Posts Tagged ‘Emanuele Luigi Galizia’

  • Gone but not forgotten

    “St. George Preca used to say that the cemetery is the biggest book and I had the opportunity to confirm that,” revealed a Capuchin friar who served as a custodian of the Addolorata cemetery for some years. Living among the dead, day and night, helped him to learn much about humanity and its weaknesses.

    The origial residence and office of the cemetery's custodian - 1 (Photo - Fiona Vella)“The Capuchin friars were selected by the British authorities to administer this cemetery because they were loved by the locals. They had always been the ones who stood by the people during the worst moments and in situations which others avoided,” explained researcher Eman Bonnici.

    “The British authorities hoped to attract people to bury their dead at the Addolorata cemetery. One of the best architects, Emanuele Luigi Galizia, was chosen to design this magnificent cemetery which took seven years to construct at the expense of £33,000. However, a well thought strategy was also required since this necessitated a considerable culture change within Maltese society.”

    “Around 150 years ago, no one was buried in a cemetery except for those who died of contagious diseases or prisoners who were hanged. People buried their loved ones within the churches, chapels and crypts of their towns and villages to keep them close and within sacred grounds. Yet authorities considered this custom as a time bomb for some epidemic catastrophe. From time to time, outbursts of plague and cholera appeared on the islands, and it took days before the malady was identified. Case in points were the first plague victims of 1675 and 1813. Both were buried at Ta’ Ġieżu in Valletta, right at the capital city which was densely populated.”

    “Initially, the Addolorata cemetery was intended to serve as a burial site for Catholics who were from Cottonera, Floriana and Valletta. As an incentive to start a new chapter in burial custom, those who had a private grave in any of these areas, were offered the possibility to choose a space in this cemetery and their grave would be dug for free. They were also given the privilege to use the cemetery’s church for burial rites and prayers before their loved ones were laid to rest. A further benefit consisted of a daily mass which was celebrated in this church and dedicated to all those who were buried within the cemetery.”

    “Although a new law passed in 1863 prohibited further burials within churches, and the Addolorata cemetery was blessed and consecrated in 1869 to be ready for use, it was not that easy to convince the local population who had very strong beliefs related to death and burial customs. No one wanted to bury their dead in the new cemetery. Until one day, a poor woman from Naxxar who lived in Mosta, 64 year old Anna Magro, died at the general hospital, and since she had no relatives, she was the first one to be buried at this cemetery. Some time later, a number of people from Cospicua decided to accept the offer to have their own graves at the Addolorata, and from then, things moved on.”

    The custodian’s role of the Addolorata cemetery was quite challenging. He had the responsibility of all the administration of the cemetery which included the registration of burials, the issuing of burial permits, the applications for new graves, the research for the public about the deceased and their graves, the maintenance of the cemetery and its church, the management of the workers, the distribuition of salaries which was still given out in money, the celebration of daily mass, and the hearing of confessions and spiritual advice. 

    “Originally the friars who acted as custodians were expected to spend the night at the cemetery. I spent around five years living at the cemetery together with a brother who was responsible to cook for me and to take care of the cemetery’s church. Although the brother resided at the cemetery for the whole year, friars alternated every week,” explained the friar.

    “I was shocked when I was requested to become a cemetery custodian. I had studied philosophy and theology, and I had no idea whatsoever about the administration of a cemetery. However, my Provincial promised me that he would provide me with all the necessary assistance and so I accepted the role.”

    Monuments at the cemetery (Photo - Fiona Vella)“Ironically, this work was a blessing in disguise! I had never imagined that the very place connected to death would fill my life with such significant experiences. A cemetery gets you in contact with all the levels of society, from the poorest to the richest, from the average person to the most successful. You learn a lot about humanity’s weaknesses and strengths, about love and hate, about repentance and revenge, about the excruciating suffering of illnesses and death. Ultimately, when the time came, it was actually difficult to leave this role.”

    “Some of my experiences at the cemetery are simply unforgettable. Some of them fill me with distate, others chill me to the bone, while a number of them remind me of the unexplainable power of prayer, love, hope and belief. At times, the pain and suffering which I had to deal with became unbearable and I had to seek out the comfort of the convent. More than the freezing cold of the night which reigned within those historical rooms, it was the distressful questions which people confronted me with, day after day, which affected me most.”

