Ktieb għall-Ħruq

Is-Sibt, 23 ta' April, 2005, fis-7.30pm

 

“Ktieb għall-Ħruq” at Caraffa Stores in Vittoriosa

 
 

Ara r-rapport ta' Sergio Grech,

u l-kummenti ta' Marco Galea, John Buttigieg, Mario Azzopardi u Paul Xuereb

Read Marco Galea's comment in English

 
 

 

Nhar is-Sibt, 23 ta’ April, fis-7.30pm, fl-Imħażen ta' Caraffa, ix-xatt tal-Birgu, għadd ta’ awturi ewlenin, artisti, atturi u mużiċisti, se jieħdu sehem fil-lejla “Ktieb għall-Ħruq.” Id-dħul għal din l-attività huwa b’xejn.

 

“Ktieb għall-Ħruq” qed tittella' fil-Jum Dinji tal-Ktieb minn Inizjamed, bi sħab mal-Kunsill Lokali tal-Birgu u bl-appoġġ tal-Cottonera Waterfront Group

 

L-awturi kollha li se jieħdu sehem huma Clare Azzopardi, Stanley Borg, Norbert Bugeja, John Buttigieg, Priscilla Cassar, Claudia Fiorini, Miriam Galea, Maria Grech Ganado, Sergio Grech, Adrian Grima, Henry Holland, Simone Inguanez, Roderick Mallia, Immanuel Mifsud, Walid Nabhan, Ġużè Stagno, u Leslie Vassallo. Minbarra li se jaqraw xogħol letterarju ġdid bil-Malti, l-awturi mistednin se jitkellmu fil-qosor dwar ktieb li laqathom.

 

Barra minn hekk, fis-6.30pm, għadd ta’ żgħażagħ li jattendu kulleġġi post-sekondarji, se jaqraw ix-xogħol tagħhom bil-Malti u bl-Ingliż. Se jkun hemm ukoll interventi mużikali marbutin mat-testi letterarji minn Esmeralda Galea Camilleri fuq l-arpa u Maria Bonnici fuq il-flawt.

 

Għal dan il-proġett, l-artist Raphael Vella ħejja installazzjoni marbuta mat-tema tal-kotba (hawn fuq jidhru Dettalji mix-xogħol tiegħu, "Mass Weapon of Self-Destruction"), waqt li l-atturi Annabelle Galea, Marion Zammit, Claire Zerafa, Dominic Dimech, u Kevin Attard, taħt id-direzzjoni ta' Marcelle Teuma, se jippreżentaw ix-xogħol ta' Clare Azzopardi, "Jien ix-Xhud."

 

Waqt l-attività se jitnieda l-ktieb bix-xogħlijiet ta’ l-awturi editjat minn Adrian Grima u ddisinjat mill-artist Pierre Portelli. Dakinhar biss, il-ktieb se jinbiegħ bi prezz speċjali. Wara jkun għall-bejgħ, fost l-oħrajn, minn Sapienzas Bookshop tal-Belt Valletta, li qed jagħtu l-appoġġ tagħhom lil din l-inizjattiva.

 

L-Imħazen ta’ Caraffa

 

L-Imħazen ta’ Caraffa max-xatt tal-Birgu inbnew fl-1689 fuq ordni tal-Granmastru ta’ l-Ordni tal-Kavallieri ta’ San Ġwann Gregorio Caraffa. Dan il-bini fih għadd ta’ swali b’soqfa ġejjin għat-tond mifruxin fuq tliet sulari. Fis-sular t’isfel kien hemm il-maħżen ewlieni tax-xwieni, b’provvisti kbar ta’ ħbula, drappijiet u ħwejjeġ oħra għall-bastimenti tal-gwerra u dawk tal-merkanzija li kienu jidħlu fil-Port il-Kbir. Fl-ewwel sular kien hemm l-uffiċċji amministrattivi ċentrali tal-port u ta’ l-attività marittima. Fit-tieni sular, li minnu tista’ toħroġ ukoll għat-triq fuq in-naħa ta’ wara ta’ l-Imħażen, kienu jgħixu l-fizzjali ta’ l-iskwadri tax-xwieni.

 

Skond il-Perit Michael Ellul, fl-1818 dan il-bini kollu fil-Marina Grande tal-Birgu għadda f’idejn il-Flotta Navali Brittaniku u l-Imħażen ta’ Caraffa waqgħu f’idejn l-uffiċjal tal-Flotta inkarigat mill-provvisti ta’ l-ikel u bdew jissejħu l-Imħażen tal-Kaptan. L-imħażen ta’ l-ikel tal-Flotta Navali li kien hemm max-xatt tal-Birgu setgħu jerfgħu biżżejjed ikel għal 10,000 għax sitt xhur.

