The Malta Independent 22 October 2020, Thursday

The hand that feeds you

Rachel Borg Saturday, 17 October 2020, 08:20 Last update: about 5 days ago

The culture of hand-outs in Malta and Gozo was so strong and thriving at the time that Daphne was assassinated that she had a constant job to keep up with all the eco-system around it and she was the biggest threat to it since we joined the European Union and what should have been a civil society with rules and laws made to protect a nation and its citizens from imbalance and a concentration of power in the hands of one party, one man.


The way about it for a journalist with a clear sense of justice and truth was to become the sure voice amongst the mumblings and armchair critics.   It was not enough to gossip around a coffee or a dinner party.  Certainly not enough to make excuses because you are connected to persons, socially or in business, on whom you depend for status, favours, permits, jobs and perks.  Neither was it ok to take refuge from the harsh and intrusive commentary by showing compassion to the targets of the wide and public subjects of interest and casting doubt on the story.

By Daphne’s code of ethics, anyone who was a public figure was accountable for their actions. 

Many readers understood this and let us not forget that there were those, like Maria Efimova and also ordinary public officers or clerks who took great personal risk to collaborate with the exposure of corruption and poor conduct amongst those who should be the example of good standards and accountability.

Each of the topics that most irritated the subjects has today become either a police investigation, a magisterial inquiry or an undeniable fault which requires taking responsibility to the point of owning up or to the point that it has harmed the very fabric of our financial services industry and our standing as a country within Europe and the wider world.

Why do we think that Bank of Valletta has lost every Dollar correspondent?  Why are there these numerous calls for inquiries or actual inquiries?  Why is Malta fudging the Moneyval test and the
Venice Commission?  Has the new Commissioner of Police got a handle on the web of crimes and those implicated in it?  Why do we still have people who can come forward not given whistle-blower protection?

Around these realities, some figures have reluctantly been forced out of office or resigned under pressure.  To the last banging of their hand on the desk, they reach out for more handouts, for a lucrative contract to keep them raking it in even after they have been rejected.  This week we have heard of new resignations from the Labour benches.  From past knowledge we speculate that there are ulterior motives and generous step-ups for them as they keep their silence and their constituents happy, unless their reasons are clearly stated, such as a point of principle.

Daphne would have none of the lies and the charades.  Of course, those hapless victims of her UV rays were livid.  And so much did the fury and fuss expand in their sick minds that libel cases were no longer enough.   Elimination.  Removal.  A punishment from hell.

What they did not understand is that it was not a matter of her dying or living but rather a matter of continuing in their rampage of Malta, our livelihoods and our future, against order and justice.

So, to today, the fight for justice go on.  It is first and foremost the fight for justice for Daphne and her family.  But beyond and around it is the fight for natural justice against evil.  This fight for natural justice is the one that Daphne crusaded for.  It will go on as long as evil and greed exist as the preferred mode of survival for the electorate.   The fear of not having a politician in your pocket or of turning towards the ones you have been taught to hate.  It is the smallness of bullying contractors and developers who need to be someone.  It is the habit of the businessmen who need to prove themselves to their family and shareholders.  It is the politician from nowhere who has ambitions way beyond their ability and competence.

All resort to their greedy and obnoxious means of getting what they want.  This was a scourge on our reputation, on our character and values and was not representative of the true aspirations, achievements and history of the Maltese people.  In each and every commentary and article, that was the objective.  Not the personal attacks for themselves.  It was for the bigger picture that was unfolding in an uncontrollable way before our very eyes and ruining the fabric around us.

Not many had the courage and the clear mind to pursue the investigations, the gossips and the mis-match of job with individual, of politically exposed person without integrity, of absence of duty by institutions that were failing.

On a daily basis new information was received and processed.  New libel cases to answer to in court.  Her son recalled from his post overseas with the diplomatic service.  Not to mention the unrelenting insults and names she was called.  You have to have a tough skin to do the job but that does mean you are not human. 

This is what we now fight for.  The end to the inhuman behaviour of a collective body that did not hold back from committing murder in order to sleep in their sin.

But their imagination did not serve them well.  Not only did their sleep become more disturbed than ever, as observed by physical alteration, but the memorial in Valletta that was renewed each day afresh was like a repetitive nightmare that they kept waking from and continued to haunt them by the hour.  The more they tried to wipe out the damn stain, the more it spread. 

The only way in which they match her vigour is in the lack of fatigue on the part of members of the current and recent previous administration and their PR mechanisms to pursue the idea that they have matters under control because they can still give out land to hunters and developers, they can still wine and dine with spumante in Italy and jaunt to Dubai and Miami.   The rest of it is hidden.  Keith Schembri appears on the night of the full moon and Konrad Mizzi does a Houdini.  Joseph Muscat is like stomach acid and Robert Abela like an alka-seltzer. 

Still, it’s been 3 years since that fatal day.  Our memory has not faded.  We searched in our minds and hearts and formed a conscience.   It is not yet common amongst society.  Especially without Daphne to draw our attention to the wrong-doings and failings, we depend on our own intellect and the hard work of the Daphne Project, her family and lawyers, on Repubblika, Occupy Justice and the many foreign institutions that are able to grasp her truth and justice and restate it.

Although, in truth, by now, we as a country should have rejected the graft, the corruption, the fake and low standards around us and grown up a bit.  Really, if she had not suffered the fate she did, she would still be there today with the same strong spirit and will and we would still be turning to Running Commentary on a daily basis, or more.  And the steam would still be coming out of their ears. 



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