    “Why is your God doing this to me?” asked a woman while carrying her sixth dead foetus for burial. “Her husband had brought the previous five and I had prayed with him and listened to his suffering. It was the first time that I was facing his wife and the news of yet another miscarriage was intensely sad and shocking. In moments like those, I asked God to guide me and he never failed to assist me. This is not the work of God but of nature, I told her. God would never do this to you! Give a name to each child and pray for each and to each one of them and you will find peace.”

    “Around five years passed from this incident. Then, one day, the brother informed me that a couple needed to speak to me. I went out to meet them and they reminded me of their story. ‘I did just like you advised’, the woman told me. ‘And now we have him,’ she said as she reached out to a pram with a beautiful little baby boy inside.”

    Stories poured out from the friar. He was still so emotional about them, as if they had just happenned the day before.

    “On a very cold and rainy day in February, a smart and well-dressed man came to knock at my door. He gave me a grave number and I informed him that it was located in the common graves’ area. The man asked me to accompany him with a car to see this grave and I drove him there.”

    “As soon as I pointed out the grave, the man jumped out of the car, fell to his knees on the ground and began to cry out for his mother’s forgiveness. ‘Forgive me mum! It was not my fault!’ he repeated over and over again while the heavy rain rammed on his back. I felt so distraught for him but eventually I managed to pull him back in the car and help him to calm down.”

    “He told me the story of how forty years before, his mother and his wife had a quarrel, and his wife threatened to leave him if he ever got in contact with his mother again. She even forbid him from going to his mother’s funeral, calling him twice at his office on that day to confirm that he had abided to her rules.  ‘We have four children and I did not want to mess up my family,’ he informed me, leaving me dumbfounded.”

    It was very compelling to witness such hate and thirst for revenge, even after death.

    “One day I was asked to give advice to a very affluent man who came to buy a plot to construct a chapel in the cemetery. He was insisting that only he and his wife, their children and their offsprings could be buried in this chapel, leaving out all his sons’ wives, explicitly named in a contract. I told him that this was very uncharitable on his part but he was resolute. I warned him that on knowing about this, his sons would curse him and his wife but he brushed this comment off, ensuring me that he was leaving them all well off.”

    “The old couple died and they were buried in the chapel. All went well until one of his sons was widowed. He came to us to make arrangements for his wife’s burial in the family chapel. As soon as he identified himself, I braced myself for trouble since it was clear that he knew nothing about his parents’ decision. He could not believe his ears when we informed him that he could not bury his wife in the chapel. He got so angry and swore so badly, cursing his parents over and over again, that we had to threaten him with the police. Matters worsened further when he realized that this condition affected also all his brothers. He called them all and they came to the cemetery in a frenzy, infuriated at this unexpected news.”

    “No matter how much they insisted with us to eliminate this condition, there was nothing we could do. The woman had to be buried in a new grave. All the other brothers bought a new grave too. Their parents’ richly adorned and expensive chapel now lies abandoned and in ruins.”

    Nowadays the cemetery is no longer administered by the Capuchin friars.

    (This article was published in the SENIOR TIMES – NOVEMBER issued with The Times of Malta on 15th November 2018)

