What­ever hap­pened to 1 Sep

The Malta Independent on Sunday - - CINEMA -

Joe C. Cor­dina

On 1 Septem­ber 1969, a new ad­min­is­tra­tion took power in Libya. Led by a then un­known army lieu­tenant by the name of Mu’Am­mar El Qathafi, the Libyan army took over the coun­try in a blood­less coup that ousted the monarch, King Idris. Gaddafi de­clared Libya a new state called Libyan Arab Repub­lic and im­me­di­ately called on the United States and Bri­tain to shut down their mil­i­tary bases and ex­pelled the Ital­ians.

Malta, un­der Prime Min­is­ter Dr Gior­gio Borg Olivier, was the first coun­try to rec­og­nize the new state and since then the 1st Septem­ber 1969 Rev­o­lu­tion be­came a land­mark in the re­la­tion­ship be­tween Malta and Libya. When the Mal­tese Labour Party led by Dom Mintoff won the gen­eral elec­tion later, the link of friend­ship with Libya was strength­ened. Be­sides the Em­bassy proper, a Libyan Cul­tural In­sti­tute was set up in Malta. Tech­ni­cal in­sti­tutes and oth­ers were also set up by Libya in Malta for Libyan stu­dents. The com­pul­sory teach­ing of Ara­bic in Mal­tese saw a num­ber of Libyan teach­ers liv­ing in Malta to­gether with their fam­i­lies. This pres­ence in­creased through vis­its by Libyan tourists and oth­ers com­ing to Malta for med­i­cal treat­ment and other needs. Busi­ness was ex­pand­ing be­tween the two coun­tries and govern­ment del­e­ga­tions and pri­vate en­ter­prises trav­elled to Libya and vicev­ersa. These links with Libya con­tin­ued when the Na­tion­al­ist Party led by Dr Ed­ward Fenech Adami won the gen­eral elec­tion in 1987.

All this brought Malta closer to Libyan fes­tiv­i­ties and com­mem­o­ra­tions. One cel­e­bra­tion which was of­fi­cially or­ga­nized by the Libyan Em­bassy on a grand scale, was the com­mem­o­ra­tion of the First of Septem­ber Rev­o­lu­tion of 1969. The new Ad­min-

PM Dom Mintoff

PM Ed­die Fenech Adami

Joe C. Cor­dina in­front of Gaddafi’s tent

A Mal­tese foot­ball team in Libya

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