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Ir-Realta’ banned from University

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The controversial newspaper Ir-Realta’ has been banned from University grounds. The reason given for the ban was that a short story penned by Alex Vella Gera, entitled Li Tkisser Sewwi, was considered to be offensive to women.


The controversial newspaper Ir-Realta’ has been banned from University grounds. The reason given for the ban was that a short story penned by Alex Vella Gera, entitled Li Tkisser Sewwi, was considered to be offensive to women.

The news was given to the group at an informal meeting with KSU President Carl Grech.  Mr. Grech himself was unavailable for comment.

The Realta’ Collective describe themselves as a group of free-thinking individuals, whose main objective is to publish the aforementioned newspaper. Ir-Realta’ is distributed freely in many parts of Malta, including University, stationeries and art establishments. It is banned from the Junior College.

The work in question is about a man who sees women purely as sexual objects, and who is completely clueless about love and relationships. The story is unquestionably vulgar, and contains a large amount of obscene words. However Realta’ insist that it is an ironic piece of art which has a relevant message, and is in fact against the discrimination of women.

Realta’ president Mark Camilleri said that, after they were informed of the ban, an email was sent to Rector Prof. Juanito Camilleri giving the above interpretation of the story, and requesting the ban to be lifted “for the sake of artistic freedom.” Since the email went unanswered, the group decided to issue a press release. Mr. Camilleri added that Realta’ are unsure about what to do next, and while they are mainly focused on publishing their next issue, they do not rule out a protest.

The group is convinced that the Rector did not act on his own behalf, and are certain that “Church officials and influential people in politics are pulling some strings.” They cite other examples of alleged Catholic censorship, such as the banning of the infamous play Stitching. They also liken the removal of their publication with the Burning of the Books in Nazi Germany. “The University of Malta is the pinnacle of our education system, and thus the arts should be respected…Although the Rector has a PhD, he failed to give valid reasons for the ban…He sent us a clear message that he is not the right man for the job”, Mr. Camilleri concluded.

In a statement released by the Communications Office, the University said that the content of the article was deemed to be “in breach of the Laws of Malta, and for this reason the publication was removed…The University campus falls under the responsibility of the Rector. To this effect, prior permission should always be obtained before any material is distributed within the University precinct. In this case permission was neither requested nor granted.”

Mr. Camilleri said that since the ban, Realta’ have received many messages of solidarity. Various students approached by insiteronline seemed to be against the ban. One female student, who wished to remain anonymous, said “I think banning the newspaper from campus is not the solution…It does portray females as if they were just pieces of meat for sexual satisfaction, but I think that there are men out there who are so sexually aggressive.  I think it was interesting to be able to get an insight into what goes on in a sexed up man’s brain…Anyone who gets offended can easily burn or throw away the paper, or just not read it.”

39 thoughts on “Ir-Realta’ banned from University

    Pingback: words are heavy » Blog Archive » Life on a rock: obscene, but not the book
  1. Joe says:

    Where can i read the whole article please ?! Can someone send me the link !? Thanks

  2. Marija Azzopardi says:

    @ Anonymous: Aqra ktieb tal-kittieb Irvine Welsh….

    L-ghan ta\’ Irvine Wlesh mhux li xi hadd jimmasturba ghall-kotba tieghu, imma li jibni storja madwar karattru li, minflok hu \’hero jew \’vittma\’ bhal karattri f\’kotba ohrajn, hu karattru li jisraq, li jiskarta fuq ix-xoghol, li jmur toilet pubbliku u jhallih mahmug, li jaqlibha lill-mara darba darbtejn tlieta, li jaghmel il-hajja ta\’ shabu tax-xoghol difficli, u li jara n-nisa li jahdmu mieghu bhala xejn iktar minn possibiltajiet sesswali.

    Irvine Welsh jaghmel bicca xoghol tal-genn – bl-istorja tieghu hu jipprova jurina kif jahsibha l-mohh ta\’ persuna li hi tant dizgustanti izda tant komuni fis-socjeta… tant realistika.

    Il-KARATTRU ta\’ Welsh huwa dizgustanti, izda l-ISTORJA hi tajba hafna.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Mela x\’kellu f\’mohhu l-awtur originaljament ?

  4. Franco Rizzo says:

    Meta ha nidraw nsejhulha storja u mhux artiklu…?

  5. Franco Rizzo says:

    @ il-Leli

    Kellem daqsxejn l-awtur, u ghidlu kemm dhakt taqra l-istorja tieghu.

