How many Maltese and those of Maltese Descent are Keeping their Culture Alive Now – New York
Author: Claudia M. Caruana
Two men, both born in Malta, one now living in Indiana and the other in Florida, are responsible for a large number of Maltese and Americans, Canadians, and Australians of Maltese descent keeping their cultural backgrounds alive. Their efforts are also responsible for individuals, including elementary and high school students doing homework assignments about foreign countries and others outside of the Maltese community to know more about Malta.
Dr Grazio Falzon, a retired professor of languages, developed Grazi’s Virtuwali, an extensive Maltese netside several years ago. [Dr Falzon is the author of the Maltese-English, English-Maltese Dictionary and Phrase Book (Hippocrene Books, 1997) and has translated the works of Oliver Friggieri and Mario Azzopardi into English.] Found on this site, which has recently be renamed, About Malta and now is abroad managed by Mr Toni Sant are pages devoted to history, religion, food, festas, literature, art, government, books and articles about Malta, tourist attractions, and politics in Malta. There is a guest book for individuals to "sign" and describe what they are doing, and where and how others may contact them, if they so choose. There also are contributed vignettes about being Maltese and living abroad.
Mr Antoine Zammit, began SearchMalta, an interactive website and browser, several years ago. At this site, there are links to Maltese "chat areas" hotel/rental apartment links, information about Maltese surnames, historical and archeological sites, restaurants, religious groups and observances, festi, Maltese sports, businesses, books, popular music, ghana, and current affairs. SearchMalta has a direct link to an Internet Maltese news service, MaltaMedia. A synopsis of news and events in Malta is provided daily. A free-of-charge e-mail service also is available from SearchMalta.
Two other Maltese men, both residing in England, moderate two Maltese list-serves. Mr Francis Borg moderates MaltaForum (maltaforum@e-Groups.com) which evolved from an American list service started by an American, Mr Joe Meadors, who had fond memories of Malta. In 1967, he was a crew member of the U.S.S.N. Liberty, an American Naval ship damaged during the Six Days War. He and his crew mates were brought to Malta for medical evaluation and treatment.
Mr Em. C. Spiteri moderates Melita (email@example.com). Both list serves have subscribers from Malta, Canada, the United States, Great Britain, France, The Netherlands, Australia, New Zealand, Guam, and elsewhere.
Both groups have lively discussions of these Maltese – politics, food, historical events, language issues, festi, even links to newspaper articles in both Maltese and English. In recent months, there have been on-going discussions on Daphne Caruana-Galizia’s essays as well as "Mariella’s Diary" in The Malta Independent.
For a short period, there was an impromptu Maltese reading group on MaltaForum, discussing the poetic language found in Is-Salib tal-Fidda (The Silver Crucifix) and the writing quality and sense of plot (or what I think of as the lack of in both cases) in The Juke Box Queen of Malta, a book written by an American.
Unlike Australia’s weekly The Maltese Herald, and Canada’s monthly, L-Ahbar, two excellent publications, there are no newspapers at this time devoted to Maltese interests or culture in the United States. In the past, however, there were a handful of American-based publications, newspapers in particular, that reported on Maltese American interests. Maltese Clubs in the United States published several of them The Malta Gazetta, for example, was published by the Maltese Center in Astoria, New York in the late 1980s. Others were small operations started by individuals, usually the emigrants themselves. One long-lived publication of special note, The Maltese Journal, was published (1934 to 1946) by the late Mr Joseph Doublet, a contemporary of my grandparents. I had the pleasure of knowing and working with Mr Doublet in the early 1970s on several newsletter projects for a Maltese charitable organization.
Many people who desire to read about Malta usually have newspapers sent by their friends or relatives in Malta. The availability of Internet bookstores such as Amazon.com, Borders.com, and Barnesandnoble.com has also been helpful for individuals seeking books about Malta or those written by Maltese authors. One notable set of books written about Malta by Charles Fiott is available on the Internet and through several of the Maltese Clubs. Chapters from the book are excerpted in L-Ahbar. A handful of Maltese in America have also written about their Maltese experiences, Dr Michael Bugeja, a college professor at Ohio College and Joe Sacco, a graphic artist/cartoonist who drew a gripping account of a relative’s experience during the World War II bombings of Malta.
Not many books published in Malta, however, are available on these sites. For the most part, many Maltese people outside Malta are either unfamiliar with these books or do not show much interest in reading them.
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Attard, Lawrence E., Fr, The Great Exodus (1918–1939). San Gwann, Malta: P.E.G., Ltd, 1989.
Attard, Lawrence E., Fr, The Safety Valve: A History of Maltese Emigration from 1946. San Gwann, Malta: P.E.G., Ltd, 1997.
Buttigieg, Mary, Maltese Cooking American-Style. Detroit, Mich.: Privately printed, circa 1981.
Caruana, Carmen M., Education’s Role in the Socioeconomic Development of Malta. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1992.
Caruana, Claudia M., "Lace Tradition on Maltese Isle", The New York Times, November 21, 1993, Travel section, p. 10.
Caruana, Claudia M., "Savoring Malta", Saveur, November-December 1995, pp. 70–81.
Caruana, Claudia M., Taste of Malta, N.Y.: Hippocrene Books, 1998.
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Marcus, Erica, The Kitchen and the Melting Pot, Newsday, Melville, N.Y.: August 23, 1999, p. B. 23.
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Sacco, Joe, Palestine A Nation Occupied. Seattle, Wash.: Fantagraphics, Books, 1993.
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Vassallo, Mary, Maltese Cooking with Mary Vassallo, Sydney: Australia, privately published, 1999.
Weight, Clifton A., A Mediterranean Feast, N.Y.: William Morrow and Co., 1999.