A Maltese black teenager addressed a Labour Party political activity on Monday to appeal for integration in the wake of a brutal murder of an Ivorian migrant.
Describing herself as “ethnically Ethiopian, but Maltese”, 14-year-old Thea Mizzi addressed a gathering in Ħamrun and said, in Maltese: “I came here to show you I am Maltese just like you.”
She said that she had been hurt by the cold-blooded murder of Ivorian national Lassana Cisse.
“He came to Malta for shelter, for protection. He did not come here to die,” she said, thanking Malta for having accepted her and her sister with open arms.
Thea said that while she could remember some people making fun of her when she was younger, and the times she decided not to tell her mother, not to worry her, she was proud to be Maltese.
She would still meet the odd person who would be surprised to hear a black person speak in Maltese, but she was proud of not only speaking in Maltese but of speaking the language as they do in Zebbuġ.
Taking to the podium after her, Prime Minister Joseph Muscat said Thea had sprung to mind after news had first broken of Mr Cisse’s murder.
“Thea is as Maltese as you and I,” he told the crowd.
Pressing on the need for integration, Dr Muscat said some might try to use the term to scare voters – but to him, integration was something to be proud of.
Some, he said, had advised him against raising the issue of migration in Ħamrun for fears that residents would not take it well.
Integration might not be the most popular issue, “especially in areas like this”. This is why I come here, to these types of areas to speak about this – to you,” he said.
Turning back to Mr Cisse’s murder, Dr Muscat said he hoped his life was not lost in vain.
“From this seed of hatred, a tree of hope and love can grow,” he said.
Dr Muscat said the country had an opportunity to make a difference.
Some might say, ‘but what can I do?’
“Let’s do what we Maltese do naturally - open our arms and our hearts,” he said.
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