Today the guys at Ir-Realta were kind enough to send me a copy of their latest newspaper issue which caused so much furore because of a published short story written by Alex Vella Gera. My conclusion? What is this drama all about? I would understand why the chaplain’s eyes burnt as he was reading the short story and had to go say a couple of hail Mary’s but in no way I would expect him to want a ban on the issue. Actually I wouldn’t expect the chaplain to go running to the rector, and ask for the issue to be pulled from the University and later for the editor to be questioned by the police. Yes, let it sink in guys so you know in what kind of country we’re living in, the police got involved.

The language is pretty harsh but it’s nothing you’ve never heard before. If anyone bothers to pick up a book, it’s nothing you’ve never read before either. And I’m not just referring to foreign published books but also ones published locally; ‘Zerafa’ by Immanuel Mifsud for instance, is way more graphic and stark than ‘Li Tkisser Sewwi’. The latest poems by Mario Azzopardi can be equally as provocative and explicit, and the works of Guze Stagno? Well they don’t call him L’enfant terrible of Maltese literature for nothing.

The only issue I have with the short story is its use of Minglish, but I guess the author was aiming at a colloquial stream of consciousness, so all is fair.

I still cannot believe it’s 2009 and we are censoring the arts. It puts everything into perspective when you consider why we lack talent on these small islands. What would you end up with when most of our artists decide to leave the country to pursue their dream in the modern world, while the ones who stay, are simply put in shackles every time one tries to push the boundaries. How can creativity ever flourish in such an environment?


According to kvella via twitter(, Issue 8 of Ir-Realta, should be online next week.