Current Affairs
“His voice will never grow old” – the Centenary of the death of Manwel Dimech

It had to be a national celebration but everything had to be shelved because of the current pandemic. Tomorrow marks the centenary of the death of Manwel Dimech, a reformer, a Socialist and philosopher and a former prisoner. In fact it was in prison when Dimech decided it was time that the infliction of damages and exploitation of the Maltese population should come to an end and his reform to achieve these finally cost him his own life.

Manwel Dimech was born in Valletta in great poverty and his father passed away when he was aged only 19. Dimech associated with a gang of criminals and ended up being imprisoned for theft and involuntary homicide. While in his prison cell he discovered his love of books and reading with a particular interest in politics and this enabled his appreciation of the Maltese Language while he learnt other languages including French and German.

Aged 36 he emerged from prison as a new man and began the Dimech Movement. However, his ideas were a threat to the colonial authorities and this led to his forced deportation from Malta in 1914 on never-proven allegations of being a spy for the German Government at the onset of World War I.

He was put on a ship to Sicily without any proof of the allegations against him, without the help of a Defence Counsel and without any Judicial procedures having been taken against him and finally he was transported to a concentration camp in Alexandria in Egypt.

In a reflection of the continued relevance of Manwel Dimech in 2021, Father Mark Montebello told Television Malta that the voice of his messages will never cease, will never grow old, will never be silenced and will continue to inspire.

He said his inheritance is so rich and so strong that it will continue to inspire learning, a learning that is infinite. His activism still conveys the message that nobody has a right to suppress others, not if they are in the priesthood, or of they are politicians, or because of possessing money and regardless of whether being Labour or Nationalist. Nobody has a right to suppress the voice of others.