Whatever happened to 1 Sep
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