 

Il-Ħruq ta’ Don Francesco Gesualdo u l-Kotba

 

L-istorja tal-belt tal-Birgu hija marbuta sew ma’ l-istorja tal-kotba f’Malta, kemm minħabba l-għadd ta’ skejjel u studjużi li kien hemm, kif ukoll minħabba l-ħruq tal-kotba pprojbiti fi żmien l-Inkwiżizzjoni. Każ traġiku kien dak ta’ Don Francesco Gesualdo, membru Franċiż ta’ l-Ordni tal-Kavallieri ta’ San Ġwann li kellu skola fil-Birgu. Fl-1563, fuq inizjattiva ta’ l-Isqof Cubelles, Don Francesco nstab ħati mill-Inkwiżizzjoni li kien qed jaqra u jqassam kotba Luterani. Dan wassal biex ħarquh ħaj fil-pjazza tal-Birgu u ħadu passi kontra min kien qed jaqra l-istess kotba tiegħu.

 

L-istoriku Carmel Cassar isostni li sa l-aħħar tas-seklu sittax, minkejja li l-qari tal-kotba kien infirex sewwa minħabba t-twelid ta’ l-istampar, “il-Knisja Kattolika, permezz ta’ l-Inkwiżizzjoni, irnexxielha tikkontrolla l-ħajja, u l-ħsibijiet l-aktar mistura, tan-nies f’Malta.” Fuq ordni ta’ l-Inkwiżitur Evangelista Carbonese, ngħidu aħna, fil-5 ta’ Mejju, 1609, fil-pjazza tal-Birgu, inħarqu għadd ġmielu ta’ kotba ta’ kull tip, inkluż xogħol dwar il-matematika ta’ Tolemew u kotba tal-kittieb Franċiż François Rabelais.

 

L-istorja tal-kotba f’Malta hija wkoll imtappna mill-każ magħruf ta’ għadd ta’ attivisti politiċi xellugin li fl-1933 ittellgħu l-Qorti mixlija li kienu qed jaqraw kotba “sedizzjużi,” kotba li jħajru lill-Maltin biex iqumu kontra l-ħakkiema Ingliżi u l-amministrazzjoni tal-pajjiż, u jheddu t-twemmin tan-nies u l-awtorità tal-Knisja.

 

Minnu nnifsu, il-ktieb jimraħ f’oqsma ġodda u joħloqhom hu stess, jesplora perspettivi u realtajiet mhux magħrufa u mhux aċċettati u għaldaqstant jisfida “s-sewwa magħruf” u l-ordni stabbilit. Ivan Callus jgħid li l-kotba jesprimu t-tamiet u l-beżgħat tal-bnedmin, u l-ambizzjonijiet bla limiti u l-assurdità tad-delużjonijiet kbar tagħhom. Il-kotba jlissnu kurżità li ma tistax titrażżan, u dejjem jesprimu t- tiftix bla waqfien tal-bniedem.

 

Minħabba f’hekk, il-kotba dejjem ixellfu difrejhom mal-poter politiku, soċjali u kulturali ta’ komunità, u sikwit jiġi rrifjutati qabel ma jistgħu jiġu ppubblikati. F’dawn l-aħħar xhur, uħud mix-xogħlijiet li se jinqraw waqt “Ktieb għall-Ħruq” sabu ruħhom f’din is-sitwazzjoni għax twarrbu minn istituzzjonijiet u djar tal-pubblikazzjoni mhux minħabba n-nuqqas ta’ kwalità imma minħabba li jittrattaw temi skomdi b’lingwa letterarja li tipprova tirrifletti dik it-tematika.

 

Għaldaqstant, din l-attività hija maħsuba għal udjenza matura.

 

Għal aktar tagħrif ara l-website ta’ Inizjamed, www.inizjamed.org jew ikteb lil inizjamed@maltaforum.org.

 

Adrian Grima

Il-15 ta' April, 2005

 
 
 
 

“Ktieb għall-Ħruq” at Caraffa Stores in Vittoriosa

Saturday, 23 April, 2005, 6.30pm and 7.30pm

 

On Saturday, 23 April, at 7.30pm, a number of writers, artists, actors and musicians will come together at Caraffa Stores on the Vittoriosa waterfront to present an evening of new literature in Maltese called “Ktieb għall-Ħruq.” Entrance to all events, which are being coordinated by Inizjamed, is free.

 

The writers who will be reading their previously unpublished works in Maltese are Clare Azzopardi, Stanley Borg, Norbert Bugeja, John Buttigieg, Priscilla Cassar, Claudia Fiorini, Miriam Galea, Maria Grech Ganado, Sergio Grech, Adrian Grima, Henry Holland, Simone Inguanez, Roderick Mallia, Immanuel Mifsud, Walid Nabhan, Ġużè Stagno, and Leslie Vassallo. They will also be saying a few words about a book that they have found particularly inspiring.

 

Music, Art and Theatre

 

Before these readings, at 6.30pm, six budding writers will be reading their works in English and Maltese. Both sets of readings will be accompanied by music played by UOM Junior College students Esmeralda Galea Camilleri on harp and Maria Bonnici on flute.