    2018.11.15 / no responses / Category: Times of Malta


    Mix-xellug - Dr Alexander Welsh u Charles Gatt biswit monument li għandu l-ħsara tal-gwerraIl-ħajja tal-bniedem hija kumplimentari mal-bqija tan-natura u għaldaqstant għandha wkoll il-fażijiet tagħha: tibda mit-twelid, tkompli bit-tfulija, tiżvolġi fil-ħajja adulta, timxi għall-anzjanità u tintemm bil-mewt. Iżda l-mewt mhiex finali għax finalment hemm ir-reġenerazzjoni. U hekk kif l-ewwel xtieli żgħar ħadranin ifiġġu mill-ħamrija skura mxarrba wara li jkunu spiċċaw il-pjanti ta’ qabel, dawk li jemmnu, jifhmu li r-ruħ tal-individwu tkun imxiet għall-ħajja aħjar, dik eterna, filwaqt li  l-ħajja ta’ dawk li jkun ħalla warajh tkompli għaddejja fid-diżinn maħluq għaliha. Madanakollu hemm ħaġa li tifridna mill-bqija tal-ħolqien: aħna l-bnedmin nibqgħu niftakru fl-antenati tagħha, tant li għal ħafna dawn jibqgħu bħallikieku ħajjin f’qalbhom. Finalment waħda mill-funzjonijiet taċ-ċimiterji hija proprju dik li jibqgħu jħaddnu l-memorja ta’ dawk li jkunu tbennu fil-qalbha t’arthom. Għaldaqstant, dawk li jieħdu ħsieb dawn il-lwogi jkunu qed jaċċertaw li dawk li għexu qabilna ma jintesewx. Dawn il-ħsibijiet tfasslu f’moħħi hekk kif dil-ġimgħa, biex nagħlaq l-aħħar artiklu ta’ Novembru, iltqajt ma’ Charles Gatt u ma’ Dr Alexander Welsh sabiex inżur għall-ewwel darba ċ-ċimiterji li jinsabu f’Ta’ Braxia fejn fosthom ġew anki midfuna prinċpijiet u prinċipessi magħrufa.

    Dr Alexander Welsh, li huwa l-Viċi President tal-Assoċjazzjoni ‘The Friends of Ta’ Braxia’ huwa storiku li qatta’ l-biċċa l-kbira ta’ ħajtu jaħdem fuq diversi proġetti ta’ restawr f’pajjiżi differenti. Iżda hekk kif f’dawn l-aħħar snin huwa beda jgħix f’pajjiżna fehem illi: “F’Malta jeżisti wirt kulturali f’kull metru kwadru aktar minn imkien ieħor fid-dinja u biex ikompli jagħnih, dan il-wirt tħalla minn bosta kulturi differenti. Ngħidu aħna nisimgħu ħafna bl-arkeoloġija u bl-iskoperti mmensi tal-Eġittu imma dawn huma mxerrda ma’ firxa kbira ta’ art. Il-meravilja ta’ Malta hija li f’kull pass li tagħti fuq din l-art tiltaqa’ ma’ xi ħaġa ta’ valur storiku. Hija ħasra li forsi wħud mill-Maltin stess ma jintebħux u ma japprezzawx dan.”

    Charles Gatt li huwa d-Direttur Eżekuttiv tal-Assoċjazzjoni u għamel snin jaħdem bħala arkitett navali, fissirli l-preġju taċ-ċimiterju prinċipali Ta’ Braxia: “Dan iċ-ċimiterju jmorru lura għas-seklu dsatax u fih ġew midfuna għadd ta’ individwi magħrufa li ffurmaw parti mill-istorja ta’ Malta. Għalhekk dal-post minbarra li jitlob rispett minħabba l-funzjoni tiegħu, jesiġi l-apprezzament peress li huwa ġawhra arkitettonika  u  monument storiku nazzjonali.”

    Inġbarna bilqiegħda ġo kmajra li tintuża bħala l-uffiċċju tal-Assoċjazzjoni. Anki din il-kmajra kellha l-istorja interessanti tagħha.

    “Snin ilu, din il-kamra kienet tifforma parti mid-dar ta’ John Mizzi li kellu arranġament biex jgħix proprju hawn fit-tarf taċ-ċimiterju ħalli jkun jista’ jieħu ħsieb dan il-post. Sfortunatament meta John ġie nieqes, iċ-ċimiterju f’Ta’ Braxia ntelaq għal rieħu, tant li finalment in-natura nnifisha ħabtet tipprova tidfnu taħt il-ħaxix, il-pjanti u s-siġar li bdew telgħin ma’ kullimkien.”

    Ir-rakkont ta’ dan iċ-ċimiterju jeħodna lura lejn iż-żmien meta pajjiżna għadda taħt il-kuruna Ingliża fil-bidu tas-seklu 19.

