Out of the Cellars. Disability, Politics and the Struggle for Change: The Maltese Experience
Introduction: providing a context Although Malta has a European culture and identity, its size, history and geographical location help make it very different from other European countries in a number of ways. These three factors inevitably impinge on the way Maltese society has evolved, including the growth and development of the disability movement. This chapter looks at the significant changes that took place in the Maltese disability sector from the late 1940s to the present day. It looks at the main agents that brought change and argues that the most significant change originated from above, that it was instigated by a small nucleus of people who struggled to bring about change by obtaining the blessing of the government of the day (or individuals who were part of that government) rather than through the establishment of a grassroots movement made up of disabled people who pushed for that change. We argue in this chapter that this happened time and again over the past six decades and that it is still happening today, although perhaps the voice of disabled people is now growing louder. Finally, the chapter conjectures about what might be the future of the disability movement in Malta given its history and present trends.