 

During the first set of readings at 6.30pm, well-known artist Raphael Vella will be presenting his installation which has been prepared specifically for this literary event which is celebrating World Book Day. Clare Azzopardi’s short story “Jien ix-Xhud” will be presented by five actors, Annabelle Galea, Marion Zammit, Claire Zerafa, Dominic Dimech, and Kevin Attard, under the direction of Marcelle Teuma.

 

During the event Inizjamed will be launching the book, edited by Adrian Grima and designed by Pierre Portelli, which includes the works that are being read on Saturday. The book will be on sale at a special discounted price. After the event it will be on sale at outlets such as Sapienza’s bookshop in Valletta, which is supporting this event.

 

Books and Don Francesco Gesualdo at the Stake

 

The maritime city of Vittoriosa, or Birgu, is intimately tied to the story of books in Malta, both because of the number of schools and scholars associated with this city port in early modern times and because of the burning of prohibited books by the Holy Office of the Inquisition which was based in Vittoriosa. One tragic case was that of Don Francesco Gesualdo, a French member of the Knights of St. John, who ran a school in Vittoriosa. In 1563 the Inquisition found Don Francesco guilty of reading and distributing prohibited Luteran books and burned him at the stake as a heretic in the main square in Vittoriosa.

 

Historian Carmel Cassar argues that by the end of the 16th century, despite the fact that the reading of books had spread thanks to the invention of printing, “the Catholic Church – through the workings of the Inquisition – had managed to control the lives, and most inner thoughts, of Malta’s inhabitants.” On the order of the Inquisitor, Evangelista Carbonese, on May 5, 1609, a large number of books, including works by Ptolemy and Rabelais, Jewish books and the Koran were burned in the main square of Vittoriosa.

 

It is in the very nature of books to venture beyond the “known world,” or even to create new worlds themselves. Books provide unusual and othen unorthodox perspectives and realities and therefore they inevitably clash with “common knowledge” and the established order. Ivan Callus writes about “books’ articulation of humanity’s hopes and fears, its overreaching ambitions and the absurdism of its delusions, its irrepressible inquisitiveness and, always, its ceaseless questing.”

 

Because of their intrinsically daring nature, books often clash with prejudice and with the powers that be, be they are political, social, cultural or religious. Often they are rejected by publishers before they can even make it to the book shelves. This is what has happened to some of the Maltese works that will be read on Saturday evening. They were rejected not because they are not good enough but because they tackle unsettling themes and they try to create their own unsettling literary language.

 

“Ktieb għall-Ħruq” is therefore meant for a mature audience.

 

This event is being organized by Inizjamed, in collaboration with the Vittoriosa Local Council and with the support of the Cottonera Waterfront Group.

 

For more information visit www.inizjamed.org or write to inizjamed@maltaforum.org.

 

Adrian Grima

Coordinator, Inizjamed

 
 
 
 

Ktieb għall-Ħruq

Sergio Grech

 

(In-Nazzjon, 13.5.05)

 

Inizjamed iċċelebrat Jum il-Ktieb ta’ din is-sena b’serata letterarja fil-Birgu bl-isem Ktieb għall-Ħruq. Mill-attività nibtet ukoll antoloġija li tlaqqagħna ma’ bosta kitbiet kontemporanji. L-antoloġija ġiet editjata minn Dr Adrian Grima; lekċerer tal-Malti l-Junior College.

 

L-isem li ntgħażel hu sinifikanti ħafna. Il-Birgu hu post l-Inkwiżituri u min jaf dawn matul il-preżenza tagħhom kemm paġni ħarqu għax ħassew li dawn kienu kuntrarji għat-tagħlim tal-Knisja. L-Inkwiżizzjoni jekk xejn serviet bħala mezz effettiv biex tikkontrolla mhux biss l-ereżija imma anki l-ħsieb. Għax il-ktieb jipprovokah il-ħsieb. Il-ktieb jaf ikun perikoluż għax jisfida dak li ndara u l-istatus quo.

 

Il-pubblikazzjoni tiġbor 17-il awtur li lkoll jippreżentaw id-dinja tagħhom. Ix-xogħol ivarja bejn proża u poeżija. Hemm xogħol validu u jikkontradixxi lil min jgħid li llum mhu jinkiteb xejn sura u xejn ġdid. Mhux ngħidu li l-kittieba żgħażagħ laħqu s-sema imma hemm traċċi konvinċenti wkoll f’kitbiethom. Iva, hemm direzzjonijiet ġodda u qtugħ mill-passat anki jekk passi żgħar.

 

Nagħtu ħarsa lejn uħud mill-awturi. L-awtur Ġuże Stagno, li tana Inbid ta’ Kuljum, jippreżenta biċċa satira dwaru nnifsu, dwar l-awturi Maltin fejn jissemma fil-kredu anki l-koordinatur ta’ din il-paġna! Maria Grech Ganado tippreżenta żewġ poeżiji surreali waqt li Henry Holland jitkellem dwar il-Perit Mintoff u l-mit tiegħu u l-famuża distinzjoni min mhux magħna kontra tagħna.

