You know it has been quite a momentous week in Maltese politics when Keith Schembri says he is not scared while surrounded by a small army of heavies. He scurries to a waiting car as big as a tank, when the Prime Minister Joseph Muscat, sporting a designer stubble for Movember, mumbles to the press that he does not know what month we're in.

Meanwhile, Martin Scicluna  pens another ode to the regime in one of the most catastrophic weeks this government has ever seen.

Headless chickens.

Apt. Because when the true head of this government, the Prime Minister’s chief of staff, practically commits hara-kiri by surrendering the libel suit he had instituted against Simon Busuttil three and a half years ago, then a week is not long in Muscat’s world of politics – it is interminable.

By now, you have all read a blow-by-blow account of the spectacular showdown in court last Monday. We have also heard Busuttil systematically take down the government in a speech in Parliament on Tuesday.

The government benches were empty. The members were all safely cooped up in their pens. Feathers were ruffled.

Why is Schembri’s surrender so clamorous? Surely, it’s not the first time that people in government have dropped their lawsuits in court?

Only recently, politicians  dropped libel suits because they did not relish their day in court to clear their name. I don’t know about you, but if someone accuses me of having my hand in the cookie jar, I would think about nothing else but that moment when I clear my name in open court. Not so Minister Chris Cardona and his Acapulco suit and Minister Konrad Mizzi and his Panama company suit. And now Schembri and the 17 Black suit.

Aren’t you enraged when we are all called traitors for defending our country from these crooks?

All libel suits are directly connected to Daphne Caruana Galizia’s investigative work.

So why is Schembri’s surrender so spectacular? For one main reason that needs to be emphasised and that many are missing:

A few minutes before Caruana Galizia was blown up in her car a few metres from her home, she wrote a short post about this libel suit. Her last line, “There are crooks everywhere you look now. The situation is desperate”, has entered the annals of famous last lines.

One of the excuses we keep hearing is that corruption is difficult for the man in the street to understand, that offshore companies opened by Schembri and Mizzi in Panama is too abstract a concept. That a tanker moored in Marsaxlokk is just a tanker. That people cannot make the connection between kickbacks and the black hulk blighting the bay.

When people reason that way, it is either because they have their hand in the till or because they worship at the altar of the cult of personality, or both.

Corruption is tangible. Corruption killed a flesh and blood woman. She wasn’t assassinated because she wrote about food and interior decorating. People are not killed by concepts and metaphors. People kill other people. Someone ordered to have Caruana Galizia assassinated. Murdered, because she wrote.

To people still sitting on the fence, how many epiphanies do you need to join this fight? Aren’t you shocked and appalled that the people who should be the custodians of our heritage are robbing us blind and lying about it?

Aren’t you angry that crooks are running the country? Aren’t you enraged when we are all called traitors for defending our country from these crooks?

Tomorrow we take to the streets because someone who admitted to being a criminal should not be a Prime Minister’s chief of staff, in any country anywhere, let alone in a country that is a member of the European Union. The Prime Minister still stands by his man. You really have to ask yourself why.

The fight for truth and justice is not a partisan issue, for democratic values belong to the people. After the fall of the Berlin Wall 30 years ago, Mikhail Gorbachev was asked who he regarded as the main hero of that time of drama and turmoil. “The people”, he replied simply.

People, it is our time. Again.

Join us tomorrow in the Protest Against Corruption. The March starts at the Old Opera House, Republic Street, Valletta, at 7pm.

Alessandra Dee Crespo is a member of the Repubblika executive committee.

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