    Taf kemm jiehu gost!
    Ghax allura ghalxejn dan qaghad
    jispjega l-punt ta\’ l-istorja lill-gazzetti.
    Biex forsi qabel ma taqbez ghal konkluzzjoni
    li kellha titnehha mill-universita\’, xi darba
    nitghallmu naghtu kaz ta\’ x\’jinghad u nitghallmu naraw u naqraw xi haga b\’mod (b\’kull rispett lejk) daqsxejn aktar matur.

  6. il-Leli says:

    Kont qed naqra din it-thread jew x\’jajdulha u ma flahtx ma niktibx xi haga hawn ghax kien qasamni bid-dahk meta qrajtu dak l-artiklu, veru king min kitbu. Mhux hekk is-sabiha, dik gbart koppja tal-gazzetta (ma kellix idea x\’fiha) u tellajta mieghi fil-klassi biex naqraha, il-profs iredden u jghid fuq systems u mhux systems u tal-gazzetta ghaddej jifqala kull m\’hemm lol. Imma ifimni naqbel li nehhewh mill-universita ghax mhux postu hemm dak l-artiklu.

  7. Franco Navarro says:

    Mela mela, il problema hi din, sa min zmien ir rumani ahna dejjem tliffnha iz-zmien tan nofs, l-iktar importanti. Ahna ghaddejna mil interdett ghal internet u id disajnijiet qbizzniehom. Jien ma nixtieqx inkun antipatku imma Gera kiteb hmerijiet madornali u dan fatt. Jista jippublika li jrid pero taht porno ghax hekk hu. Utopija tal kliem, min hadem, min jahdem u min jaghmilha man nies qabel jew waqt l-istudju dawn l-affarijiet jafhom. Min jinterresa ruhu fil laurea biss qisu ghandu hanut zghir u l-importanti ghalieh hu li dejjem jaqbel mal float, izda mhux li jikber fil kummerc u jghix tajjeb. Ti volglio bene Berlinguer, dik isppirazzjoni tabja, arah.

  8. Cheezy Wheezy says:

    Hmm…ghandek ragun. Ifhem, anka billi qed naghmlu fuss (ghalxejn, skond int), dawk li jaghmlu fuss huma l-minoranza. Il-maggoranza assoluta ma jimpurtahomx, u just iridu jitilqu mill Uni b\’degree, u daqshekk, sfortunatament.

  9. Franco Navarro says:

    Mela mela, tini ftit cans siehbi. Meta int tghid ma ghandiex nigu iccensurati ghandek ragun. Hawn Malta ma hawnx censura vera u propja, ahna ghandha klassifikazjoni. Jien ma nistax nifhem ghalfejn tridu tissielthu kontra dan it tip ta neppotizmu sfrenat bl\’argument ta Mr. Vella Gera? Dan it tip ta nepotizmu jinstab fl-universita fost, u min l-istudenti, dan jiggiefieri qabel tbiddel, jew tohhodha kontra is-sistema barra l-Universita, provaw bidlu l-Universita l-ewwel. Imma b\’argument lejali, intelligenti, u fuq kollox mhux baxx. Jien ghamiltha ma nies bhal personagg ta Vella Gera, u ghalhekk dhalt nistudja. Dawk in-nies mhumiex hekk, huma hafna gharr. Dawk Haxxejja, wise, prattici u jekk itihom ftit imexxuk min imniehrek. Mela l-argument ta Gera huwa zballjatt, ghaldaqstant le protesta, le Arti, le ammirazjoni u le mhux opportunita biex tidefendi id dritt sakro sant tal liberta ta esspressjoni. Please, harsu lejn il kbar, mhux lejn ix xejn, naf x\’jien nghid.

  10. Cheezy Wheezy says:

    Sa certu punt naqbel mieghek. Il-kaz innifsu, meta tiehdu wahdu, huwa insinjifikanti. Vera, l-istorja mhijiex mhix xi kitba fantastika, imma l-punt hu li ahna l-istudenti mhux qed nithallu naghmlu decizjoni. Haddiehor qed jaghmel id-decizjoni ghalina, u din tghodd ghall-kazijiet l-ohra kollha ta\’ censura li kien hawn dan l-ahhar.

  11. Franco Navarro says:

    mela mela, nixtieq nghid xi haga ohra. Ghalfejn f\’dan il-pajjiz hadt, jew ftit, huma in-nies, specjalment l-istudenti, li minflokk joqodu jiktbu u jidenfendu ic-cucati ma jaqbdhux u jdurru kif suppost kontra is-sistema imnellha ta dan il-pajjiz. Forsi ghax dawn ta l-ahhar huma parti min din is-sistema u jibzaw li jitilfhu xi kuntatt prezjuz? facli hafna meta il genituri, jew ahjar il-Gvern ihallsek talli tistudja. F\’gieh il qaddisien, u mela il hmieg ta Vella Gera, li fuq kollox hadt ma jaf minnhu?