 

Xogħol li jispikka hu dak ta’ Immanuel Mifsud fejn bosta jaqgħu vittma tas-satira u s-sarkażmu tiegħu. Iktar ma taqra mill-ewwel tagħraf min qiegħed fil-mira tiegħu. Hemm kitba valida wkoll mingħand Claudia Fiorini, Simone Inguanez u Clare Azzopardi. Din hi faċċata ġdida għax sa ftit ilu l-vuċijiet feminili kienu xotti iktar mill-frawli.

 

Adrian Grima fid-daħla tiegħu jsostni li wħud mill-kitbiet ta’ din il-ġabra ġew imwarrba mill-“istituzzjonijiet u djar tal-pubblikazzjoni, mhux minħabba n-nuqqas ta’ kwalità imma minħabba li jistħarrġu temi skomdi ...” U anki dak hu invell tajjeb.

 

Il-ktieb għandu qoxra ddisinjata minn Pierre Portelli u ġie mitbugħ b’mod professjonali għall-aħħar.

 
 
 
 

Kotba għall-Ħruq
Marco Galea   18.07.2005


Il-kittieba Maltin donnhom għandhom faxxinu biċ-ċensura. Ġużè Diacono għamel l-aħħar tletin sena ta’ ħajtu jgħidilna li darba ma riduhx jikteb “qaħba”, Ebejer kellu l-istess fissazzjoni. Imma issa Ebejer u Diacono t-tnejn mietu. U magħhom ħsibt li l-kittieba tagħna kienu se jinsew dad-diskors u jgħaddu għal xi ħaġa aktar impenjattiva.

 

Tqarraqt. Waqt li wħud mill-awturi tagħna ħadu fuqhom infushom ir-rwol ta’ ċensuri, oħrajn reġgħu qabdu l-kantaliena taċ-ċensura li mhix tħallihom jesprimu ruħhom. U b’dal-mod isibu raġuni, u xi ftit wens, għall-fatt li dak li jiktbu ma jsirx magħruf.

 

Ftit snin ilu Joe Friggieri sfrutta dis-sitwazzjoni tajjeb ħafna. Kiteb dramm jismu Mid-Djarju ta’ Sara u pproduċieh hu stess fit-Teatru Manoel. Il-kampanja pubbliċitarja, l-aktar waħda aggressiva li qatt iltqajt magħha għal xogħol teatrali lokali, kienet mibnija fuq prinċipju wieħed: li dad-dramm tant kien jaħraq li ebda kumpanija teatrali ma riedet tersaq lejh u għalhekk l-awtur kellu jissogra flusu u r-reputazzjoni tiegħu biex dan ix-xogħol jasal għand il-pubbliku. Qalilna li d-dramm kien esplorazzjoni tat-taħlita diabolika bejn il-politika u s-sess illeċitu. Billi Bill Clinton kien għadu kemm inqabad li kien ipejjep is-sigarri ma’ Monica Lewinsky u kulħadd beda jinteressa ruħu fis-suġġett, għal dak l-istaġun Mid-Djarju ta’ Sara kien suċċess mill-akbar. Madankollu, min mar biex jara d-dramm għax ħaseb li kien skabruż aħjar baqa’ d-dar jara t-televixin, għax Mid-Djarju kien ferm aktar mans mill-produzzjonijiet tal-kummiedji Griegi li Joe Friggieri kien itella’ fl-aħħar tas-snin tmenin.

 

Il-ġenerazzjoni ta’ kittieba ta’ wara Friggieri huma anqas makakki. Igergru li ċ-ċensura qed toħnoqhom waqt li ma jindunawx li l-problema hija ħafna aktar gravi minn hekk. Imma ħa nagħti eżempju. Ftit ilu ħarġet ġabra ta’ kitbiet ta’ awturi differenti bl-isem Ktieb għall-Ħruq, mill-organizzazzjoni Inizjamed. It-titlu nnifsu jissuġġerixxi li l-volum se jkun mimli materjal kompromettenti, fejn naf jien: kif tibni bomba, kif twaqqa’ l-gvern, jew kif torganizza orġja fil-Kurja. Das-suspett ikompli jiżdied meta taqra n-nota fuq ġewwa tal-qoxra dwar kotba li jxellfu difirhom ma’ l-awtoritajiet, u jimplika li l-ktieb se jkun mimli b’dat-tip ta’ kitbiet. Il-ktieb qrajtu kollu, u jkolli ngħid li ħafna mill-kitbiet għoġbuni. Imma x’hemm fih li jista’ jġiegħlek tiksirha ta’ l-awtoritajiet? Nista’ nimmaġina li jekk tipproponi lis-Sensiela Kotba Soċjalisti li jippubblikaw il-poeżija ta’ Henry Holland fuq Duminku Mintoff jitqarrsu, u li l-Media Centre jiddejqu bil-kliem ħażin, imma mill-bqija?