    “F’dak iż-żmien il-Kattoliċi Maltin kienu jindifnu taħt l-art tal-knejjes tagħhom u għalhekk dawn il-barranin li kienu jħaddnu reliġjon ieħor, ma setgħux jindifnu fl-istess postijiet. Mal-miġja tal-IngliżiIċ-ċimiterju prinċipali f'Ta' Braxia f’Malta bdew jiżdiedu r-residenti, l-vjaġġaturi, is-suldati, il-baħrin u n-negozjanti barranin li wħud minnhom mietu f’pajjiżna u għalhekk kellu jinstabilhom post fejn jindifnu. Għall-ewwel bdew jintużaw xi inħawi li kienu jinsabu ġewwa s-swar tal-Furjana sakemm matul is-snin dan id-dfin infirex u laħaq is-swar tal-Imsida. Eventwalment dan tal-aħħar ġie kkonsagrat bħala ċimiterju u huwa l-uniku wieħed li għad fadal mis-siti l-oħra. Infatti minflok iċ-ċimiterju kbir li kien jinsab fis-Sur tal-Kwarantina u dak aktar żgħir tal-Ortodossi Griegi, illum insibu l-art tal-lukanda l-ġdida Excelsior.

    Meta ċ-ċimiterju li kien jinsab fuq is-swar tal-Imsida ntela’ kien hemm bżonn ta’ ċimiterju ġdid u fl-1857 intagħżlet biċċa art magħrufa bħala Ta’ Braxia li kienet viċin l-inħawi tal-Bieb tal-Bombi. Iċ-ċimiterju ġie diżinjat minn Emanuele Luigi Galizia (1830 – 1906) li kellu biss 25 sena dak iż-żmien (aktar tard hu kien responsabbli wkoll mid-diżinn taċ-ċimiterju tal-Addolorata). B’differenza taċ-ċimiterji ta’ qablu li kienu ssawru skont il-ħtieġa, dan kien ippjanat b’mod mirqum u li jilqgħek. Infetaħ uffiċċjalment fid-9 t’Ottubru 1857 bil-għan li jilqa’ fih nies minn kull reliġjon. Madanakollu inizzjalment dal-post ħa l-fama fost il-Maltin bħala ‘Tal-Protestanti’ u ħadd mill-Kattoliċi Maltin ma ried jindifen fih.”

    Issa konna ħriġna nduru madwar iċ-ċimiterju prinċipali. Inzertat ġurnata sabiħa minn dawk li jaf jagħti biss pajjiżna u nistqarr illi li kieku ma kienx għal-lapidi, l-post aktar kien qisu xi ġnien kbir antik u sabiħ. L-għana ħlejju tal-għasafar kien qed jikser is-sikta solenni tal-post filwaqt li kien ukoll qed jostor taħtu l-ħoss tat-traffiku għaddej fil-qrib. Min jaf kemm il-darba għaddejt biswit dan il-post u qatt ma ntbaħt li hemm kien hemm lwog tant interessanti! Infatti minħabba s-siġar kbar tal-post, qatt m’għaraft li f’naħa minnhom kien hemm kappella mdaqqsa li apparti li kienet qed iżżejjen l-inħawi, kellha wkoll nisġa ħelwa ta’ storja ta’ mħabba msawwra fiha.

    “Il-kappella taċ-ċimiterju Ta’ Braxia hija partikolarment interessanti minħabba li hija l-uniku eżempju arkitettoniku tal-istil ‘High-Gothic’ f’Malta. Inbniet minn Sir Arthur Hamilton Gordon K.C.M.G li kienIl-kappella f'Ta' Braxia magħruf ukoll bħala Lord Stanmore u kien għamel żmien bħala gvernatur ta’ New Brunswick, Trinidad, Mauritius, Fiji, New Zealand u Ceylon. Il-kappella kellha tkun bħala tifkira ta’ martu Rachel Emily Hamilton Gordon li waqt li kienet fuq vjaġġ minn Ceylon lura lejn id-dar tagħha fl-Ingilterra, inħakmet minn marda qalila u kellha titniżżel hawn Malta fejn mietet fis-26 ta’ Jannar 1889 fl-età ta’ 60 sena. John Loughborough Pearson, perit magħruf ħafna f’Londra u li kien jispeċjalizza fil-bini tal-knejjes, ġie mqabbad jiddiżinja din il-kappella li fuq in-naħa ta’ wara tagħha kellha tinkorpora l-qabar tal-mara.”