  12. Franco Navarro says:

    Mela mela, sewwa wisq, meta wiehed ma jkunx capaci u intelligenti ma ghandux ghalfejn jipprova jimprovizza. Dan ghaliex, meta tmiss argumenti bhal dawn, jew ma ghandekx xi tghid, jew tixtieq tghid xi haga ohra, imma ma ghandekx il kuragg. Ghaldaqstant, min kiteb hu injurant, u ara ma jfettillux jisejjah Artista, u min ippublika sempliciment mhux serju.

  13. Robz says:

    It is quite rare that real censorship is about \’vulgar words\’ etc.

    Without doubt, the story was not sexist, it\’s a parody of sexism. I know some people the collective and over their dead bodies would they publish a sexist article, prose or whatever.

    In my modest opinion, the reason for censorship is one of these, or both:
    1) We, as a society don\’t want to admit that people like the fictituous character in the story exists
    2) Realta\’s collective are hardliners against malpratice such as corruption, racism and worker exploitation. What they say, irrespective of Vella Gera\’s story, seems to raise a couple of eyebrows who would like the malpractices to go on unnoticed

  14. Tamy says:

    So this was called ART ?

    Somebody should explain to Alex Vella Gera the difference between ART and BAD TASTE.

  15. Bob says:

    Why must there be brainwashing and hate everywhere in this country?
    And why must the (supposed) smartest people in the country defend the brainwashing?

    So what Vella Gera wrote about a man who likes to sniff shit.. Jeez If you don\’t like it , don\’t read it, I can\’t see whats all the fuss about its not like il-realta is everywhere.
    It was this once Obscure piece of leftist crap left outside the canteen and now its on everybodies Must Read list . I read the piece off of somebodies site and I didn\’t like it, hence I\’ve lost all interest in ir-Realta (plus I\’m not a leftist).

    A 12 year old can go into any book shop and buy a feisty and hot romance novel (no parental guidance), but we university students (18 years old +) need to have the Chaplains and Rectors permission to read something rather then decide for ourselves whats we should or shouldn\’t read.

    I really don\’t give a damn if its art or not (its not the point \’tards), but I am going to make that decision for myself and no 2 digit IQ chaplain will make that decision for me and no Borza ta\’ San Martin is going to change my mind. I can give many reasonings on why it can be considered art.
    Its means many things to different people and invokes a lot of emotions such as disgust. Not all art forms are nice, so deal with it and there is a very easy way to (By not looking at it).

    My point is: If you don\’t like something don\’t read it, but don\’t support people who impose their bullshit on others by banning everything they do not like. One day these Religious people might not like the way you are acting and throw you in jail, bil-borziet ta\’ San Martin, b\’kollox.

    Any student who is in favor of the ban is a Donkey and deserves to spend the rest of his/her days on a farm eating carrots.

  16. sarah says:

    the article or story was an insult to any educational institution. this is not about freedom of speech or artistic expression, this is just downright wrong. and im not conservative or liberal, im just a normal person

  17. Luke J. Said says:

    I must agree with Shaun. After hearing about the ban I started looking the article up out of plain curiosity. I saw a picture that displayed some of the article.

    After my soul stopped vomiting. I reflected upon the the ban. I think this is just going to cause another Liberal – Conservative war much like the condom machine issue. It\’s not about the article, or the continuous swearing or blasphemy, or the portraying of females as sexual objects. Its about the conservative people exerting their power, and the liberal people fighting it. This is really growing old.

    I think the use of harsh swear words degrades an article, rather than giving it a touch of artistic value. Though you know what gives very good artistic value to an article?

    Banning it.

  18. Our Lady of the Flowers says:

    oh please. more propaganda for a tawdry little story not worth the paper it\’s printed on. this is the tragedy of malta… every crusade is fought over crap.

    mediocre actors in bad plays, semi-illiterate writers for shitty papers, ignorant artists and their passe installations….. it\’s simply too TOO.

    get a soap box and scream your lungs out in the campus quad if it\’ll make you feel any better. but fundamentally, nobody gives a shit. why? because it really isn\’t worth it.

    life\’s too short to waste on bad art. and if you\’re stupid enough to \’defend to the death\’ somebody\’s right to make a fool of themselves just because making a fool of yourself has become a glorified human right… well, here\’s hoping there\’s another war soon. because you people will make excellent cannon fodder :D

  19. El Pollo Loco says:

    Realta must be loving all this free publicity…

  20. Serp says:

    this is unbelievable. just let them write if you don\’t like it throw it away

  21. king arthur says:

    @arse about face:

    If you punch me in the face I\’ll take you to court and you pay me a fine.

