Min Hu l-Malti?
A Migration Project
This project was done in conjunction with MUYA (Malta UNESCO Youth Association and part funded by Agenzija Zghazagh
This project started out as a personal question into my own background and genealogical roots. I was prompted to follow this research by questions asked of me about where I am from. I was asked this both when I was abroad as well as from foreigners living in Malta and sometimes even by other Maltese while in Malta. They always replied to my answer by saying ‘But you don’t look Maltese!’. This made me look at myself critically, asking both what instigated people into believing me to be from another country and what makes a person be from one particular country and not another. Is it language, accent, looks, hairstyle, body type, clothing or the way one holds themselves; their body language, that makes a person belong to a particular country?
Malta as a small island country has always been a cultural melting pot, where various people, due to it being in the centre of ancient trade routes, have come to settle and stay over the centuries. This is reflected both in the Maltese language, its’ cultural heritage, architecture, its’ peoples’ character, and their various and sometimes opposing physical characteristics. These similarities and differences raised the question of Min hu l-Malti? - Who is the Maltese person?
Malta is still an attractive island for many people coming to settle in this country for various reasons such as work, seeking refuge and asylum, relationships, with its geographical position offering easy connection with both mainland Europe and Africa, as well as its environment and weather. According to Eurostat statistics “relative to the size of the resident population, Malta in 2015 recorded 30 immigrants per 1 000 persons” whilst “the rate of emigration from Malta in 2015 was recorded at 20 emigrants per 1 000 persons.” “In most EU Member States, the majority of non-nationals were citizens of non-member countries; the opposite was true only for Belgium, Ireland, Cyprus, Luxembourg, Hungary, Malta, the Netherlands, Slovakia and the United Kingdom”.
The fact that Malta is a bilingual country offers several possibilities both to its natives as well as to foreigners who decide to migrate and settle here. This multiculturalism weaves a fascinating spectrum of identities and ideologies, which through mutual respect and understanding towards different needs can mature into a strong and peaceful community.