The Malta Independent 20 November 2017, Monday

TMID Editorial: #iamdaphne - A black day for Malta

Tuesday, 17 October 2017, 10:15 Last update: about 2 months ago

The killing of Daphne Caruana Galizia had been many times foretold often in the heat of controversies generated by this intrepid journalist.

Some 11 years ago an attempt was made to burn down her house when burning tyres were set against her door. Fortunately, she survived that attempt and, if anything, her writings took on a keener focus.

Now what was many times foretold, threatened, wished for by people who despised her has finally happened. There is a sort of inevitability in what happened. It makes Malta resemble all the more a Central or Latin American country where journalists are kidnapped, killed or just disappear. It makes Malta resemble also Mafia country from our neighbor Italy or Sicily.

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As the paper, the publishing house, which for many years hosted her writings and also her other non-journalistic enterprises, her magazines, we feel her loss all the more. She was a colleague sometimes a critic too. It was when she felt that just two articles a week were not enough for what she had to say, and also in a way, restrictive, that she came up with the blog, a running commentary on anything that was happening.

She was iconoclastic, caustic, pungent in her writings. No one was safe from her barbs. She kept at her post many times through the night as she investigated, wrote and also moderated the comments on her blog. For many people looking up her blog was the first thing they did each day, and the last thing too. Now there is just emptiness. A silence that speaks volumes.

Her campaigns were relentless and abrasive. She had targets, multiple ones, and whereas up till a few months ago, her targets were anything to do with the Joseph Muscat administration, in recent weeks the new PN leader Adrian Delia became the target for her invective.

Even so, however, this does not mean that her killers can be identified on this or on that side of the political divide. There is a magisterial inquiry and a vast police investigation and it is only fair to wait for the conclusion of these inquiries, even though Daphne herself would probably not expect much from them.

She was a very judgmental person. Many times, her criticism tended to be overclouded by her value judgment of the person being criticised. That led to many persons feeling they had been unfairly exposed in the public arena.

She has left behind her a huge mountain of libel cases, all high-ranking, all important. Now that she has been killed, who will ensure that justice will prevail? There must be at least some who would have been found not guilty at court. Who will now ensure these persons get their due? On the other hand, if what Daphne wrote was right, how will she be vindicated?

This murder goes beyond threats. Everyone knows that threats never worked with her. This is definitive; it has all the signs of a terrible revenge. But of course, we have to allow the investigations to be carried out. She must have stamped on some almighty toe and the victim waited until the deed was avenged.

Daphne was a journalist but one outside normal journalistic criteria. She could be, was, terribly caustic over journalistic standards. In her short time as news editor with this publishing house she was so unremitting in her demands of standards that the experiment had to be terminated. So too her command of English and the written word.

All over the social media people have been crying this was a black day for Malta. And that democracy is under threat. It was indeed a black day. But as regards the survival of democracy, that depends on each and every one of us.

As we said after the Charlie Hebdo terror attack, JesuisCharlie, so too we say today IamDaphne. Her spirit must come to inhabit each and every one of us.

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