In the two years they spent in Malta, the French left their stamp which is still with us today. Five months after Malta became a member of the International Francophonie Organisation, the activities to commemorate International Francophonie Day continued in the countries which have had a French influence.
The French influence in Malta goes back further than the two years they spent here and the 82 days during which they technically ruled over us before they were caught up in a blockade. In fact, their influence goes further back than their arrival in our country, to when the Knights of the Order of St John came to Malta. A substantial number of the Knights were French while 12 Grandmasters who served in Malta during the rule of the Order were also French.
Things which we see and are in touch with on a daily basis include the words which entered the Maltese language, parts of the civil code, and even the first newspaper, Journal de Malte which later became the Government Gazette.
This is apart from the St John’s Co-Cathedral which was saved from becoming an English Anglican Cathedral following the objection by the Church at the time, which issued a declaration of an agreement reached between Napoleon and the Catholic Church for this Cathedral to continue to be used by the Catholic Church.
Five months ago, Malta became a member of the International Francophonie Organisation and several initiatives started to be taken to promote French culture and language. A number of cultural activities in connection with this day are also being organised.
In an activity which fuses the Arts, literature and music, Foreign Affairs Minister Carmelo Abela said that pluralism is essential for the expression of a country’s culture. The audience at the Ċentru Papa Ġwanni Pawlu II in Attard heard how important it is for Malta to promote France’s culture and language because ultimately our country depends on the knowledge of other languages.
“Children express themselves in an artistic way as well as through music and literature – as well as with works by Maltese composers which have been translated into the French language,” the Minister said.
There are 300 million people around the world who speak Franch, which is the fifth most spoken language in the world.
Malta to celebrate French culture for the first time