Updated at 11.27am
There appears to be national consensus that justice must be done before the country can heal the wound created by the assassination of Daphne Caruana Galizia.
“The whole country wants justice to be served. Only then can we start the healing process,” Kurt Farrugia, head of government communication, told The Sunday Times of Malta.
Opposition leader Adrian Delia says that people “expect truth and justice to prevail," while former Opposition leader Simon Busuttil says: “Our country needs to move on but it cannot because there can be no healing without justice.”
They were among the opinion leaders answering questions about how they see the year-old unsolved murder as having affected the country and what it might take to heal the wound.
The semblance of agreement stops at the need for justice: the view on one side is that the investigation into the murder has been conducted with the utmost seriousness and on the other that obstacles are being put in the way of justice.
Mgr Joseph Galea-Curmi, Malta’s new Auxiliary Bishop, gives a message of hope, saying that “where there is hatred we will work for peace…”.
Philosopher Joe Friggieri laments the way the political rift marked the reactions to the murder. “There should be no us and them in such matters,” Prof. Friggieri says, going on to warn that “for many, it would be convenient to forget or act as if it was ‘business as usual’; but induced amnesia comes at a cost”.
“The assassination of Daphne Caruana Galizia has affected the country in many ways. What, in your view, has been its biggest impact? And can the wound inflicted by her murder ever be healed?”
‘Price to pay for forgetting’
Professor of Philosophy, University of Malta
“It would probably soothe our collective moral conscience as a nation to pretend that Daphne’s murder created the same feelings of shock, anger and resentment that it should have done in everybody and everyone. It didn’t. The entrenched rift along party political lines that seems to be ingrained in our ethos continues to mark the way we think and feel about everything. It showed itself yet again in the way people expressed themselves orally and in print after the murder.
Many seem to have lost sight of the fact that the murder of a journalist constitutes a special kind of crime in a democracy, since it strikes at the heart of freedom of thought and freedom of information. This holds true no matter what the journalist’s views might be, or the way he or she decides to express them. Because of what journalists stand for, their assassination acquires a symbolic significance one doesn’t associate with other kinds of murder, like crimes of passion between estranged lovers or mutual killings among members of criminal gangs.
Many were profoundly offended by Charlie Hebdo’s anti-religious cartoons, but the thousands who marched in the streets of Paris and other cities after the magazine’s journalists were brutally assassinated wanted to convey just one simple message: killing journalists because we don’t like what they write offends against the principles that make life worth living in a free and democratic society. And we can’t feel one way when the journalist happens to be ‘on our side’ and not have the same feelings when he or she ‘is not one of us’. There should be no us and them in such matters.
The murder of a journalist constitutes a special kind of crime in a democracy
I do not think that we as a nation have understood that very simple fact or show much willingness to accept its implications. For many, it would be convenient to forget or act as if it was ‘business as usual’; but induced amnesia comes at a cost. There’s always a price one has to pay for forgetting. This is a lesson we do not seem to have learnt. Yet.”
‘Whole country wants justice to be served’
Head of Government Communication
Daphne Caruana Galizia’s murder is a deep scar for the country. From statements made by the police, and what is known publicly, investigations are continuing vigorously. This case is the most intensive police and security service investigation in our history. Significant resources are still being deployed.
The Prime Minister has repeatedly said that investigators are free to go wherever the evidence takes them, without fear or favour.
The fact that three persons were arrested within 50 days of Caruana Galizia’s murder, and are being prosecuted, is a testament to the seriousness of the investigation. We are also thankful for the international assistance we received.
It is unfortunate that there is a group within Malta who want to pin this murder as being political. This group has been ruthless in ramming their narrative down the throats of international journalists who are naturally keen to report on the matter. Systemic leaks and baseless allegations have only got in the way of investigations.
Not long ago, a thorough 15-month investigation by a magistrate found that Caruana Galizia’s allegations about the Prime Minister and his wife were a complete fabrication. A travesty of journalism.
Whether she knew, or not, it is clear that she was fed fraudulent documents, with falsified signatures, couched in a web of lies.
Has this changed our resolve to continue delving deeper in this brutal, tragic, murder? No. Not for a second. The whole country wants justice to be served. Only then can we start the healing process.
‘Wound will never heal’
Leader of the Nationalist Party
“Shock, disbelief and anger at first. Freedom of expression is a major pillar of democracy. The biggest impact left was on democracy itself, the rule of law, the image of Malta and resulting mistrust in the institutions such as the office of the Attorney General, which in a functioning democracy should be there to defend citizens. The wound caused by the assassination of Daphne Caruana Galizia will never heal as it ripped the essence of freedom of expression and left a void that demands real justice.
