Source/Credit: The Times: Wednesday, October 26, 2011
The death of Libyan ruler Muammar Gaddafi has closed a chapter of four decades’ rule and opened a new chapter of freedom and democracy. The new beginning has started and now the Libyan people have to focus on establishing peace, freedom, democracy and human rights for all with equality and justice.
No doubt, as Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi said, “news of someone’s death is always ugly but for the Libyan people it means the start of a new chapter that we hope will translate into a better life”. Yes, that’s absolutely true and we hope for a flourishing, happy, free, equal and democratic new beginning for Libya.
My intention to write this piece is based on the support and solidarity offered by Dr Gonzi to the Libyan people. As he said: “The Maltese will help according to our capabilities”.
Malta’s strategic and geographical position in the Mediterranean plays an essential, crucial and important role in the region, economically, socially and politically. And Malta has always played its important role whenever certain situations cropped up. In the recent situations and conflicts in the neighbouring countries, Malta once again proved its strategic importance and played a great and sensible role – a role that is highly recognised and admired by the international communities and countries.
The US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton recognised this role by saying “Malta may be a small nation in size (but) its contributions to regional peace and security are significant”. UK Foreign Secretary William Hague expressed his gratitude and said: “How grateful we are for all the assistance we have received this year, humanitarian assistance, particularly during the evacuation of British nationals from Libya”. These are just to name a few, since this role and assistance was recognised and appreciated by many countries around the world.
Malta’s humanitarian support for the Libyan people was enormous, with a sense of sincerity, affection and service to mankind. And Malta has once again proved that a friend in need is a friend indeed! Throughout the conflict the Maltese people and their government played a vital role.
In the very beginning of the conflict Malta helped with the safe evacuation of people of different nationalities from Libya. The humanitarian aid given in the shape of food, water and medicine and the provision of medical treatment and assistance to the injured people in Maltese hospitals are really highly admirable.
Malta’s role in saving the lives of two pilots who fled to Malta after having refused to bomb their own people was also highly admired. It was a great step taken by the Maltese government when it refused to return the Mirage fighters and pilots back to Libya and granted them refuge in the country.
In brief, the Maltese government and people left no stone unturned to help and support the Libyan people. This great and sincere support should be written in golden words and remembered forever.