Charles Miceli’s Last Battle
The very last initiative in which Charles Miceli was involved was an Open Letter to the Prime Minister concerning Malta’s foreign policy commitments.
by Michael Grech
One of the most remarkable aspects of Charles Miceli’s militancy for eliminating poverty was his recognition of the fact that the struggle for social justice knows no distinction of colour, nationality or creed, and that the struggle for justice at home cannot be divorced from the struggle for a more just and peaceful world order.
Miceli acknowledged that certain patriotic rhetoric which made sense in the sixties and seventies when Malta was fighting to gain its status in the international community cannot be used today against those who end up on our islands in their quest for bread and dignity without betraying the very same ideals which backed those struggles. These ideals – which include opposing colonialism in all its shapes and forms, and promoting international solidarity, peace and disarmament – are as valid today as they were back then. Indeed, Miceli recognised that militancy for integration between peoples and international solidarity is essentially ‘political’. One cannot ignore the international political and economic structures and practices that are causing poverty, injustice and misery around the globe.
One of these evils is militarism. The very last initiative in which Charles Miceli, together with a number of other individuals, was involved was an Open Letter to the Prime Minister concerning Malta’s foreign policy commitments. This letter was delivered to the Prime Minister a few hours before his death. In the letter, the signatories enjoined the Prime Minister not to have Malta take part in PESCO, the EU military initiative, to oppose this, and to promote the ideals of disarmament and peace. The letter was either ignored or dismissed by the media for reasons which escape us, given the serious nature of the contents.
It can be accessed here. It is another testament to Miceli’s legacy, one which we hope no one will attempt to play down in order to please some ruling elite in Malta or elsewhere.
Underneath you have the original Maltese version and the English translation.
Ittra miftuћa lill-Prim Ministru, l-Onorevoli Joseph Muscat
Gћażiż Prim Ministru,
Aћna hawn taћt iffirmati nsostnu illi l-gvern Malti mhux biss m’gћandux jieћu parti fil-ftehim ta’ integrazzjoni militari (PESCO), imma gћandu jaћdem biex din l-inizjattiva mill-UE tispiċċa u l-UE tibda tћaddan politika ta’ paċi mal-ġnus kollha u ta’ diżarm militari. Ir-raġunijiet gћal dan huma:
(1) L-Unjoni Ewropea mhix maqbuda f’taqtigћa militari mal-ebda blokk ieћor bћalma kien il-każ bejn in-Nato u l-Patt ta’ Varsavja fi żmien il-gwerra l-bierda. Gћalhekk m’hemm ebda bżonn ta’ armata Ewropea biex tiddefendi ’l-Unjoni Ewropea.
(2) L-esperjenzi reċenti fl-Iraq, il-Libja u s-Sirja juruna li l-politika ta’ interventi “umantiarji” hi giddieba u falluta. Hi biss skuża biex pajjiżi jew blokki setgħana jimponu r-rieda tagħhom fuq pajjiżi żgħar. Hi politika immorali, kif ukoll żerriegħa ewlenija tal-attakki terroristiċi u tal-ħolqien tar-rifuġjati.
(3) Il-PESCO tmur kontra l-għan ewlieni tal-fundaturi tal-UE, dak illi l-Ewropa ma terġax tgħaddi minn gwerrer, kemm interni kif ukoll ’il barra mill-Ewropa. Fi kliem Robert Schuman, l-Unjoni Ewropea għandha tkun għaqda li tfittex: ‘li ġġib tmiem għall-gwerrer u twassal għall-paċi dejjiema.
(4) Id-diżarm, il-kummerċ ekwu u l-għajnuna għal żvilupp li jkun ekoloġikament sostenibli huma l-aktar għodda effettiva għall-paċi. L-Unjoni Ewropea f’dawn għanda tinvesti. Kif qal reċentemnt il-Papa: “Ir-relazzjonijiet Internazzjonali m’għandhomx jintrabtu ma` saħħa militari, mal-ħsieb li jaqbillek tbeżża’ lil ħaddieħor, u mal-ħażna tal-armi…imma fuq l-etika tal-solidarjetà`.
