I want to care about Mintoff but…

By | August 21, 2012

Image via searchmalta.com

At long last someone has come to my rescue and penned some of the feelings I have been having about Dom Mintoff. Feelings I have been unfortunately hiding because I thought they were somehow wrong. I was feeling ashamed when I woke up this morning, read about Mintoff passing away and felt nothing. How can that be, he was such a monumental character in the history of Malta, how can I NOT care?

And finally I found solace in a Markbiwwa.com blog which shared a written account of why it’s OK to have these feeling; an article written by Philip Leone-Ganado entitled “Why I don’t care about Dom Mintoff and neither should you (unless you’re over 25)

I’ll be cheating here, I am in fact 28 but I will be counting myself with that age group. Below is the excerpt in question, and if you would like to read the account first hand, then please click here.

I don’t care about Dom Mintoff and neither should you.

You shouldn’t care because you weren’t alive in the 70s and 80s, and by the time you were old enough to form a genuine opinion about politics, Dom Mintoff was 90 years old, and largely senile.

You shouldn’t care because apart from a vote of confidence when you were 8 or 9 years old, Dom Mintoff is history. Why have an opinion on Dom Mintoff when you don’t have one on Philip II of Spain? At least with Philip, you know what happened.

You shouldn’t care because you didn’t get to read a single reliable history book or article or watch a single reliable documentary to help you understand who Dom Mintoff was or what Dom Mintoff did. Instead, you had to learn everything you know about Dom Mintoff through hearsay, anecdote, and rumour.

You shouldn’t care because you can’t form a reliable opinion by some perverse averaging process – reading things about Dom Mintoff heavily skewed in both directions and finding the mean – you can’t. You can only regurgitate an opinion handed to you by one of Dom Mintoff’s friends, Dom Mintoff’s enemies, or people who benefited or suffered as a result of either.

You shouldn’t care because they want you to care. They want to make their problems your problems, to distract you from the fact that you have problems of your own.

You shouldn’t care because Dom Mintoff can’t change the state of your job prospects (limited), the security of your pension (afflicted), your civil liberties (threatened), your cultural legacy (assaulted), your environmental heritage (blasted). Dom Mintoff is your parents, these things are you.

You shouldn’t care because while the newspapers run pre-prepared praises and damnations of DomMintoff, your friends in Israel are planning an immediate attack on your friends in Iran. While they tweet #perit, your friends in Syria are dying in Aleppo, and your friends in the UK and Ecuador are planning measures that may rewrite laws of diplomacy, freedom of information, big things that matter. While they use their blogs to fight over a man who never touched the world beyond this happy half-a-million,you are connected to a world beyond parochialism and mediocrity.

You shouldn’t care because these are beautiful, terrible times, and they’re going to pass us by if we’re busy arguing about whose parents suffered more.

You shouldn’t care because Dom Mintoff is dead, because whether he was good or bad, all he is now is dust.

Good or bad? Listen to us, it’s starting again.

You shouldn’t care because you’ll never know.

While blogging about the Dear Dom movie I remember writing “the education system has failed me and many others my age”. Whilst I don’t agree with the notion that we shouldn’t care – because I believe we are where we are today thanks to (or despite of) Mintoff – no one my age was ever offered the opportunity to read, digest and form an independent opinion of this person. Decades have passed since Dom Mintoff came into power but no one has ever sat down and written an unbiased account. Worst of all is that we have a gap in our history books, and there needs to be someone mature enough to fill this gap.

I now know why I don’t care, as Philip perfectly put it, I am more interested in what’s happening now, around this planet of ours, but that doesn’t mean this is the way I should be feeling. It shouldn’t be the be all and end all but I want to know, I want to care, I want to understand.