The Malta Independent 13 November 2019, Wednesday

Let’s murder our conscience

Victor Calleja Wednesday, 16 October 2019, 10:19 Last update: about 27 days ago

Whatever we say, whatever we do, whatever justice is served, nothing can ever guide us back to what we were before they silenced Daphne, the day they executed a woman, a journalist, a mother, a friend.

None of our writing, speaking, clamouring for change, protesting, will erase the horror. Nothing done, nothing said, will ever bring back her mighty pen.

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The sad majority of us think they are better off without Daphne Caruana Galizia, scourge of whoever did wrong, scourge of any faux pas she ever got a whiff of. Yes: let me repeat that. They think they are better off without Daphne, without her words of censure. Not just for a few but for the big majority of people in Malta Daphne’s silencing was a reprieve.

The day she died the best time for Malta – l-aqwa żmien –peaked. Hidden were all our warts, all our guilt, all our hollowness. When the bomb blasted our national conscience into silence, gone was the crusade she started and kept up alone, a crusade against all known, unknown and unknowable wrongdoings.

She changed the course of how many of us look at life. They look, see the wrong, then move on. They nod knowingly at the perpetrators and forget. They did it before she arrived on the scene and they can do it now even more brazenly.

While she was alive they could not do it. Because she prodded where few dare to prod. She went in regardless of the consequences. She uprooted all that was hidden deep in our soul and never stood still.

Even if the world trembled and shook and she was threatened by the mighty, both here and abroad, she went on pointing out wrong, the unworthy, the paths of crime. The more Daphne uncovered, the more the crooks were threatened.

Some of us listened mesmerised. We read her words. But we did nothing. Just let her conscience go on – alone, unaided and undefended –then when she was gone most breathed inwardly and went back freely to their old lives.

They felt that, now she was no more, our national conscience was silenced, killed, buried.

They are now rid of a noose that was too rigid, too strong, too pervasive. The prime minister and his followers, the leader of the opposition, the developers, the heritage destroyers, all can carry on despoiling the country. The horrors can go on, the lies can be perpetuated. All can now be swept tidily – even if grossly – under the carpet of our national shame. Conscience be damned – we want to filch as much as we can with no one to hold us to account.

A world without a conscience suits us perfectly and we can go on living, not in hope but in eternal amnesia, where we turn everything upside down and believe all the untruths that suit us, where our villains are our heroes. Isn’t the silencing of a conscience totally, and irrevocably, positive?

That is why the majority of us do not care that Daphne is no more. That is why, instead of a nation protesting about how she was treated, murdered and vilified even after her assassination, hardly anyone speaks up.

Daphne was a commodity – a truth-seeker – who stood in the way of our progress. Of our outwardly clean appearance while deep down we are blacker than sin.

For that she was killed a million times before the car bomb exploded and a million times more after her execution. But, like a conscience, you might silence her or not heed her but she still shines there, reminding you that if you carry on your nefarious ways you are doing wrong. Ironically even silenced she is a strong voice in the wilderness.

May we have an army of Daphnes and a whole new era where her ways – and her conscience –come back to keep us in check.

An era where we care about a conscience before it is too late for this god-forsaken value-deprived land.

 

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