    Għalkemm din il-kappella hija xempju ta’ kif mill-mewt ma jiskappa ħadd, fl-istess ħin hija tikkonferma mill-ġdid li dawn il-postijiet għandhom ħabta jfakkruk aktar fl-imħabba milli fil-mewt, jekk tiftaħ biżżejjed qalbek għalihom. L-istess kif jagħmel il-monument maestuż ta’ Olof Fredrik Gollcher, li l-bust tal-bronż tiegħu jserraħ fuq kolonna twila tal-irħam, bi xbieha mnikkta femminili tal-bronż taħtu. Daqstant ieħor l-oqbra tal-prinċpijiet u l-prinċipessi Poutiatine li għal xi żmien kienu gawdew mir-rifuġju ta’ pajjiżna; il-prinċipessa Nathalie Poutiatine li mietet fil-21 ta Jannar 1984 kienet iżżewġet lill-Malti Edgar Tabone u min jaf kemm ferrħet nies biż-żfin tagħha fit-teatri tagħna, filwaqt li finalment kienet ukoll hi li rawwmet oħrajn f’dan il-qasam meta fetħet l-ewwel skola tal-ballet klassiku f’pajjiżna.

    “Hawn minn kull xorta ta’ nies midfuna hawnhekk: maġġuri, ġenerali, suldati, isqfijiet, reverendi, negozjanti, vjaġġaturi, eċċ. Preżentement hawn madwar 5000 persuna midfuna f’dan il-post li ħafna minnhom għandhom storja interessanti bħal Grabiel Vassalli li kien it-tifel il-kbir ta’ Mikiel Anton Vassalli, Lord Moynihan li kien missier it-tabib ta’ Churchill u Mary Olga Katherine Mills li kienet waħda mill-pijunieri tal-fidi Bahá’í. Nistgħu ngħidu li żewġ terzi minn dan iċ-ċimiterju huwa storiku filwaqt li l-bqija għadu jintuża sal-llum.”

    Infatti huma għarrfuni li hemm lista twila ta’ nies, saħansitra Maltin, li llum jixtiequ jindifnu f’dan il-lwog. Madanakollu bħalissa m’hemmx aktar oqbra ġodda għalkemm qedPassaġġi wiesgħa li jistgħu jilqgħu aktar oqbra isiru xi diskussjonijiet mal-gvern dwar dan il-qasam. Huma wrewni l-passaġġi wiesgħa li huwa mogħni bihom iċ-ċimiterju li għalkemm fil-preżent qed isebbħu l-post, parti minnhom tista’ sservi bħala spazju għal oqbra ġodda. L-art taċ-ċimiterju hija tal-gvern għalkemm l-oqbra huma privati u s-sidien għandhom id-dritt li jidfnu l-familjari tagħhom hemm. Matul it-triq Charles u Alexander bdew juruni s-sinjali tal-ħsara li ħalliet warajha t-tieni gwerra dinjija.

    “Dal-post intlaqat diversi drabi mill-bombi li twaqqgħu fuq il-pajjiż. Ħafna mil-lapidi nkinsu mal-art bil-blast tagħhom filwaqt li oħrajn tqattgħu bis-shrapnel tal-bombi. Ammont konsiderevoli minn din il-ħsara ġiet irrestawrata lura imma kif qed tara, għad hemm ħafna aktar x’isir.”

    Peress li dan iċ-ċimiterju kien għamel żmien mitluq, il-kundizzjoni tiegħu kienet tbikkik u mhux darba u tnejn li ġew xi barranin biex iżuru l-antenati tagħhom u tkażaw bis-sitwazzjoni li kien jinsab fih. Finalment fl-2001 ġiet imwaqqfa l-Assoċjazzjoni ‘The Friends of Ta’ Braxia’ li tifforma parti mill-NGO Din L-Art Ħelwa. Il-President ta’ din l-Assoċjazzjoni huwa l-imħallef Maurice Caruana Curran li huwa wkoll il-president fundatur ta’ Din L-Art Ħelwa.