 

Is-suspett tiegħi hu li ċ-ċensura f’pajjiżna mhix f’saħħitha daqskemm jaħsbu jew iriduna nemmnu l-awturi tagħna. Nissogra ngħid li jekk xi surmast mistieden ta’ l-orkestra nazzjonali jiddeċiedi li jidderieġi l-marċ ta’ Radetsky għarwien ħadd ma jwaqqfu, u jekk fit-Teatru tal-Kavallier ta' San Ġakbu jagħtuna interpretazzjoni drammatika tal-Kama Sutra ħadd ma jinduna.

 

Li rrid ngħid hu li s-soċjetà tagħna mhix interessata tiċċensura l-kitba jew l-arti b’mod aktar ġenerali f’pajjiżna. Is-soċjetà tagħna mhix interessata fl-arti. Hija illużjoni (jew forsi xewqa) tal-kittieba u ta’ l-artisti li xi ħadd jimpurtah biżżejjed mill-arti tagħhom biex jipprova jwaqqafhom. Salman Rushdie, wara li neħħew il-fatwa minn fuq rasu qal li bil-mod tagħha l-fatwa kienet ħaġa pożittiva, għax għallinqas uriet li l-kotba kienu għadhom importanti biżżejjed biex jisparawlek minħabba fihom. F’pajjiżna le. F’pajjiżna l-kittieba għandhom dritt assolut li jgħidu li jridu, għax ħadd ma jagħti kashom. Pajjiżna jibni l-opinjonijiet tiegħu fuq dak li jgħid Peppi Azzopardi u fuq dak li jbellgħulna l-psikoloġi ta’ l-imġiba fil-programmi ta’ wara nofsinhar, bejn riklam tal-ħrieqi u ieħor tal-panċieri.

 

Il-ġlieda li jridu jagħmlu l-awturi u l-artisti Maltin mhix maċ-ċensura imma ma’ l-irrilevanza tagħhom. Li jridu jistaqsu l-kittieba Maltin huwa għaliex il-Maltin ma jaqrawx, ma jiddiskutux il-kotba, ma jsabbtuhomx mal-ħajt. Il-ħolma tiegħi hija li xi darba dan iseħħ. Imma ninsab ċert li biex naslu hemm irid ikun hemm xi mument meta jrid ikollna l-kuraġġ li nagħmlu ħuġġieġa u naħarqu fiha ruxxmata kotba. Mhux għax jirrabjawna, jew jiskandalizzawna, imma għax iħalluna indifferenti.

 
 
 
 

Kumment ta' Adrian Grima - 29.07.2005

 

Bħala editur ta' Ktieb għall-Ħruq ippubblikat minn Inizjamed (April 2005) jiena konxju ħafna min-nuqqas ta' qbil bejn (1) il-kontenut tal-ktieb, li jidher li fil-biċċa l-kbira lil Marco għoġbu, u (2) l-identita' tal-ktieb (id-disinn, id-daħla u l-kumment tiegħi fuq in-naħa ta' ġewwa tal-qoxra, u l-istqarrija għall-istampa) marbuta mat-tema tal-ħruq tal-kotba - il-ktieb, wara kollox, huwa r-riżultat ta' "proġett" marbut mal-Jum Dinji tal-Ktieb 2005 u għalhekk jirrifletti fuq il-kotba. Din naħseb li kienet l-ewwel darba li ddeċidejna li nagħmlu pubblikazzjoni li ma jkollhiex tema jew xbieha komuni. Napprezza l-kritika onesta ta' Marco fuq dan u naħseb li ma nistgħux ma naqblux miegħu.

F'dan is-sens, pubblikazzjonijiet oħrajn tagħna li kienu l-frott ta' proġett fit-tul u li ffukaw fuq aspett jew tema waħda, bħal F'Kull Belt Hemm Kantuniera (2003) jew Bliet (u Miti) (2002) kienu proġetti letterarji iktar "sħaħ" u "koerenti." (Issa itilqu kollox minn idejkom u morru ixtru F'Kull Belt Hemm Kantuniera qabel ma jispiċċa l-istokk.)

Il-verità hi li Ktieb għall-Ħruq huwa ġabra ta' kitbiet interessanti ta' awturi kontemporanji Maltin li ltaqgħu fi ktieb wieħed u l-unika ħaġa li tgħaqqadhom flimkien hija l-istorja. Naqbel ma' Marco li l-letteratura Maltija mhix importanti jew rilevanti daqskemm nixtiquha tkun, jew forsi daqskemm uħud minna jaħsbu li hi. Diskors magħluq.

F'dan il-kuntest, ma nistgħux niċħdu li r-rilevanza tal-kotba Maltin hija marbuta ma' dak li tista' jew ma tistax tikteb / tippubblika; ma' dak li jista' jew ma jistax jasal għand udjenza possibbli; ma' dak li udjenza tistenna li taqra... Marco jaf li dan huwa diskors kumplikat li jrid isir mill-awturi daqskemm irid isir mill-kritiċi u minn dawk kollha li jridu li l-ispirazzjoni tagħna ma tiġix biss mingħand Becky.

