Well done, Frank – may more do the same

Published: March 18, 2011 at 8:18pm

What follows is a letter from Dr Frank Portelli to the President of Malta, asking that his name be removed from the Maltese honours list as long as Muammar Gaddafi’s name remains there.


Your Excellency,

Further to my letter of the 22nd February 2011 I have become even more convinced that Muammar Gaddafi’s recent actions have brought our honours system into disrepute.

Malta rightly honours individuals who demonstrate “exceptional merit in the service of Malta or ofHumanity”.

Muammar Gaddafi has been condemned by the Arab League, by the United Nations, and by a unanimous resolution of the Security Council which has also referred Gaddafi to the International Court of Justice for crimes against the people of Libya.

Gaddafi’s actions cannot in any way be interpreted as being “exceptional merit in the service of Humanity”.

I, myself, am the proud recipient of the National Commemorative Medal of Malta marking the 75thAnniversary of the Re-introduction of Self-Government, which medal was conferred on the 7th June 1996.

I now wish to register a sign of personal protest against the atrocities being performed by Muammar Gaddafi against humanity in general, and against the Libyan people in particular.

I firmly believe that the Libyan people are being massacred because they dare claim their rightful aspirations.

I wish therefore to request you, as the head of the Maltese Orders, to remove my name from the list of Maltese Honours until such time as Muammar Gaddafi’s name is removed from the Malta’s list of Honours.

I would be grateful if the reason for my request be published on all documentation relating to the system of honours.

Mr President, assuring you of my allegiance to you and to my country,

Yours sincerely,

Dr Frank Portelli MD FRCS(Ed)

22 Comments Comment

  1. Stefan Vella says:

    Dr Portelli, you have earned my respect. I hope others will emulate your gesture.

  2. yor says:

    Dr Portelli you are a true gentleman and a PATRIOT. Could our now well-paid members of parliment get off their backsides and do their duty also. Or does neutrality also have a say here.

  3. A. Charles says:

    Congratulations, Frank, on this initiative. I hope the other recipients of Maltese honours follow your selfless action.

  4. Harry Purdie says:

    Who doesn’t admire a guy with principles and guts? Few and far between on the rock, unfortunately. Bravo.

  5. Anthony says:

    Frank Portelli was always one to raise his head above the parapet.

  6. Loredana says:

    Malta in this instance has once more proven to have the highest possible level of self importance coupled with a perfectly “not in my back yard” spirit.

    It does not appear to me that the rest of the world is really asking Malta to do much. It sounds like a given fact that the Mediterranean bases to be used are Sigonella, Trapani and Gioa del Colle – no mention has been made of Malta, at least here in Italy.

    Instead of just zipping it and watching from a distance, Malta is happily waving its neutrality flag, clearly declaring that it has voted a UN resolution which it in fact has no intention of supporting. How pathetic!

  7. Herbie says:

    Well done, Frank. Bully for you

  8. Ragunament bis-sens says:


    Evarist Saliba
    Being a prime minister is not an easy job in the best of times, let alone in moments of crisis as we are facing now. Having said that, I would add that short of establishing a military base in Malta’s International Airport, a civil aviation airfield which provides the only airlink for Malta with the outside world – unlike other nearby military airfields more suitable for a military mission like a no fly zone, there are other means by which we could cooperate in this undertaking sanctioned by the UN Security Council. The prime minister’s statement could have reflected this. As to monitoring that a cease-fire is in operation, let us be frank. Ghaddafi has proved again and gain that he is not a person that can be trusted, and reports indicate that his forces are still attacking insurgents. Let us not offer a cover for his evil actions. The prime minister has already declared that Ghaddafi has to go. We now have to face the consequenes. Eventually, we will have to deal a leader who, we said, has to go, or new Libyan leaders whom we did not help when help was needed.

