Some consider numbers meaningful. So meaningful that they could be the language of God, the hidden code of the universe. Like everything else, all this could be a load of hogwash.

But numbers in this little fish pond of ours, which many of us besides calling Malta refer to with god-like reverence, have a frightening effect.

13. That’s the number of months since Daphne Caruana Galizia was blown up in her car.

These 13 months have been marked by an extraordinary number of resignations connected to her assassination— 0.

That no one, not one government functionary, police officer or minister, could even contemplate that they were in expected to assume some measure of responsibility for not having prevented such a heinous crime from happening, shouts out that we, or most of us, have zero accountability.

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16 is the date of Malta’s shame. On the October 16, 2017 a woman was brutally assassinated metres from her home. It was - and will remain for all men and women who have enough decency to be branded human - our day of shame. For all who feel horror that such a murder was allowed to happen in our country, the number 16 is etched in our souls, hearts and minds. For all who care, this number, this date of national shame, can never be just a number.

17, especially tied to the word black, is and will always be, connected to the story Daphne was unravelling when she was blown to bits. 17 in our national psyche is now forever tied to the terrible truths Daphne was chasing which are now being discarded as allegations and inventions by some sections of the local media.

17 was tied to the colour black. And if numbers are considered meaningful, the colour black is seen as the negation of colour, the colour we mostly associate with mourning, which is so sadly apt. We mourn for Daphne but we also mourn for our lost country with its horrifically blackened reputation.

Even our numbers damn us.


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