Tifkiriet ta' Tfulija fil-Furjana: Malta fil-Gwerra u fil-Paċi 1930 - 1950
This volume explores the first-hand experiences of the author growing up as a boy during what was probably the most momentous period in our island’s history. The work includes vivid memories of the most terrible years that Malta has lived through during the years 1940-1943.
During that span of time the island and its population, especially people who, like the author, spent those years living in the region around the harbours, were hit by four scourges simultaneously: bombardment, starvation, disease and the black market.
However, the volume is not a depiction of those events on a grand scale, but rather the day-to-day life as lived by humble, working-class folk having few material possessions and those in constant risk of being buried under the rubble of houses shattered into smithereens by the bombardment. It shows how after every air raid the people would crawl out from the depths of their shelters wondering whether they would find themselves homeless.
While recounting these day-to-day events, the book brings to life those harrowing days as perceived through the eyes of a young lad living under heavy bombardment which rained down on that strategic area. The games and pastimes of that childhood and the history of sports in Malta are given as much prominence as, for instance, the incident of the HMS Illustrious, which is arguably the most notable incident of the Siege of Malta.
The work also casts light on the idyllic life of families living as refugees in Rabat which, lying some miles away from the harbour area, was relatively free from the heavy bombardment. People who lived at Rabat were more like spectators, watching the spectacle from a safe distance, of palls of smoke rising over the harbours during the day and the tracer bullets, parachute flares and flashes of explosions at night time.
The work is a reminder of the resilience of the human spirit: that in spite of such adversity people survived and emerged from the great conflict probably stronger in character than before.