Home The writing on the wall

    The writing on the wall

    2 minuti qari

    One of my favourite passages from Terry Pratchett’s “Equal Rites” is his description of a small village, the name of which I will not mention for censorship reasons. “It was, in fact, one of those places that exist merely so that people can have come from them. The universe is littered with them: hidden villages, windswept little towns under wide skies, isolated cabins on chilly mountains, whose only mark on history is to be the incredibly ordinary place where something extraordinary started to happen. Often there is no more than a little plaque to reveal that, against all gynaecological probability, someone very famous was born halfway up a wall.
    Malta has its fair share of such plaques, proclaiming that so and so was “born here”, such as the one affixed to Moynihan House in St George’s Bay. It records the birth of Berkeley George Andrew Moynihan, son of Captain Andrew Moynihan VC who was posted to Malta in the 1860’s and was the musketry instructor for the Island.
    Last week, the Planning Authority approved the demolition of Moynihan House, a moot decision, but one I will not dwell on. What baffled me most is the condition imposed on the developer that “prior to the commencement of any works on site, a Works Method Statement (WMS) including a monitoring programme detailing the salvaging operation from detachment to re-installation of the Moynihan Plaque shall be approved by the Planning Authority.
    The logic behind this decision is well beyond comprehension. We seem to have become completely immune to the wholesale destruction of buildings, yet we feel compelled to ensure that we preserve, at all costs, something as irrelevant as a plaque. Irrelevant, now, because its only relevance derives from the building it is presently attached to. Irrelevant, because I cannot fathom what use it will serve to any visitor of the multi-storey mixed use commercial development that will replace Moynihan’s birthplace to know that, in 1865 a baby was born halfway up a wall that is no longer there!
    Il-Perit Simone Vella Lenicker hi Perit u Attivista favur l-Ambjent