Foreign Minister Evarist Bartolo this morning paid tribute to a close friend who died with Covid-19.
In a post on Facebook, Bartolo recalls the day when a common friend of the two had informed him that “Victor Fenech is in hospital with Covid”.
It was 9 November, Bartolo wrote. Days passed with more exchanges of messages until, this morning “when I switched on the mobile phone I knew that I was going to find the words I did – Good morning Varist. Victor has died”.
“When someone close dies, the statistics about infections and deaths with Covid do not remain numbers and distant,” the minister wrote.
He recalled memories that the two spent together. “In the last 28 years we went together all over Mellieha, rain or shine, for me to meet a family who wanted to speak to me,” Bartolo said.
There were then simple memories of a fenkata in a field at Ghadira, or a plate of hobz biz-zejt and a glass of beer or whiskey (well, actually, “more than one glass”).
We used to meet in three places: his home, at the Imperial club or walking from house to house – and then “he used to wait outside” while I met the family, Bartolo added.
We shared our political victories and defeats, but he never abused our friendship.
“I have known him for 50 years, since the time I was still studying and had gone to work at the Ramla Bay Hotel, taking care of the private beach and opening deckchairs,” the minister wrote.
Il-jum it-tajjeb. Kont naf li xhin se nixghel il-mobile fil-ghodu se nsib il-kliem li sibt: “Bongu Varist. Victor…