President of Malta George Vella and Mrs Vella attended a commemorative service marking the 80th anniversary of Operation Pedestal, also known as ‘Il-Konvoj ta’ Santa Marija’.
President Vella said that the jubilation, hope, and courage injected into Maltese spirits thanks to the arrival of the much-needed supplies during the Second World War continue to be one of the most significant episodes in our most recent history. With a heavy heart, the President observed that eighty years later, other nation states continue to suffer the hardships of war and endure famine and disease. “The escalation of violence in Ukraine, the war in Yemen, the threats of famine in Somalia, the spectre of undernourishment in many countries, and the more recent political squabbles hindering the safe passage of grain towards other countries, highlight a world which has, regrettably, not changed much from the mid-20th century”, stated the President.
In his address, President Vella also noted that the advancements in the fields of armament and of armed conflict, including new ‘smart’ weapons, overshadow humanity’s learned lessons on the role of dialogue and peaceful multilateral diplomacy.
Commemorations like this one would lose their intended purpose if celebrated in isolation, continued the President. “The purpose of our gathering here today is to commemorate a historical event and to acknowledge the interdependence of domestic, regional, and international development. We also want to send a strong message on the important role of positive and active peace”, he concluded.
The commemorative service organised by the Royal Navy Association (Malta Branch), was officiated by Reverend Canon Simon Godfrey, Chancellor of St Paul’s Pro-Cathedral in Valletta, and Fr Marius Zerafa. A minute of silence was observed, and memorial wreaths were laid at sea.