    “B’kollaborazzjoni ma’ Din L-Art Ħelwa u mad-Dipartiment tas-Saħħa sar ftehim biex jinħarġu fondi sabiex jiġi restawrat dan il-post. Permezz ta’ xi voluntiera minn Din L-Art Ħelwa u anki ta’ xi individwi oħra u bl-għajnuna ta’ xi benefatturi bħall-familja Gollcher, inbeda x-xogħol biex jitnaddaf il-post u biex tiġi rranġata ċertu ħsara strutturali u arkitettonika, kemm minħabba t-tkissir li ħalliet warajha l-gwerra u li kienet baqgħet ma ġiet irranġata qatt u anki d-danni kkaġunati mill-mogħdija taż-żmien. Illum, għaxar snin wara, daċ-ċimiterju jinsab f’qagħda ħafna aħjar milli sibnih fejn fosthom installajna wkoll is-sistemi tal-ilma u d-dawl u xi servizzi oħra li jistgħu jinqdew bihom dawk li jiġu jżuru l-post. Imma l-kobor tal-post jirrikjedi ħafna fondi għaż-żamma tiegħu u għall-bqija tax-xogħol li għad fadal isir fih. Il-membri tal-Assoċjazzjoni jħallsu miżata ċkejkna biex jgħinu f’dan u uħud minnhom jinġabru magħna kull nhar t’Erbgħa biex naraw x’għandu bżonn isir u nagħmlu xi manutenzjoni fiċ-ċimiterju. Nixtiequ ħafna li kellna aktar fondi u voluntiera biex inwettqu dak kollu li hemm bżonn!

    Ma rridux ninsew insemmu lil individwi bħal-Maġġur Anthony Camilleri li huwa d-direttur u t-teżorier tal-Assoċjazzjoni, għall-għajnuna u l-pariri tiegħu rigward l-aspett militari, u lil numru ta’ persuniMonumenti sbieħ f'Ta' Braxia li qed jittieklu biż-żmien oħra li għenuna biex nidentifikaw lil kull min jinsab midfun f’dan iċ-ċimiterju, tant li llum jiġu numru konsiderevoli ta’ nies biex ifittxu jekk l-antenati tagħhom jinsabux midfuna hawn. Ta’ min jgħid ukoll illi dan iċ-ċimiterju jaqa’ taħt is-superviżjoni tad-Dipartiment tas-Saħħa, filwaqt li d-dokumentazzjoni uffiċċjali tad-dfin jinżammu fl-uffiċċju taċ-ċimiterju tal-Addolorata.”

    Iżda kien għad fadal aktar x’niskopri f’dan il-post, hekk kif wara entratura ċkejkna maqtugħa f’ħajt apparti, Dr Welsh urieni ċimiterju żgħir ieħor fejn fih dari kienu jindifnu l-Lhud. Huwa għaddieli rivista bl-informazzjoni dwaru miġbura minn Alan Keighley.

    “Għal dawn l-aħħar 3000 sena kien hawn għadd ta’ Lhud joqogħdu fil-gżejjer Maltin, għalkemm teżisti ftit li xejn informazzjoni dwarhom f’dawn is-snin bikrin. Huwa mill-14-il seklu ‘l fuq li nibdew insibu xi dettalji dwar il-komunità Lhudija f’Malta. Fiż-Żmien Nofsani kien hawn numru sostanzjali ta’ Lhud f’Malta, tant li f’perjodu minnhom, madwar terz tal-popolazzjoni tal-Imdina kienet Lhudija. Fl-1492, il-Lhud sfaw imkeċċija minn Malta minħabba l-Inkwiżizzjoni Spanjola. Aktard tard, fl-era tal-Kavallieri ta’ San Ġwann, il-Lhud spiss kienu jittieħdu lsiera minħabba li kienu jitħallsu flus tajba għal-ħelsien tagħhom. Kien hawn numru ta’ ċimiterji f’Malta għal dawk il-Lhud li kienu jmutu fil-pajjiż u fl-1784 infetaħ wieħed fil-Kalkara. Meta l-Franċiżi daħlu Malta fl-1789, Napuljun ordna li l-Lhud, li ħafna minnhom sa dak iż-żmien kienu meqjusa bħala skjavi, kellhom jibdew jitqiesu bħala ugwali mal-bqija tas-soċjetà. Meta f’Settembru tal-1800 waslu l-forzi Ingliżi f’Malta, il-Lhud setgħu wkoll jipprattikaw it-twemmin tagħhom fil-beraħ.