  9. Ragunament bazwi - the blabbermouth edition says:

    Bow your head to your superiors who know better than you do – comment from timesofmalta.com


    Speditu Sammut
    To those blabbering away on disregarding the neutrality and our constitution, the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition have answered you and I believe they know a little bit more than you.

  10. Bob says:

    Kulhadd irid jidher.

    I think the President, between one tea party and another, should look at the list of names and get the baddies out, both local and other names too please.

  11. Josephine says:

    Well done, Dr. Portelli. May many others follow suit.

  12. .Angus Black says:

    Dr. Dr. Portelli,

    I read your letter to his Excellency and my attention was particularly drawn to your paragraph which reads:
    “I wish therefore to request you, as the head of the Maltese Orders, to remove my name from the list of Maltese Honours until such time as Muammar Gaddafi’s name is removed from the Malta’s list of Honours”.

    You are indeed entitled to treat your decoration as you please but you surprised me when I read the phrase, ‘..until such time.. .’

    I believe that if you instruct His Excellency to remove your name, he will surely ask your gentle self to return the medal and then he will remove your name from the list. “until such time” does not apply and you will have to re-earn the medal which I would seriously doubt that a candidate would have a chance at earning the same medal twice in his or her lifetime. You cannot place a condition – the President does not treat the list of honours like one would scribble a grocery list to be altered, added or erased as the week’s menu demands.

    When someone receives an honour from the president at the advice of the prime minister of the time, he/she should take it as a bona fide recognition for whatever reason. So, by the same argument as you present, if the prime minister who awarded you the decoration is defeated and a new prime minister takes over, will you also return your medal or ask for your name be erased from the honours list because you happen not to agree with the new prime minister’s policies?

    Gaddafi was awarded two honours, one being when he personally befriended our then Prime Minister and the second when the whole world was sighing in relief that the ‘bad boy’ had rehabilitated himself and was rushing to make all kinds of deals with him.

    In my humble opinion I think that you should worry about your qualifications for receiving the honour and not how, as it turned out, another recipient is much less deserving.

    These last weeks saw the Prime Minister and his government spend endless hours coordinating direct interventions in the rescue of the multinational workforce escaping the atrocities in Libya and whether to strip Gaddafi of his two honours was probably not anywhere on the agenda.

    However disgusting Gaddafi turned out to be at the time and in between honours bestowed on him by Malta, his behaviour should not cast any shadow on the names on the Honours List.

    In this instance, you yourself have cast a shadow on the significance of the Honours List.

    Yours truly,

  13. Grezz says:

    Friday, 18th March 2011 – 19:42CET

    Updated: Second medal recipient asks to be removed from honours list


  14. TROY says:

    Well done Dr.Portelli, you are a man of honour.

  15. fred says:

    We have too many Francos, Jesmonds and Jeffreys in the PN but not enough people like Frank Portelli.

    • .Angus Black says:

      And there are too many, including Dr. Portelli and Maria Grech Ganado, who do not have an inkling about protocol and concentrate solely about getting attention when they should consider themselves honoured at receiving such recognition and not be concerned about how less deserving others may be.

      It’s none of their business at how fast or slow the less deserving ones (Gaddafi) are stripped of the honours received. It takes an act of Parliament, I believe, and at this juncture, it is not such a pressing issue.

      Whether Gaddafi hangs his Maltese medals around his neck or not will not make him any more or less powerful (or rational) than returning them or being stripped of the medals.

      [Daphne – I couldn’t agree with you less. And you couldn’t be more wrong.]

      • .Angus Black says:

        How so?

      • Corinne Vella says:

        Gaddafi’s name on the honours list debases all the others and devalues the honour itself.

        Stripping him of those honours will restore some dignity to those who deserve it, not least those who have lived and died in the hell he made for them.

  16. ciccio2011 says:

    At this point, Dr. Frank Portelli should be upgraded to the Gieh Ir-Repubblika for his gesture.

  17. You could have said that this letter appeared first on http://www.maltanewsonline.com yesterday

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