(5) Il-PESCO mhix biss tmur direttament kontra il-Kostituzzjoni ta’ Malta li tobbliga lill-gvern Malti li jaħdem għall-paċi permezz tan-Newtralita` u li ma jiħux sehem f’Alleanzi Militari, iżda assolutament m’għandhiex il-mandatt tal-popli li jifformaw l-UE, u allura qed tiġi imponuta fuq dawn il-popli.
(6) Għal Malta il-PESCO tfisser ukoll spejjeż bla bżonn f’nefqiet militari, parteċipazzjoni f’attakki militari immorali, kif ukoll il-konsegwenza inevitabbli li demm żagħżagħ Maltin jinxtered b’kapriċċ.
Lawrence Ancilleri, Attivist
Maria Ancilleri, Attivista
Andre Callus, Attivist
Raymond Camillieri, Attivist
Vincent Camilleri, Rapprezentant Distretwali PL
Bernard Cauchi, Attivist
Ruth Cauchi, Attivista
Antonio Dato, Attivist
Aleks Farrugia, Kittieb
Raisa Galea, Bijologa
Dr Joe Gravina Akkademiku
Michael Grech, Artikolist
Profs Peter Mayo Akkademiku
Sammy Meilaq eks Chairman Tarzna
Alfred Micaellf, eks Vici-Chairman Tarzna,
Charles Miceli attivist soċjali
Dr Francois Mifsud Akkademiku
Dr Karmenu Mifsud Bonnici, eks Prim Ministru u Kap tal-Partit Laburista
Dr Yana Mintoff Bland, Attivista
Dr Mark Montebello, Saċerdot.
George Saliba, eks Ambaxxatur
Dr Mary Grace Vella, Lettur u Attivista
Fra Ġwann Xerri Saċerdot
Open Letter to Joseph Muscat, Prime Minister of Malta
Dear Prime Minister,
We, the undersigned, believe that the Maltese government should not merely refuse to endorse the European military integration initiative PESCO (Permanent Structure Cooperation), but should use all possible means to dissuade the European Union from this undertaking. It should also encourage the UE to adopt policies that favour peace between peoples and military disarmament. The reasons which buttress our call for your government not to endorse this initiative are the following:
(1) The European Union is not involved in a military contest with some military block, as was the case with NATO and the Warsaw Pact at the time of the cold War. Hence, the European Union does not require an army to defend it against any military rival.
(2) Recent events in Iraq, Libya u Syria demonstrate that the strategy of ‘humanitarian’ interventions is disastrous and dishonest, an excuse for powerful nations and military blocks to impose their will on weaker nations. It is has provided an impetuous for terrorism and created refugees.
(3) The aims and intents of PESCO contradict those of the Founding Fathers of the European Union. These included the intent not to have European nations and peoples undergo the ordeals of war again, either in Europe or outside it. The European association that became the European Union was meant to: put ‘an end to war and guarantee eternal peace.
(4) The most effective means to bring about peace are disarmament, just trade relations, equity in the distribution of goods, and genuine international aid that is meant to bring about environmentally safe development in the third world. It is in these areas that the European Union should invest. As Pope Francis recently stated recently: ‘International relations cannot be held captive to military force, mutual intimidation, and the parading of stockpiles of arms. They cannot constitute the basis for peaceful coexistence between members of the human family, which must rather be inspired by an ethics of solidarity’.
(5) Joining PESCO not merely violates the Constitution of Malta which obliges the Maltese Government to work actively for peace and prohibits the country from joining any military alliance, but does not even have the backing of the people of the countries who form the European Union, since it has not been endorsed by any of these in any way whatsoever.
(6) PESCO would entail unnecessary expenses for Malta both in financial and in human terms. Maltese youths would be futilely sacrificed in immoral military ventures.