The developments thereafter, including the decision of the Constitutional Court confirming that the fundamental human rights of her family were breached, are proof of this. The government, with its actions, wants to erase stories revealed by her and is rubbing salt in the wound by prolonging ongoing court cases. This is why the Opposition will continue to insist on the publication of the full Egrant inquiry.
The Opposition called for a special, autonomous and independent inquiry to establish what action was taken by the authorities to protect her and if any intelligence in hand could have been used to prevent the assassination. One year later we do not know who ordered the assassination. People expect truth and justice to prevail and demand that the safety of whistle-blowers is safeguarded in the hope that her legacy will be kept alive with the work of other investigative journalists.”
‘No healing without justice’
Nationalist MP and former PN leader
“The biggest impact of Daphne’s assassination has been the mortal wound that has been inflicted on our democracy.
Our democracy is no longer the same and only those who look away cannot see this. This is not only because she is no longer around to put people in public life under her relentless scrutiny. It goes beyond that. It is because the democratic climate has deteriorated irretrievably and can only recover when Daphne’s murder and her corruption stories involving the people who are running our country are fully resolved.
In her wake, Daphne left a burning desire for truth and justice and that aspiration cannot be extinguished until justice is served. The more the government tries to put obstacles in the way of justice, the more that desire intensifies.
The situation is even more desperate today than when Daphne wrote her last words. Our country needs to move on but it cannot because there can be no healing without justice.
There is still hope. Many people in our country know that this situation is untenable and still embrace the basic values that bind us together as a society – freedom, truth and justice. It’s time for all of us who do, to stand up to be counted.”
‘May Daphne’s will prevail’
Former editor, The Sunday Times of Malta
“Daphne Caruana Galizia’s brutal assassination a year ago not only silenced forever the island’s foremost investigative journalist and in many ways the nation’s conscience, but also deprived her readers (tens of thousands of them) of the right to information – actually the right to receive it from her, and the right to provide it to her, as many of them in fact did.
Thus was removed a powerful, effective check on the abuse of power, corruption, maladministration and so many ills besetting our society. Will the abusers of power, the corrupt, the incompetent, feel more at ease knowing that their accuser is no longer?
Yet the reverberations of Daphne’s murder have been felt throughout Europe and indeed around the world. In this respect, the intent of those who commissioned the killing is bound to fail, for the focus now is more than ever on ways to protect journalists and freedom of speech, especially now that there has been a parallel assassination of journalists in Slovakia and Bulgaria.
The focus now is more than ever on ways to protect journalists
And Daphne’s work has been continued by the Daphne Project, a collaborative effort by a group of 45 journalists representing 18 news organisations in 15 countries, including the Times of Malta, as can be seen by the recent, most damning revelations. May Daphne’s indomitable will to discover the unpalatable truth thus continue to prevail.”
‘Country’s conscience was murdered’
Democratic Party MP
“The voice of reason and uncompromised reporting of facts was silenced. The country’s conscience was murdered. The country’s reality check was erased.
The democratic Opposition was maimed through the loss of unique, fearless, investigative journalism. The ultimate crime on freedom of speech was committed. Fear sown deeper in the hearts and minds of other journalists.
Domestic violence on women (and yes, I mean domestic violence) reached its zenith and was/is celebrated. The incompetence and non-existent autonomy of our law and order keeping forces was/is painfully manifest for other nations to see.
Justice in Malta has been exposed in all its travesty through the behaviour of the Justice Minister. The dark shadows on the ruling class of politicians and their henchmen have never been this heavy.
A culture of impunity and arrogance has exploded at all levels of governance and administration. Our country will never be the same. It was in a quagmire pre-2017 election, was in a deeper trouble post-2017 election. It sank deeper post-the PN leadership “biċċa blogger” ‘Soho’ debacle. But when Daphne was killed, we vortexed straight into the pits of lawlessness, institutional collapse and despair.
The wound inflicted by Daphne’s death will only heal when the country heals. The scars and cicatrisation of the history of the present will remain and will affect our political situation for years to come.”
‘Malta synonymous with malign governance’
Lawyer and rule of law activist
“The assassination of Daphne Caruana Galizia exposed an image of this country that is simply horrendous. Malta has become synonymous with corruption, violence and malign governance, and we have all been tarred with the same filth.
Government spokesmen, and their trolls, point their fingers at the few who continue to speak up, branding them as traitors and worse, inciting moral violence and worse towards them. It’s no wonder that individuals like Tony Zarb, a holder of one of the country’s highest honours, feels empowered to vilify Caruana Galizia with impunity.