Min jiddeċiedi x'inhu importanti jew rilevanti? jew, għal min irid ikun rilevanti u/jew importanti l-ktieb? Għas-Sunday Times? Għall-politiċi? Għall-Knisja? Għall-gazzetti? Għal Adrian Grima? Għal Marco Galea? Għal Becky? Min jikkostruwixxi l-importanza jew ir-rilevanza ta' xogħol jew awturi jew ġeneru artistiku? Tgħid ngħidu lil Peppi jagħmel programm fuq il-letteratura Maltija? Jew forsi nqabbdu lil Lou Bondi jinfiltra xi laqgħa ta' Inizjamed? Tgħid jekk Where's Everybody jsibuh rilevanti inti u jiena nkunu qed nitkellmu fuqu l-għada filgħodu? Taf issir importanti u rilevanti mil-lum għal għada... tista' tkun int...
 

 
 
 
 

Il-Ħtieġa tax-Xokk fil-Letteratura!

(riflessjonijiet dwar il-pubblikazzjoni – Ktieb għall-Ħruq- Inizjamed (2005)

 

Hemm impressjoni li donnha qed tistenbaħ tinstiga l-ħtieġa li l-letteratura tkun waħda punġenti. Jien minix ngħid li dan m’għandux ikun hekk, arti li ma tqanqalx m’hix arti jew arti bin-nieqes. Li ma nistax nifhem hu l-fatt li l-enfasi ma jidhirx li qiegħed fuq il-bżonn li titqajjem kuxjenza, jew li tinkixef dik il-parti ta’ umanità li teħtieġ purifikazzjoni, imma fuq id-djalettika magħżula bħala bażi għal diskors jew riflessjoni letterarja. Meta ngħid dan qed nirreferi għal dak il-lessiku magħżul biex iweġġa', biex jisfronda il-kuxjenza valutattiva li ma tinbidilx. Għax hemm valuri li jgħaddi kemm jgħaddi żmien ma jinbidlux… jista’ jkun li l-modalità ta’ kif jidhrulna tinbidel għax jinbidel iż-żmien u maż-żmien ninbidlu aħna wkoll, imma l-prinċipji ewlenija ma jinbidlux. Huwa f’dan il-kwadru li nixtieq li naraw il-problematika taċ-ċensura. Fil-fehma tiegħi ċ-ċensura hija eżerċizzju awtomatiku li jseħħ mill-individwu kull meta jiġi biex jagħżel bejn ħaġa u oħra. Li nitħaddtu dwar iċ-ċensura istituzzjonalizzata naħseb li nkunu qed naqbżu stadju li jħejji għal din l-imġiba nazzjonali, stadju li jqarreb lil individwu lejn l-inħawi l-iżjed profondi tal-kuxjenza tiegħu, fejn id-deċiżjonijiet jittieħdu il-ħin kollu. F’dan is-sens jekk individwalment jirnexxielna nkejlu dak li jista’ jitkejjel u ngħarblu dak li hemm x’jingħarbel, allura fuq skala akbar (dik istituzzjonali) ir-riżultat ikun it-tgħaqqid ta’ dawn id-deċiżjonijiet flimkien.

 

Fi Ktieb għall-Ħruq l-antikonformiżmu jidher li sar retorika ripettitiva, għad li nazzarda ngħid meħtieġa. L-enfasi m’għandux ikun fuq l-att finali (dak li ċ-ċensura tiżżarma biċċa biċċa) imma fuq il-mixja evoluttiva lejn maturazzjoni ġenwina li twassal għal dan il-għan. Fl-istess waqt nifhem li l-proċess huwa twil u qajla tista’ tqisu xi darba mitmum… il-bniedem huwa bħal akrobata li dejjem jibbilanċja fuq ħabel irqiq minn naħa għal oħra tat-triq. Nuqqas ċkejken ta’ konċentrazzjoni jista’ jkun fatali. L-etika fid-diskors, fir-rappurtaġġ ta’ l-aħbarijiet lokali u internazzjonali, id-drittijiet ta’ dawk li jinsabu fiċ-ċentri korrettivi, il-mod kif jiġu ppreżentati programmi biex jinġabru flus għal membri tas-soċjetà fil-bżonn… eċċ, dawn u aktar huma temi li jitolbu dan il-bilanċ ‘akrobatiku’ il-ħin kollu. Nibża’ li meta qed nippruvaw inħarsu lejna fil-mera qed insibu distakk qalil bejn dak li nixtiequ nkunu u dak li fil-fatt aħna. Il-pressjoni konsumista, li bħal kamla tawwar fil-fond sakemm tiekol kollox, qed therri is-sisien li fuqhom għandha tkun mibnija soċjetà b’saħħitha. Forsi hawn ta’ min jiffoka mill-ġdid fuq l-għeruq, id-dimensjoni tal-limitu, il-mottif ta’ lilhinn. Mhux hekk qiegħed jiġri meta sseħħ xi traġedja?… wara l-11/9 ħafna kienu dawk li daru dawra madwarhom u ssuktaw  jistaqsu dwar l-eżistenza tagħhom u t-tifsira warajha. Dan, biex norbot ma’ li għidt aktar kmieni seħħ u jibqa’ jseħħ fil-livell persunali u bl-ebda mod ma’ jinstiga emoreġija soċjali jekk mhux fuq medda twila ta’ żmien. Il-fatt li qed niċkienu f’sens soċjali jfisser li qed nikbru fl-għarfien ta’ kemm neħtieġu reviżjoniżmu soċjali u għax soċjali storiku u kulturali (mhux għala Derrida!) ta’ kulma rnexxielna nsarrfu bħala kultura kitsche.

