Letters: 27th July 2014

The missing stone of City Gate

The main entrance to our capital, Valletta, can be compared to the central entry into our prehistoric temples.

Entering the temples was like going through a portal. The focal entrance to a temple was composed of two pillars and a lintel; the left-hand pillar represented the north polarity and stood for the establishment, while the right pillar signified the south polarity and strength. A lintel or a trilithon united these two energies, symbolising stability.

These were the attributes that sustained the society of the temple builders, as they knew the importance of the act of entering a sacred place. There cannot be a real entering to the sacred site without these three principal components in its structure.

One can feel the difference when one enters a temple that has a trilithon and one without. One notices and senses that it’s not whole as something important and essential to the whole is missing.

And that is precisely what is missing from the new entrance to our capital city; the absent trilithon that unites and gives meaning to the significance and the purpose of entering the City.

It is similar to the Great Pyramid of Giza with its capstone missing, which means that the pyramid is an ‘imperfect’ structure. Even with the recent scaffolding, the entrance has a more united element.

The Fifth City Gate designed by the world-renowned architect Renzo Piano can be an engineering masterpiece by the architect but it lacks the right energies to bring together this beautiful and unique city.

The entrance stands out for the extensive use of Maltese hard stone, most of which came from a Gozo quarry. Stone: that is the beauty of our city and our temples. Stone is alive; it is a living body with its own sentient light.

The temple builders used limestone for their construction because of its special ‘crystalline properties,’ which are those of resonance, rhythm, vibration, balance and equilibrium. And so the old city builders used limestone in all their structures. It stands on its own with no need of steel and concrete.

Yet our modern builders and architects cannot understand that stone does not dance with steel or sheets of metal. Look at what we modern Maltese are capable of building next to a prehistoric site: Hagar Qim Visitors’ Centre and Ggantija Visitors’ Centre made with steel and concrete, two dead materials.

The temple builders have taken more pride in designing something that would be consonant with nature and they built structures to enhance and not mar the beauty of the surrounding environment.

We seem to have somehow forgotten the beauty and meaning of form. Nature itself creates such beautiful forms and shapes, and we ourselves need to be in tune with the laws of nature and understand and utilise the vibrational element of stone as well.

Francis Xavier Aloisio, Sliema

Statehood comes with responsibilities

If the Afghan people were to democratically elect the Taliban, or the Iraqis the ISIS, the Western world would abandon them to the sorry fate that they would have chosen for themselves and certainly not give them money or any moral support.

So why is it different for the Palestinians? Hamas, which has shown in recent days its sheer disregard for the lives of the people that they are responsible for, did not come to power in a vacuum. Hamas, whose very raison d’être is anti-peace, anti-Jewish and dedicated to the destruction of Israel, was democratically elected by the Palestinian people. 

It is time for the international community to recognise this fact and make the message clear to the Palestinian people; that while they support a Palestinian state, statehood comes with responsibilities. The last thing the world needs is another terrorist state.

Michelle Moshelian, Givatayim, Israel

The futility of prayer

I am extremely distressed to read John Guillaumier’s letter to this paper (‘The futility of prayer, 20 July, 2014).

Of all the places in the world, surely Malta must be one of those countries which has a history riddled with instances where prayer was instrumental in saving the nation. The 8 September is one such day, still a public holiday, to commemorate the Turks’ flight from the island on that day in 1565. Prayer to Our Lady must have worked!

Also 15 August, the feast of the Assumption, reminds us of the arrival of the tanker Ohio at a time in the second world war in 1942 when Malta was nearly on its knees. Just another coincidence, perhaps?

I have no doubt that every family in Malta has a story to tell about prayer and how petitions to Our Lord God, the Most High, have helped in particular instances where there was a family calamity of some sort or other. My family certainly has many instances where God’s hand has clearly been seen to help out where all else failed.

Who are we to say that “God has not responded to the prayers for peace”? God is a supreme being, the creator of our universe, from whom nothing but good can emanate. We cannot therefore expect God to wave his magic wand at our beck and call of petitionary prayers. It is in His time and at His convenience. Also God is a source of peace, the fountain of all that is good. He certainly does not wage war. It is our free will and our own choice that leads us into routes of disaster.

I remember when we were young the whole island prayed every day for the conversion from communism, then depicted as the great bear on the other side of the Iron Curtain. It was through the ‘unlikely’ efforts of a Polish pope - now St John Paul II - and Mikhail Gorbachev that the Berlin Wall was brought down and the cold war brought to an end. Certainly not through sword and strife. No man-made division of countries, no violence, no rocket fire or crashing of planes, no terrorist act, no bombarding of towns and cities was needed for this peaceful effort to succeed.

It was prayer and the will of God.

The bible says that when Jesus Christ lived among us, He always prayed to the Father every time He was about to perform a healing, also He used to find a quiet place every morning to dedicate some time to prayer. So much so that when asked by His apostles to teach us how to pray He left us a prayer still known to this day - the Our Father.

So how is it that suddenly prayer is a useless tool, a waste of time? Prayer is a way of communicating with the Father (provided we believe He exists) – a silent method of reaching the Most High.

Let me end with a quotation attributed to Einstein. “I would rather live as if there was a God and then find there isn’t one, than live as if there is no God and then find that there was one after all”. 

Neville Curmi, San Gwann

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