This is not an article for or against the long-awaited findings of the Daphne Inquiry. It took two long years for the inquiry to be published and Prime Minister Robert Abela rightly called on the Speaker of the House for an immediate debate in parliament on the subject matter.
Let me make a number of points clear before I come to the crux of my argument for today. No one deserves to be murdered. Or killed. Or assassinated. Not now. Not ever. Not in Malta or anywhere else. And no grieving family of such a person have to pass an ordeal of vilification and personal attacks solely because they are just that – the family. Such acts are condemnable everywhere and at every time.
The assassination of Daphne Caruana Galizia in Malta created shockwaves both locally and abroad. Indeed, it created much more shockwaves than other slain journalists in other parts of the world. I am not referring to slain journalists or influencers or bloggers in complicated continents such as South America or Africa or parts of Asia. I am comparing the aftermath with the assassinations of persons such as Antonio Megalizzi in Italy, Peter de Vries in Holland, Jan Kuciak in Slovakia, Viktoria Marinova in Bulgaria and Lyra McKee in Northern Ireland. These, and others, happened during the period when Daphne was murdered to date. One could go on and mention the likes of British journalist Jill Dando, Egon Scotland in Croatia, Kutlu Adali in Nicosia, or Swedish freelance journalist Kim Wall, who was murdered by entrepreneur Peter Madsen on board his submarine UC3 Nautilus in August 2017. And they happened in the most blissful and democratic and avant-gardist continent of the world, our Europe.
During the 12 months of last year, 66 journalists were killed, seventeen more than those murdered in 2019. A good number of these assassinations remain unsolved to this day. Thankfully in Malta, the alleged hitmen, bomb-makers, intermediaries and mastermind of the Daphne assassination are facing their fate in court. Like any good story, some believe that there is more to this than the presently arraigned persons.
Now, with the publication of the Daphne Inquiry and a full day of unfettered parliamentary debate on the subject matter, this tragic black stain in our modern history can be finally laid to rest. Such singular events in any country, let alone a small island state such as ours, need a time of healing and a time for reflection. It needs a universal commitment for more needed legislation, akin to the last fifteen months of incessant and radical measures and laws that have been approved in the House of Representatives. Legislation which was due for decades. Legislation which no one dared introduce for fear of changing the status quo. Legislation which was immediately called for and enacted under premier Abela’s watch.
Not because some foreign institution urged such changes. But because they were long overdue.
The post-Daphne inquiry period will further project mature statesmanship instead of petty partisan politics. It is high time that trivial and inconsequential political scoring in relation to this contemptible and condemnable murder is laid to rest.
It is high time that trivial and inconsequential political scoring in relation to this contemptible and condemnable murder is laid to rest.
This is the view of the vast majority of Malta’s population. The vast majority of Malta’s citizens have been literally bombarded with Daphne-related stories every single day since October 2017. Whilst all are in agreement that ALL the perpetrators should receive their just dues, irrespective of who they were or are, they are also weary and tired of listening to yet more spinning on the subject matter. They have been systematically overdosed with what may be referred to as Daphne-related OTT.
It is a shame that some pseudo-politicians resort to add salt on the community’s wounds such as in occasion, where the horrific murder of Daphne and the plight of her family are secondary to their motives. It is their perceived ticket to voter acceptance in the next elections in exchange for a much needed rejuvenation and cathartic overhaul of their own party. In exchange for a healthy and united opposition with progressive, new ideas and initiatives for the good of the country which should make the opposition a real alternative to the present government.
Daphne had a sharp and poisonous pen. Sometimes used for brilliant journalist exposes. Mostly used for brutally vilifying anything which was somehow linked to Labour. In the end, she also turned against her own Party faithful. Hundreds of Maltese people, some prominent personalities and a huge amount of literally unknown and private citizens were hacked to pieces in her blog by her incisive pen. I was one of these as well. Not that it bothered me at all. But this is not the time and the place to analyse her writings. To sort out the wheat from the chaff. Now is the time to move forward as a nation. Learning from the mistakes of the past and creating the necessary buttresses for our nation’s future wellbeing.
There are unfortunately a distinct few who still wish to propagate all sorts of fallacies around this Daphne aura. They wish to depict Malta in the worst possible light. For political reasons known to all in this small island. But Malta is much more than this doom and gloom vision that does not stick despite such concerted efforts by these people. Malta is about life, not death. Malta is about colour not greyness. Malta is about inclusivity and outreach and not hate and political segregation. Malta is about a social welfare state taking care of its own and not a rotten island based on greed. Malta is about choosing what unites us and not fomenting division and struggle. But there are some who wish to keep Malta trapped in the mores of yesteryear, where Karin Grech and Raymond Caruana had no Mallias, Lofaros or Said Pullicinos to change the uncanny silence intrinsically bound to their murders.