 

John Buttigieg

 2 ta’ Awwissu 2005

 
 
 
 

THE NEW WAVE WRITERS

 

Ktieb għall-Ħruq. Adrian Grima, editur. Inizjamed, 2005. 77pp. ISBN 99932-620-4-8

 

F’kull belt hemm kantuniera: il-belt fl-immaġinarju Malti. Adrian Grima, editur. Inizjamed, 2003. 77pp. ISBN 99932-620-3-0

 

Now seven years old, Inizjamed is a literary society that has already made a perceptible impact on our young authors and readers and is now coming more forcibly than before to the attention of older readers. Older authors like Victor Fenech and Maria Grech Ganado have already been associated with its activities, and the support and encouragement of organizations like the British Council in Malta and Unesco as well as small groups like Moviment Graffiti and Ċentru Fidi u Ġustizzja have enabled Inizjamed to extend its literary work to a number of areas. As its leanings are mainly socialist and humanistic, many of its member authors, though not all, try to extend their interests well beyond personal relationships and their interior life.

 

Following in the footsteps of older authors like Oliver Friggieri, Joe Friggieri, Mario Azzopardi and Lillian Sciberras, they also go beyond our geographical limitations by creating contacts with foreign authors in Malta or away, one of their regular activities being participation in the international biennale organized by an international group of young European and Mediterranean artists.

 

Inizjamed’s leading light, Adrian Grima, is rapidly making a name for himself, and other young authors like Immanuel Mifsud and Ġuże Stagno have produced some striking and indeed ground-breaking work, while an older writer like Grech Ganado has now established herself as one of a small group of this country’s leading poets.

 

Grima has edited for Inizjamed a small volume of verse and prose bearing the title “Kitba għall-ħruq”, not perhaps a milestone work such as the now classic anthologies of the late Sixties and early Seventies pioneered by authors like Victor Fenech, but certainly one of which anyone having even a superficial interest in Maltese literature needs to take notice. In his introductory essay, Grima reminds us that while book-burnings such as the one ordered by the Inquisitor in Malta in 1609 (which included books by Rabelais as well as mathematical treatises) are a thing of the past, censorship of various sorts was experienced in Malta throughout the last century and is still not unknown today. In his concluding paragraph he says that some of the works in the present volume had fallen foul of institutions and publishers who disapproved of the “inconvenient” themes they try to explore.

 

The designers of the book cover have suggested simply but strongly the fate some writings can encounter in our own day.

 

The verse of authors such as Stanley Borg, Priscilla Cassar and Henry Holland has surely never been in danger of being banned or mutilated and Maria Grech Ganado’s two short poems (both also published in her recent volume of Maltese verse) too could also be given place in a mainstream anthology. Clare Azzopardi’s “Jien ix-xhud”, on the other hand, is stronger meat both in its vocabulary and in its “in yer face” attitude to the theme of a woman’s deep unhappiness in a dysfunctional marriage. Her suicide is brought in obliquely but strongly and Azzopardi’s comment on the rate of failures in contemporary Maltese marriages is bitter. The piece is not in verse but in what Victor Fenech has called “poeproża” and some of its imagery remains imprinted in the reader’s brain.

 

In “Ramallah” Adrian Grima uses, relatively speaking, a more traditional style, his theme being the humiliations and suffering of the Palestinian people in Israel, and is dedicated to a small number of Palestinian dancers whom Grima met when they performed in Malta. Much of the poem’s strength derives from its frequently elliptical style which often hints at indignation being kept under control.

 

Of the prose items, Immanuel Mifsud’s “Kumpanni tal-Ordni tal-Mertu” (also published in his recent collection Kimika) is amusingly satirical about media persons, some of whose models are easily recognizable, as well as about the society that regards such people so highly. Ġużè Stagno is not quite original when he sidepasses a bout of writer’s block by writing, quite amusingly, about his experience of what authors dread so much and his envy of fellow-authors who seem to be utterly free from it.

