Skip to content

Nothing to see here

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin

A year after the brutal murder of Lassana Cisse in a drive-by shooting in Ħal Far committed by two former AFM soldiers, the Armed Forces of Malta (AFM) declared that an internal inquiry had found no signs of racism within its ranks.Two years after Cisse’s murder, which was ostensibly motivated by racial hatred given that neither of the shooters knew anything about the victim except his skin colour, the report remains a secret.

Julian Delia

To this day, Malta’s public does not know what questions were asked of 300 members of the AFM, nor the content of their answers; we just know the official narrative put forward by the Ministry for Home Affairs.The public was told that the soldiers interviewed denied any knowledge of racist sentiment among their colleagues, and that no affiliations with extremist groups bearing such ideologies were reported.

The problem is that, both before and after Cisse’s murder, several other authorities that have no keen, obvious interest in exonerating themselves have reported racist incidents.

In March 2021, the Council of Europe’s torture committee delegation, forced to make its way to the island after humanitarian NGOs were denied access to detention centres ‘due to COVID regulations’, decried our detention system as inhumane, arbitrary, and illegal.Problems with systemic racism extend beyond the AFM; detention centre officers have been repeatedly singled out for their cruel mistreatment of migrants who desperately land on our shores. A May report published by the office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights features interviews with asylum seekers in Malta, one of whom claimed that guards urged suicidal migrants to ‘go ahead and kill themselves’.

Malta’s government has repeatedly defended its horrifying regime of detaining and dehumanising migrants, with additional obstacles for those who manage to obtain a residency and find work. It is clear that our authorities have failed to build a humane system that prioritises lives over populism, or over hard-line stances designed to strong-arm the EU into better burden-sharing. Unless our approach changes, we risk facing a mass graveyard at the bottom of our seas.

A resolution to the migration problems faced by Malta and other EU member states requires multi-layered approaches over the course of generations. Issues directly related to systemic racism in the country need to be tackled through better social education, community outreach programs, and by de-platforming racist policies to instead promote solidarity and inclusion.

The road to resolving migration is a long one, and it begins with acknowledging that the Western world directly profits from instability in the African continent. This profiteering leads to the exploitation of natural resources as well as the displacement of migrants, who leave their country and end up boosting European economies with cheap labour. Over $41 billion in wealth is extracted from the African continent every year via tax evasion, illegal resource extraction, and questionable debt-financing practices.

In reality, there are many hidden horrors within our institutions and in the countries of origin where migrants come from that need to be seen, and there is even more to do in terms of properly inquiring as to how things have gone so wrong.The independent investigation of our army and security institutions is just the tip of the iceberg.

Further Reading

Council of Europe. (2020). Report to the Maltese Government on the visit to Malta carried out by the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT). Strasbourg: Council of Europe. Retrieved from

Martin, I. (2020). AFM inquiry finds no sign of racism in the army. Times Of Malta. Retrieved 8 June 2021, from


More to Explore

Fostering Creativity and Community: The ART Connect Project at the University of Malta Library

The Library is, in many ways, the beating heart of the University of Malta (UM). The pulse of intellectual life can be felt most profoundly amongst the quiet shelves lined with books and the many students and academics lining the Library’s work desks with their noses deep in their projects. In this sense, the Library is also symbolic of the University’s overall health and vitality, so it is important to balance serious work with serious play.

The evolution of the ART Connect Project has been a journey of dedication and transformation. Inspired by the vision of new librarians and a desire to revamp the Library’s decor, what was once a seed of an idea has now matured into a vibrant platform for artistic expression, collaboration, and community building.

The ART Connect Project aims to connect people through creativity, foster collaboration, and transform spaces, inviting artists and art enthusiasts to celebrate the power of art.

Meeting Challenges Halfway at the Malta Book Festival 2023

Malta boasts 58 registered publishing entities, hosting hundreds of authors writing books across a wide swathe of genres and formats. These numbers emerge from an NSO survey into the book industry, conducted on the basis of the year 2021. Effectively, we could say that there are ‘more authors than churches’ in Malta, with over 700 authors populating the National Book Council’s database.

This hints at a varied industry, the stakeholders of which all fall under the remit of the National Book Council, which seeks to assist, support, and represent Maltese authors and publishers, as well as related industry stakeholders such as translators and illustrators. While the Maltese context does have its own particularities, neither is it immune to the industry’s wider, global realities, a case in point being the price hike on paper caused by the war in Ukraine, which continues to be felt across the board. Maltese publishers must also bear the brunt of this unfortunate phenomenon.

The National Book Council continues to advocate for increased governmental support to aid publishers, whether in this particular challenge or others, and it also offers direct financial aid through the Malta Book Fund, which last year issued a grand total of €120,000 to various industry stakeholders, targeting projects of high cultural value which may not have a straightforward route to market success.

But while some challenges may be met halfway through financial incentives, others require a systemic — or cultural — shift in attitude from all parties involved, which takes a certain degree of workshopping to be borne out. The slow uptake of ebooks bears pondering (the NSO survey saw 146 new ebooks issued in Malta in 2021, contrasted with printed counterparts of 418 in the same year), as does the worryingly high number of authors published without adequate contracts in place.

Maximising Solar Panel Efficiency: The DustPV Project

The DustPV project, led by Prof. Ing. Joseph Micallef, aims to determine the optimal timing for cleaning solar panels using innovative sensor technology and weather data analysis. By addressing the challenges of dust accumulation on photovoltaic panels, the project seeks to enhance solar panel performance and contribute to Malta’s renewable energy goals.

Comments are closed for this article!