I have already written about the imagery surrounding Mintoff or rather the cult of Mintoff. From Saviour to Father of the Nation the persona is aggrandised as far as is superhumanly possible. Today’s Times includes an article by Joseph Vella Bonnici (My time under Dom Mintoff). Even if we dwell for a moment on the psychological implications of the title – “under” Mintoff – we find the implication of submission and subjugation. Our history books are replete with stories of Malta having been under the hold of this people or another- amazingly, no matter how independent, republican or free we may have become there are segments of the population who will speak of having lived “under” Mintoff. They reign, our leaders do you know.
Title psychology aside, Vella Bonnici’s article goes along very much in the vein of a militant Mintoffian – no harm there (I have been warned off picking on “mourners” as though questioning their historical revisionism is some form of disrespect). What really struck me is his concluding aphorism, straight off the mouth of an old friend of his:
A close friend of his once warned me that “Mintoff is like the sun. He is best seen from afar; if one gets too close there is a risk of getting burnt”.
Really? Mintoff is like the sun now? Comparisons to Le Roi Soleil and his famous “Etat c’est moi” would be facile – easy picking right? My reflection would be a little deeper – and is a direct consequence of the friend’s aphorism that fits so nicely with all that is being said and done about the Mintoff cult.
For you see Mr Vella Bonnici, it is a known fact that when you stare at the sun for too long (no matter how near or far) there is only one consequence that is inevitable (oh the beautiful word)… you tend to go blind.
The blind followers of the sun king… now that’s a new one I hadn’t heard before.
Don’t try to hard to think, don’t think at all
I’m not the only one,
Staring at the sun.
Afraid of what you’d find
If you took a look inside
I’m not just deaf and dumb
Staring at the sun
Not the only one
Who’s happy to go blind
(U2 – staring at the sun)