 

“Il-Mutu” by Walid Nabhan (a name quite new to me) is an intriguing piece about the narrator’s obsession with a work-companion who seems to have no friends, does not say a word to anyone, and has a pair of green eyes that mesmerize him. He appears to be a deaf-mute until one day, a day of agitation and pain for this man, he utters one word, “Mietet.” The man remains mysterious, but the narrator now has a clue about his strange companion’s psyche. Is the author a native Maltese speaker? Perhaps not, as he uses words like “ġabbara” which is obsolescent, and on the other hand colloquialisms like “iħħajġakjani” which are clumsy. Nabhan appears to be a beginner who is certainly promising but needs to learn more about style.

 

F’kull belt hemm kantuniera, published two years ago, is more stimulating intellectually than Ktieb għall-Ħruq. The volume’s theme is authors’ perception of the town and its publication formed part of Inizjamed’s Belt (u Miti) project. Apart from some often arresting verse and prose by authors like Stanley Borg, Simone Inguanez, Bernard Cauchi and Clare Azzopardi, the volume includes a very thoughtful and original-minded paper by the young anthropologist Mark Anthony Falzon, “Xi riflessjonijiet fuq l-identità”, and another one, “Fejn hemm il-poter hemm ir-reżistenza: in-nisa fi żmien l-Inkwiżizzjoni” by James Debono who is a specialist on the history of the Inquisition in Malta.

 

Falzon tackes the theme of Maltese identity, one that has been discussed, often boringly or irritatingly at a dozen seminars or conferences, Very sensibly he feels that we do not “lose our identity” as some intellectuals fear; an identity is constantly evolving and changing, in any country or society. As to the fear that by becoming cosmopolitan we stop being Maltese, Falzon asks why it should be impossible to have more than one co-existing identities. After all, we see ourselves as both European and Mediterranean people, Maltese and also Valletta or Mosta people, Cottonera people and also Birgu or Senglea people.

 

Another perceptive comment by this writer refers to our perception of geographical space which is normally limited by the horizon around our small shores. This feeling of isolation is shattered whenever on a clear day we can see Mount Etma and the shores of Sicily, and we take a curious delight in any report in the media relating to a Maltese person, however minor, who has done something interesting, or to whom something unusual has happened, overseas. He also reminds us that those of our people who choose to speak in English rather than in Maltese are just as Maltese as the remainder: they have made a choice that seems sensible to them in the Maltese context. Some may not like this view, but it is a sensible one.

 

James Debono’s very readable paper makes a number of points, but the basic one is that in the 17th and 18th centuries Maltese women in the Inner Harbour area were asserting their identity by being economically self-supporting or by achieving neighbourhood fame as “wise women” (often called “sħaħar” or witches by the common people) or as “living saints” the phrase used by Cassar. The former were regarded as dangerous by the Church, while the latter appeared to be forming a close relationship with the supernatural independently of the Church, something the Church again did not approve of. As women have always been the most fervent members of the Church, the ecclesiastical authorities channelled the spiritual energies of women into becoming :devout women. “The Church used to emphasize women’s role as mothers who obeyed both their husband and their confessor. This was a time when devotions such as saying the rosary, wearing scapulars and possessing holy pictures became ever more popular. And in these devotions women found a new channel of expression.”

 

Adrian Grima’s introduction skilfully synthesizes the ideas in these two papers as well as the various literary items. Personally I found Stanley Borg’s “Bejn ħajja u mewt” with its portrait of people in a contemporary town, living a seemingly pointless life without the consolations of religion (“f’dan il-Ħadd ta’ żewġ gazzetti u bla quddies”) engrossing, a 21st century Maltese Mr Prufrock. Clare Azzopardi, whose “Felli, felli” gives a vivid account of the women writers’ movement within Inizjamed to explore language and create one that has not been imposed by men, joins up with Claudia Fiorini to write “Taħt l-inċirata”, a work in mixed verse and prose about an unhappy (three-cornered? I am not sure) relationship. Azzopardi’s narrative prose represents the young man, lustful but also genuinely in love, and is convincing enough in its psychological approach, whilst Fiorini’s verse is erotically lyrical. The atmosphere of this piece, like that of many of the other pieces in this volume, is , as one has come to expect today, not bubbling with the joys of love, but gloomy with unfulfilled expectations.  

 

Bernard Cauchi’s “Kieku kont hi” is a long dramatic monologue written in grotesque mode. The speaker is Francesca, a woman from a rundown area of Valletta or some other town clearly several decades ago – her mother still wears an għonnella. Daughter of a prostitute, who surprisingly has a taste for the music of Brahms, she appears to be heading towards the same trade. The climactic scene is when the hugely fat Antoine erupts into her house and has sex with her, and she realizes all he wants is to have the money she has hidden in the house. The strange old house, the narrator’s unstable mental balance, and the comments of Francesca’s callous and malicious neighbours, create a phantasmagoric picture of life in an urban society that is sleazy and uncharitable.

 

Paul Xuereb

The Sunday Times, 25 September, 2005

 
 
 
     
     
 
 
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