“The situation is desperate.” These were Daphne Caruana Galizia’s last words before her assassination woke us all up to the reality that the situation is even more desperate than at the time Daphne wrote them.

It is a time for sober reflections.

First, let us keep the Caruana Galizia family in focus.

We can never start to comprehend the pain and horror they must be going through. No words of solace will ever be enough for us to really and truly share in their grief and their loss. We are, of course, living through a national nightmare, which has international repercussions but, first and foremost, this is a human tragedy involving one of our families.

We must never forget that fact.

Daphne Caruana Galizia with her family.Daphne Caruana Galizia with her family.

Second, whoever uses words that knowingly or unknowingly justify what is unjustifiable, defend what is indefensible or excuse what is inexcusable becomes an accomplice with those who ordered Daphne’s death sentence.

Daphne’s cold-blooded assassination can never be condoned, whether directly or indirectly.

Third, no doubt, evil forces were behind Daphne’s assassination. She was not a chance victim of unfortunate circumstances. She was targeted because what she wrote, more often than not, hit the nail on its head.

It is indeed sad that her life had to be cut short in such a horrible manner to prove that she must have been right after all.

Fourth, it is correct to describe Daphne’s elimination as a political assassination even at this very early stage of the investigations.

There is, of course, room for different theories but we will all be making a serious mistake if we do not place this horrendous act within the context of a political reality that is evident to all those who are objective in their analysis.

It is correct to describe Daphne Caruana Galizia’s elimination as a political assassination even at this very early stage of the investigations

The death sentence executed last Monday was a death sentence against free speech, justice, good governance, propriety, impartiality, honesty, integrity, fairness, reasonableness and all that Daphne stood for.

Daphne’s often lone prophetic voice found a rare resonance in one of the most objective analyses delivered to us by our Chief Justice exactly two weeks before Daphne’s brutal assassination.

His comments carry enormous weight because he is who he is, because he is always extremely prudent in his rare forays into the public domain and because he knows what he is talking about.

To all those who are genuinely concerned, whatever their political leanings, what the Chief Justice has told us not only cannot be discounted but should be heeded as ‘the writing on the wall’ of a society facing a complete breakdown of its democratic infrastructure.

When someone of his position and moral standing discern the need to stress that the rule of law rests on whether the police, the Attorney General and the judiciary are carrying out their duties according to the law, then we need to listen carefully and understand what he is telling us.

It is the responsibility of all of us to do something about this sorry state of affairs.

We cannot pretend that this is another one of those “perceptions” that can be washed away by multi-million euro government media campaigns.

We need to learn the lessons now before it is too late, recognising that it is already too late for Daphne – a singularly determined but vulnerable human being, a mother and a wife who has been butchered while we all looked on helplessly.

I continue to believe with conviction that our people’s common good and our society’s well-being must not be measured only in euros and GDPs but must primarily be measured by our moral rectitude, our personal integrity, our earned reputation and our national pride.

Daphne’s assassination marks an all-time low on all these values. We have hit rock bottom.

Daphne will live on if we resolve to work, strive and fight for all that her death sentence aimed at eliminating.

Lawrence Gonzi is a former prime minister of Malta.

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