During his lifetime Dom Mintoff elicited extreme reactions ranging from adulation to extreme spite. Some lit candles in front of his images. In contrast others insisted for his metaphoric crucifixion during the 1980s mass meetings.
The man certainly had a vision. As he himself stated one of his priorities was the removal of those cobwebs in which Maltese society was entrapped. Removing these cobwebs finely spun and protected for years on end by conservatives was no mean feat. It is still work in progress. It certainly required the skills and the stamina of a bulldozer which Dom did not lack.
Unfortunately at times his skills were misapplied. Those same bullying skills which were appropriately applied when confronting the colonising power were certainly out of place when applied against the Maltese population, at least that part of the population which disagreed with his ideas and methods.
Those hovering around him were at times more focused on their interests than on ensuring that he was properly advised. This certainly showed as the better elements left the ranks of his party. Some went quietly, others with a bang. It is not appropriate at this point to quote chapter and verse. It has been done elsewhere. It is however not appropriate to just sing the praises of the man. He must be remembered in his human form, warts and all.
His political service spanned half a century during which he left his mark. He started off with his predecessor Sir Paul Boffa who laid the foundations of the welfare state when Labour was first in government after the landslide electoral victory of 1947. In later governments which he led Dom built on Boffa’s foundations widening and deepening the welfare state.
The man found comfort in the company of dictators. In fact he was a frequent visitor to their courts. His friends included Muammar Gaddafi, Nikolai Caucescu, Todor Zhivkov, Kim Il Sung. He was certainly inspired by Gamal Nasser’s Arabic Nationalism which coincided with his first term as Prime Minister and his resignation in 1958.
The man’s legacy will be determined in the long term when the impact of his negative methods will have subsided. Then history will acknowledge Dom’s contribution to the formation of Malta’s identity as well as to the acceptance of social solidarity as an essential objective of good politics.
originally published at di-ve.com
On this blog you can read the following additional posts on Dom MINTOFF :
21st August 2012 : Dom Mintoff
22nd June 2012 : Dom Mintoff fuq in-Net TV.
5th May 2012 : Dom Mintoff : a political bully.
23rd April 2012 : Thanks O Lord for giving us DOM.
1st April 2012: Should we thank Dom?