Our national anthem that I hate

Of course I know the national anthem written by Dun Karm Psaila and composed by Robert Sammut but I am not referring to that one, the one which we try to sing while standing up and putting on a solemn face. For that one it is easy to fake an honest, civic expression.

The authentic national anthem is sung when you try to play by the rules and someone pities you and tells you you are a good boy. If you are luckier you may also be taught the most significant words of the anthem and you will be told: “Min he*a me*a u min ma he*ie* inhe*a!” (which can be loosely translated into: if you don’t screw others, not only are you not benefitting but you are being screwed.) And there you have it, the Maltese national anthem in all its glory!

The big question is: Once you learn it, will you be the only one not singing it? Will you be the only one not standing up and not paying homage to this great maxim which has inspired so many generations? It is sung across the whole spectrum of society, irrespective of social class, income, or religion. I have come to know very few people who are obstinate enough not to follow this great wisdom.

In all honesty I do not think it is an easy choice. When one is aware of how widespread corruption is, how (quoting another part of the anthem) “mhux kemm taf imma lil min taf jghodd” (it is not how much you know, but who you know), how some people are tightly knit in a network of power, how normal it is considered to evade taxes, etc. Are you ready to be part of the group of “cwiec”?

Then there are greater questions. You see, it is technically illegal to sing the version of the national anthem I am talking about even though its singing is so widespread and frequent! The big question is: Should you officially report it being sung when you hear it (I am sure you will hear it in the course of your lifetime)? Be warned that people who dare speak up are considered to be traitors. Their integrity will be thoroughly scrutinised and in some way or another they will be made to pay for their perceived vindictiveness.

My advice would be that if you fear for your sanity you should be very careful before attempting to stop someone from singing the beloved anthem. You may however be happy to know that new songs are starting to be sung. You might need to listen more carefully but sure enough there are songs about protecting our countryside, protecting migratory birds, helping the poor, defending the minorities, advocating gender equality, etc. So, please, if you hate our national anthem as much as I do, do not simply stay quiet; make your voice heard and join a song.

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