Early this morning, at about 7.00am, the Maltese islands lost a writer, journalist, historian and broadcaster, a gentleman in the real sense of the word, a true and authentic Gozitan; and St George’s lost one of his most eminent sons! “Missier il-Ktieb Malti Modern” – Father of Maltese books; this is how one of our local websites decided to call Mr Paul Mizzi of Mdina, originally of Victoria, Gozo, who died 89 years old – today the 5th of August 2019.
Pawlu Mizzi was born in Rabat on 28 October 1929. What better day could he have been born on, considering that the day commemorates Jum Għawdex, the ‘Għawdex’ which Pawlu loved with all the love of his life. Married to Maria Scicluna (tal-Ingliża), young lady of local stock and, like himself, a Rabtija t’Għawdex, Pawlu went to live in Malta and settled in a big house in Mdina, next to the Cathedral and its Museum. His next door neighbour for a long time was another Gozitan from St George’s, the late Archbishop Mgr Ġużeppi Mercieca. Paul had a son and two daughters, two of whom were to take over his beloved Klabb Kotba Maltin. The Klabb was Pawlu’s ‘fourth child’ – it was people like Professor Oliver Friggieri who encouraged him so much to make the next step, back in the seventies, and establish Malta’s first publishing house. Klabb Kotba Maltin and Midsea Publications are both household names and even in the world of the internet, nothing replaces a good book! Even their smell is captivating and we are sure Pawlu would agree with us!
Hundreds, thousands and many more would consider themselves friends of Pawlu Mizzi. Until his health permitted him, we would all see him in Victoria for the Feast of St George. His place on the steps of the Basilica welcoming St George as his statue comes forth out of his church to be taken around the streets of the old town, will be missed by one and all. Gozo, Victoria and St George had a particular place in his heart! He was proud he being a child of this island of joy! And it was joy he radiated every time he spoke about a favourite subject of his on parish community radio Leħen il-Belt Victoria. His long interviews with Francesco Pio Attard about his historical treatise Il-Parroċċa t’Għawdex belong to a heritage of their own! They are now super precious! As are his various writings.
Dear Pawlu, may you rest in peace! May you find peace in the Undying Lands of the Tolkien lore! Gozo is the poorer without you. You have honoured us with your great sense of initiative and vision – it is now time for us to keep you alive in our memory as we say Au revoir – Arrivederci – Until we meet again…
Pawlu Mizzi’s Funeral Mass will be held this Thursday, 8 August, at 3.00pm, at St Paul’s Cathedral, Mdina. RIP.