    Jingħad li għall-ħabta tas-sena 1827, waqt li Sir Moses Montefiore, li kien sinjur kbir u filantropiku Lhudi, kien qiegħed għal btala f’Malta, il-komunità Lhudija talbitu jgħinhom biex ikollhom post ieħor fejn setgħu jindifnu peress li ċ-ċimiterji ta’ qabilhom kienu qed jintlew. Huwa tkellem mal-Gvernatur Ponsonby u dil-biċċa art żgħira f’Ta’ Braxia ġiet akkwistata u llum hija proprjetà tal-komunità Lhudija.”

    Dr Welsh qalli li meta hu u martu raw dan il-post għall-ewwel darba, lanqas biss kellhom idea x’kien. Dak iż-żmien Dr Welsh kien responsabbli mit-tim li kien qiegħed jieħuIċ-ċimiterju tal-Lhud imiss mal-ħitan ta' bini aktar riċenti ħsieb ir-restawr f’Ta’ Braxia u din il-biċċa art kienet miżgħuda bis-siġar u l-pjanti slavaġ li kienu għattew l-oqbra u l-monumenti kollha taħthom.

    “Meta l-post beda jitnaddaf għarafna li kien ċimiterju Lhudi. Għall-ewwel konna xi ftit konfużi peress li ċerti iskrizzjonijiet li kienu baqgħu leġġibbli kienu miktuba bil-lingwa Taljana filwaqt li oħrajn kienu bil-lingwa antika Ebrajka. Iżda permezz tal-għajnuna tal-istoriku militari Alan Keighley irnexxielna nidentifikaw 120 qabar u permezz tal-lapidi stajna nagħtu isem lil 56 persuna li jinsabu midfuna f’dan il-post. Madanakollu l-iskrizzjonijiet bil-lingwa antika Ebrajka għadhom qatt ma ġew tradotti għax jidher li dil-kitba tmur lura ferm.

    Sal-1880 dan iċ-ċimiterju ntela’ wkoll u għalhekk infetaħ ċimiterju ieħor għal-Lhud fil-Marsa. Jidher li biż-żmien dan il-post intesa, tant li llum ftit li xejn jiġu jżuruh filwaqt li eżatt miegħu ttella’ bini kbir li kompla jisraq mill-karattru tas-sit.

    Xorta waħda, kif qed tara, kemm dan iċ-ċimiterju tal-Lhud u anki ċ-ċimiterju prinċipali f’Ta’ Braxia, qed jinżammu fl-aħjar stat possibbli permezz tal-għajnuna imprezzabbli tal-voluntiera, li mingħajrha bla dubju, dawn il-postijiet ma jkunux daqstant miżmuma.”

    Bqajt indur għal ftit ħin ieħor waħdi fiċ-ċimiterju prinċipali sabiex nosserva, niġbed ir-ritratti u nifhem aktar dik l-informazzjoni li kont għadni kif ġbart. Fosthom, biswit xiĦajt imwaqqgħa f'Ta' Braxia lapidi tal-oqbra fuq in-naħa ta’ wara taċ-ċimiterju, innutajt parti minn ħajt imwaqqgħa li ċertament ikerraħ dal-post li jixraqlu ħafna aktar dinjità. Tgħaġġibni dil-ħelwa Malta tiegħi kemm kapaċi tissorprendini kull darba. U kważi nitnikket meta nintebaħ li tant hawn postijiet u ġrajjiet li ma nafx bihom, li ħajja waħda mhux ser isservini biżżejjed biex niskoprihom kollha! Almenu qalbi tistrieħ meta nifhem li permezz ta’ dawn l-artikli nista’ naqsam dan it-tagħrif magħkom bit-tama li nqanqal l-imħabba u l-kilba għal aktar għarfien fostkhom, b’mod speċjali fost iż-żgħażagħ tagħna li għad xi darba jkomplu warajna.

    (Nota: Dan l-artiklu ġie ppubblikat fis-27 ta’ Novembru 2011)

    2011.11.27 / no responses / Category: Torca - Perspettivi