And his example is followed slavishly by other bottom-dwellers, while the Finance Minister whines about cab drivers talking about corrupt Malta and the Minister for Justice does his damnedest to bury Caruana Galizia’s memory. He won’t succeed.
I can’t see the wound being healed for many, many years, if ever. The revolting slugs that crawled out from under the stone, already pretty evident before October 16, 2017, now hold sway over our lives. For these specimens, violent language, outright lying and vicious insult qualify them as fit to run this country.
Considering that the Prime Minister gives them such a good example in the House, are you surprised?”
‘No one took political responsibility’
A movement, led by women, who want to see justice prevail in Malta.
“No, the country has not been affected by the assassination of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia. No heads rolled. No one was fired. No one took political responsibility for the brutal killing of a journalist who was blown up while she was unearthing the dredge of political corruption.
It’s been pretty much business as usual. Prime Minister Joseph Muscat still keeps his best buddies, his chief of staff Keith Schembri and his top minister Konrad Mizzi, at his side, even though their financial consultants were making arrangements for them to receive €130,000 a month through foreign accounts. The Prime Minister still defends Economy Minister Chris Cardona despite allegations linking him to Caruana Galizia’s hit men.
This is not change. This is gridlock
The Prime Minister is still the puppet master of the Attorney General and the Police Commissioner who look the other way when faced with political corruption. The Prime Minister and a number of other politicians still have not been interrogated by the police in order to solve the assassination, despite being repeatedly mentioned in her corruption stories. The Prime Minister is still countered by an Opposition leader who prefers to back the government than to speak out. This is not change. This is gridlock. One year on, we still do not know who commissioned the killing of Daphne Caruana Galizia. The only things that changed are the hate and the aggression towards those demanding good governance.
While the Prime Minister remains an accomplice of all this, the wound caused by the assassination of a journalist in Malta can never be healed.”
‘One should not lose hope’
Auxiliary Bishop of Malta
“One year on from the brutal assassination of Daphne Caruana Galizia, the crucial question remains: who commissioned her assassination? Till today this is an open wound and one which cries for justice.
Even if one manages to identify the hired killers, one should leave no stone unturned and carry out the necessary investigations by following all relevant leads to discover this unknown force of evil. Until then, no amount of talk will in any way treat the wound inflicted on the family of Daphne Caruana Galizia and on society. This heinous crime is a terrible blow to all those who want to live in a nation which cherishes life and freedom, justice and peace, truth and honesty.
One should not lose hope. As Archbishop Charles J. Scicluna said a year ago: “Our resolve is that where there is violence, we will work for peace, where there is hatred we will work for love, where there is injustice we will strive for justice, where there is fear we will work for courage, where there is division we will work for unity.”
Oscar Romero, who is being declared a saint today by Pope Francis, said in his last homily, moments before he was assassinated: “This is the hope that inspires us as Christians. We know that every effort to better society, especially when injustice and sin are so ingrained, is an effort that God blesses, that God wants, that God demands of us.”
‘Injury already passed’
Times of Malta columnist
“Three investigative journalists have been killed in EU States over the past year: in Malta, Slovakia and Bulgaria. All, in their own different ways, had been investigating corruption.
Daphne’s approach was broader. It included not only the Panama Papers investigation, but also a decades-long visceral, indiscriminate and scatter-gun assault against every aspect of the Labour government and anybody remotely associated with it.
She was a brave journalist, as well as a divisive commentator on the Maltese social and political scene. The pain felt by her murder has affected a sizeable portion of the population. For them, the wound will take long to heal. For most others – the majority – the injury, if ever there was one, has already passed.
The greatest impact of Daphne’s death has been on the state of Maltese politics, whose tribal divisiveness has plumbed new depths. Following an acrimonious electoral campaign – in which she played a pivotal role centred on her promotion of the discredited Egrant story – the overwhelming defeat of PN, the ignominious resignation of its leader and its near break-up duly followed.
Her brutal murder three months later became the rallying point for groups of ‘civic activists’ bent on ‘seeking justice’ and bringing down the re-elected government. A skilful international campaign by PN MEPs and her family has led to Malta’s international reputation being thrashed. This is the bitter legacy of her tragic murder.”
Special coverage on Tuesday
To mark the first anniversary of Daphne Caruana Galizia’s murder, the Times of Malta will have an eight-page pull-out on Tuesday. Contributers include European Parliament president Antonio Tajani and Reporters Without Borders UK Bureau chief Rebecca Vincent.