The Malta Independent 13 December 2019, Friday

Those who do not deserve this

Charles Flores Sunday, 1 December 2019, 10:14 Last update: about 11 days ago

The burning issue concerning the brutal murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia has, for the past two years, taken a two-headed route – one rightly and overwhelmingly pointing for justice to be made, come what may, and the other, inevitable and politically sacrosanct, for the resignation of people in power who, if proven to have been even remotely connected, still cannot be judged and sentenced before investigations are completed. This week’s resignations, not necessarily connected with the assassination, however, will have no doubt helped pave the way for a clearer vision of the current situation.

It is what genuine Labourites of all ages everywhere demand in a state of affairs that has rendered them so helpless that they feel traumatized. They have not gone through decades of toil, loyalty and perseverence for this. They certainly do not deserve to be dumped into the scum bag of history at a time when, over the past six years, they have seen their dedication and support transformed into unprecedented economic success.

The same goes for those thousands of swingers, ex-PN voters and exponents, who risked, and many of them actually experienced as a result, social isolation and bitter hatred because of their decision to help create and bolster the conquering movement that has grown around the Labour Party. That they should find themselves in this moral and political predicament is both shocking and unfair. Like traditional Labourites who warmly welcomed them and who have withstood the wear and tear of  the Maltese political fabric in the name of freedom, justice and democracy, they are caught in a state where this swirling black hole keeps rushing towards them and threatening to consume them.

It has to be said that the nation is currently playing hide-and-seek with reality, the truth that one has to face, whichever way things go in the current sad situation. Delicate it may be, but bruising still whichever way you look at it.

Of course we have many with their own views as to how things should have been handled or what is to be done, many who purport to know the facts, and many still who feel free to declare things, accuse people, judge them and sentence them in one tight breath. The problem is the real institutions, made up of real professionals assisted by other real professionals from overseas, have to cope with all the political tinkering that is going on.

This is not the eternal egg-or-chicken conundrum over which of them came first. There is no doubt as to whether or not one should first see that justice is done and Daphne finally left to rest in peace before seeking to evaluate what political extraction can be made, if any and if justified. Sadly, from what we have seen so far, there is this minority of people who have decided it was the chicken that came first...or was it the egg? There is no such philosophical choice. Justice is indeed the first thing that should be, as it has been, addressed and it is a credit to all those nameless professionals who have come up with access to so many legal avenues within just two years. The institutions are working because, this time, they have been wisely left free to do so.

Not so, alas, in the case of two previous horrible murders – Karen Grech and Raymond Caruana, not forefront journalists but innocent victims still – over which we are still without even a proper hint of justice. No perpetrators, no so-called middlemen, no instigators (the Italian term mandanti serves one better), just unrestrained pain for their families and unceasing suspicions for decades during which different administrations ran these islands. Not only have they been denied closure, but even deserved annual tributes to them over the many years that have passed since, have been sadly assigned to party political machines. How more unfair can we be with innocent victims of political violence? We cannot cherish today’s partial – thus far – accomplishment while overlooking yesteryear’s still pending failures.

But to go back to Daphne’s case, many also seem to be overlooking the fact that whatever the professionals dig up and present to us as a society will still need to do its long-and-winding run in Court. The tendency to let passion and bias, in whichever way one’s political pendulum sways, to bluntly and succinctly condemn those eventually facing the justice system will only lead to more division, create more unnecessary tension and serve as more of a barrier to justice than actually seeing it done.

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BUSH-GORBACHEV SUMMIT

I will always remember the event of the Bush-Gorbachev Summit in Malta, just a few weeks after the fall of the Berlin Wall, for an amusing Maltese bread anecdote rather than its undoubted contribution to world peace and the end of the Cold War, now of course being resurrected by the right-wing clowns ruling most of Western Europe.

I can’t believe it’s already thirty years since the leaders of the two then super powers came over on a wild winter day when gale force umpteen was rocking the island and threatening to blow it away altogether, to discuss the future of the world. We had all been hoping the occasion would take place under a blistering Maltese sun for the Island to get as much exposure as a holiday destination as possible courtesy of the hundreds of international media covering the event.

While all deliberation was taking place as to whether to hold the talks on terra firma or on board ship, as it was eventually decided, the foreign newsmen were seeking comments and glimpses of the rest of the island for them to fill the opaque hours of transmission. I was among a nap hand of local journalists contacted by CBS to give my modest thoughts on the drama unfolding against the Shakespearean background provided by the elements.

Bob Simon, an award-winning newsman who only two years later was to spend 40 days as Iraq’s hostage during the Gulf War (he tragically died in a 2015 traffic accident in New York), wanted us to have the interview very early in the morning at Mdina.

Though not much of an early bird, I still vividly recall the bread-seller and his donkey demurely entering the old city with that day’s load for its still-sleeping residents and the Americans immediately wanting to know what he was selling at that unearthly hour. The fresh Maltese bread smelled like nothing as beautiful in the world. I put in my small contribution to the nation by insisting it is arguably the best bread in the world. The TV crew, who obviously had had no breakfast, fell upon the poor seller like hungry wolves, devouring most of his day’s payload!

In the meantime, George H.W. Bush and Mikhail Gorbachev went on the with business of saving, at least temporarily, the world from extinction...

 

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