug)