Wednesday, September 5, 2012

The Case Against Karmnu (Carmelo) Psaila

 Karmnu Psaila was Maltese by birth and a British subject who 

traveled to Libya in 1921 to start and life with his wife Vittoria.  

He owned a barber shop in the shopping district of Suk el 

Turk in Tripoli.  Life was good for the fourteen years he lived 

in Tripoli until he started talking against Mussolini, 

the Italian ruler of Libya at the time.  

In the beginning of 1936, he was being observed by officers 

who later confirmed that every morning between 5:30 am to 

7, Psaila spent his time at the Café Italia, in the Piazza dell-

Orologio, reading the Italian newspapers among them the 

“Avvenire di Tripoli” and commenting unfavorably in public 

on every item of news, which had a ring of victory for the 

Fascist Italy.  Psaila, made the same comments to his clients and 

to the neighboring shopkeepers.  Psaila was in the habit of 

disparaging Italy and to make matters worse he continued to 

an increasing degree his inexplicable aversion to Italians.  Later 

having become aware that he was being watched, Psaila placed 

small notices on the mirrors of his shop requesting his clients 

not to speak of political matters.  Too little to late I suppose 

because soon after that he found himself before a special 

tribunal being accused of, in the time of war, spreading 

exaggerated and tendentious with the object of depressing the 

public spirit and engaged in activities likely to cause harm to 

the national, vilifying the Italian, making use of insulting 

expressions followed by acts of scorn.

There is no doubt in regard to his guilt.  All the witnesses were 

in the position to give evidence in detail regarding the facts.  

The fate of Psaila was made quite clear.  After 

deliberation, the Court found Psaila guilty for the crime of 

political defeatism.  He was sentenced to three years and eight 

months imprisonment.  The Court also ordered that Psaila, on 

the conclusion of his sentence, should be expelled from the 

territory of the State.  

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There are more Maltese outside the Maltese Islands than there are citizens residing in the country itself. The Maltese outside Malta are either emigrants or descendents of emigrants. The countries which have most traditionally hosted the Maltese diaspora are Australia, Canada, the U.S.A., and Britain. Nevertheless, there are Maltese living in virtually every country around the world and this blog will travel the world in hopes of bringing the Maltese back to Malta.

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