A month after the brutal assassination of Daphne Caruana Galizia a Mass was celebrated in Gozo with the participation of a few local journalists. In his introduction to the Mass, Fr Giovann Curmi spoke of journalists and their prophetic role.

Like the prophets of the Old Testament they challenge authorities and they unveil the evil perpetrated by the powerful as they usurp people’s rights at the expense of the common good. Daphne was a prophet in her own way and as happened to several prophets of the scriptures, she too met an untimely and barbaric end.

No one has ever questioned the courage with which Daphne faced her lonely battle against the potent and the crooks in our society. What I would like people to think about in this article is Daphne’s honesty.

We have all read articles and judged them as a rehash of something else we read elsewhere in the media. A number of authors of published pieces in our media fail to acknowledge the sources of their material, hence getting the credit themselves.

Daphne certainly could not be counted among the plagiarists. The day when her honesty shone above all else goes back to September 2, 2011. On that day this newspaper published an article titled ‘Labour’s doublespeak and deceit’. It was the time when the Labour Party started reforming itself under the leadership of Joseph Muscat. In the article the writer tackled the recurring topic of Labour’s relationship with Colonel Muammar Gaddafi.

For many it was considered to be a sordid kind of relationship and rightly so. Labour for a long time had projected Gaddafi as a peacemaker and an indispensable supporter of Malta.

They always claimed that their relationship with Libya was a kind of people to people relationship. Eddie Fenech Adami both in opposition and in government claimed that Labour’s relationship with Libya went far beyond what was acceptable between neighbouring countries.

His stance became patently obvious when Joseph Muscat was reluctant to accept then prime minister Lawrence Gonzi’s early condemnation of Colonel Gaddafi’s brutal assault on his people at the beginning of the people’s revolution which eventually led to his unceremonious end.

No one has ever questioned the courage with which Daphne Caruana Galizia faced her lonely battle against the potent and the crooks in our society

This reluctance was evident in the statement by Muscat who insisted at the time that “the matter should not become a subject of controversy”. And that statement was made when Gaddafi’s departure from power had become inevitable. Many questioned, why so late in the day?

The perception that Gaddafi had bankrolled the Labour Party prior to the 1976 election and that Libyan funds helped in the building of the new Labour Headquarters at Mile End have never gone away. It was a well-known fact that Gaddafi had funded a Labour Party activity during the Bush-Gorbachev summit in Malta in 1989.

The perception was further confirmed when Gaddafi after a few weeks of Muscat’s leadership provided a private aircraft complete with gold taps and gold-plated lavatory seats for him and his delegation to visit Libya. Remember Muscat then was only the leader of the Opposition.

In comes Daphne’s honesty. On the same day the said article appeared on this paper, she published the following piece under the title: ‘They lied, and we missed it.’  I quote from her commentary: ‘a writer’ in The Times today makes an important point that the rest of us missed (well, I don’t know about you, but I certainly did).

She argued that Labour had always denied Libyan funding and Joseph Muscat is on record for having said that he had not been told of any Libyan funding of the Labour Party, and yet a blatant donation in kind such as that of the aircraft which carried Muscat to and from Libya was ignored completely.

Daphne had the choice to make the story her own like so many others do these days. But no, she contacted the writer at the time to ask for his permission to publish his article on her Commentary which in fact she did as a background to her piece.

The day we prayed for the soul of Daphne in Gozo, an article appeared in this newspaper written by Rainer Fsadni. The author in his inimitable way traced what Muscat had declared in an opinion submitted to the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs in March 2005 as an MEP.

Muscat favoured the tightening up and strengthening measures which prevented money laundering. He argued also that tight controls in any one country were of ‘high importance’ to ensure the stability of the entire financial system of Europe.

Fsadni considered that the Muscat of today has undercut the Muscat of yesteryear and concluded that Muscat was not serious about upholding standards he once championed and also not serious about defending the national interest.

The change of stance by Muscat amounts to a complete dereliction of what he believed in, which in turn resulted in the dishonest way of public governance that led Daphne to become the champion of honesty through her investigative journalism.

Back in 2011, Daphne was able to claim that ‘they lied and we missed it’. Today the honest citizen assumes that what we are told by Muscat and his clique is all lies. They have even taken away from us the opportunity to miss their lies.

Incidentally I was the writer of the article that brought out in the open Daphne’s journalistic honesty.

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