The Malta Independent 3 December 2021, Friday

Daphne, you should have been alive today

Noel Grima Sunday, 17 October 2021, 07:16 Last update: about 3 months ago

There has been the usual flurry of activities to mark the anniversary of the killing of Daphne Caruana Galizia, culminating last evening.

But all these activities, not just in Malta but also elsewhere, cannot hide the cruel truth that she has been forcibly taken from our midst and that for all our collective gatherings, writings and speeches nobody has taken her place.

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Till the day she was murdered, and for a long time before that, she was the unchallenged leader of thousands of Maltese who daily followed her blog, even in the hours of the night, who dialogued with her, who acclaimed her biting comments and followed her stances.

Now that voice has been silenced for ever and what we are left with are the words she wrote – as long as they are kept in their entirety. Her inspiration remains, and that is important and must be preserved and kept alive.

In a way, those who killed her have triumphed. For all the related court cases no one has so far been found guilty of the murder and maybe more years will have to pass until and if justice takes its course. One can only see the avid rearguard action of those defending the people being charged to wonder if legal wrangling and court obfuscation will delay or derail the proceedings at law.

This is Malta and such is our court, for all the efforts of those who try and clean up the stables of filth. One single act of violence can be deftly hidden by spin, collusion and stage -management. Stopping the blogger, or better, silencing her forever pays dividends. That’s the worst lesson the country has been given.

Time passes, people move on, the murder of four years ago recedes into the background. The coming election will soon become all-engrossing. Daphne and her life and murder will always remain in people’s collective memory but will daily fade a little more.

Meanwhile her basic inspiration in favour of public rectitude and against the wrong use of public monies gets stronger day by day among those who are still inspired by her words and their number is legion.

It would seem their number may still not be enough to change the course of contemporary Maltese history but this is not just a matter of numbers as so many seem to be arguing. If we believe in the onward march of history (though there may be a case to realise history may deteriorate as well) the present impasse may be overcome.

The present and perennial conflict between Nationalists and Labourites may be too ingrained in the Maltese psyche to allow for a new beginning. Time and again what goes for political discussion degenerates into diatribes in which each side blames the other and people keep remembering what happened in the past so many years ago much like Catholics and Protestants in Northern Ireland, Serbs and Muslims in ex-Yugoslavia, Jews and Palestinians in the Holy Land, etc.

There are two and just two ways about it: either we keep banging at each other and hope the right side eventually wins, as Daphne and others may have believed or the people on every side who believe in rectitude in public matters coming together (preferably not on the eve of elections) and drawing up a commonly-agreed programme of reforms.

That was, as we remember, how the very dangerous impasse of 1981 was solved. The architect of that solution was Dom Mintoff, not one of Daphne’s heroes. Maybe the agreement was imperfect and maybe Mintoff had his hidden reasons for it but the secret talks with de Marco, Ugo and others were perfect examples of realpolitik. They were truly politicians with the welfare of the country at heart.

 

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