    So best not to punch me in the face and take me to court instead for libel. Then not only do I pay YOU a fine, but I have to apologise publicly on the same publication where I insulted you.

    My point is: We\’ve got laws in place for this kind of thing…. this is nothing new. Banning the written word is not the way to go about it.

  22. Arse about face says:

    @ King Arthur:
    I do not agree with a word that you say, but I will defend to death your right to say it. ……but if you insult me don\’t blaim me if I punch you in the face.
    You asked for it.

  23. king arthur! says:

    Dearest subjects, I am shocked at some (not all) of the comments here. It seems we take our rights so much for granted that we have forgotten how precious they are.

    Before freedom of expression and freedom of thought were made into law, people were imprisoned and, yes, burnt at the stake for what they authored.

    Even the first person to translate the Bible from Latin to English was burnt at the stake!

    Come on, let us defend the good things about being alive in 2009!

    “I do not agree with a word that you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it”.

  24. Anonymous says:

    So from now on are Guze Stagno books to be banned from the university library? ??

  25. Harry Potter says:

    It is illegal though…

  26. Queen Elizabeth says:

    Uni has a moderate publication: Insiter.

    Uni has a mediocre publication: Stream.

    Uni has a recalcitrant publication: Realta.

    None of them should be banned. Whoever came up with this stupid idea?

    Rector we demand answers! Why didn\’t you answer Maltatoday\’s questions? Why the wall of silence?

  27. Anonymous says:

    Despite the controversial subject matter, in my opinion the piece is quite well-written, so as such it\’s not \”bad\”.

    I find it ridiculous how the administration seeks to shield us from such literature like some protective mother covering her son\’s eyes when a naked woman appears on TV.

    If we are ever to promote free thought and speech in our university (which happens to be the entire point of the institution), then THIS is not the way to go about it. Kudos to Realta\’ for bringing this point to the limelight.

  28. Jonathan Agius says:

    Jien propjament ma nafx xkien l-iskop ta\’ dik l-istorja. Probabli biex izzid il-popolarita\’ ta\’ gurnal b\’4 karti.

  29. Lara says:

    On Dissett the rector had said of the condom machine: \’Ultimately, what happens in Students’ House, as long as it is not illegal and as long as no one is forcing anyone or imposing his morality on others, is up to the student bodies to continue debating as they are doing today and to decide for themselves.\’

    Why not the same for Realta? I don\’t think the Rector should ban anything unless it\’s illegal… our laws cover us if we feel discriminated against no?

  30. defibrillator says:

    @ peter: Of course you\’re absolutely right – some \’art\’ is plain horrid and undeserving of the name \’art\’,.

    But banning anything for being in bad taste leaves a bad taste in my mouth too. The Rector is not the guardian of good taste in our University – the readers can guard their own sensitivities by not reading the paper and by bad mouthing it if they want.

  31. Peter Zammit says:

    Can someone enlighten me how we classify the artistic values of a piece of \’supposed\’ art.?
    Can the use of all imaginable expletives be ever accepted under the guise of something artistic.?

  32. Cheezy Wheezy says:

    M Borg,

    I think the comparison to Auschwitz is a bit over the top, but still, I think you have a point about the connection between the behaviour towards both Graffitti and Realta\’

    On the other hand, I don\’t think Realta\’ were as well known before as they are now. No publicity is bad publicity after all

  33. M Borg says:

    First Graffitti, now Realta…

    Is \’ethnic cleansing\’ taking place at uni?

  34. Philip Leone-Ganado says:

    Freedom of expression means just that, unfortunately. I personally fail to see any artistic value in the story in question, but you can\’t ban something for being bad.

  35. Jean-claude Dinech says:

    well, another casing example of utomost incomprehensive approach, first we need to discuss and review ask for opinion seek the WHY and then remark

  36. kumbaja says:

    To me what we think and feel about this article is irrelevant to the publication of whichever paper. This is what constitutes freedom of expression in its basic form. that one can say whatever he wants even if everyone is against his opinion.

    The action of the Rector simply confirms what forces put him in the position he is now and that he is not able to act freely in his position. The need to request permission with each issue is a ridiculous statement.. Makes me wonder from all the publications which get a request with each issue.

  37. m\'hemmx tama ghal dan il-pajj says:

    !!! this is ridiculous

  38. Shaun Abdilla says:

    I think one would have learnt by now that banning something makes it \”forbidden\” hence \”more desirable\”..

    But anyway, I think that despite being very blunt, \”Li Tkisser Sewwi\” did in fact have a very solid intention and showed the disgusting way some men view women ( or the way some women view men). Banning it will only make it worse, people will start looking for it just to laugh at the offensive vocabulary.

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