Dear Mr Privitera, I have been ignoring your persistent and relentless lies about me for years. With diligent regularity, you uploaded the same lie on comments sections following my contributions in the Times of Malta. You lied that I don’t actually write those articles myself but that a “ghost writer” does so.

I ignored your lies as I found your dogged perseverance in defending the indefensible slightly comical. I put your lies down to the confused ramblings of somebody whose grasp of reality is tenuous at best. I thought your blind loyalty to your party was slightly quaint.

Your latest blatant lie on the Times of Malta comments section followed my article ‘Daphne – Robert Abela’s Antigone’. Somebody drew my attention to it as I stood at the vigil to mark the fifth anniversary of Daphne Caruana Galizia’s assassination. This time you not only lied about me but also about a third person, claiming that he is the real author of my articles – “the writer is Richard Cachia Caruana – there has been no denial to date”.

Privitera claimed former PN strategist Richard Cachia Caruana was behind Kevin Cassar's articles.Privitera claimed former PN strategist Richard Cachia Caruana was behind Kevin Cassar's articles.

I realised I was wrong to ignore your lies. I was wrong to ignore the liar. Standing in front of the Caruana Galizia memorial, it dawned on me that it was lies like yours that led to her assassination. It was the failure to robustly condemn lies like yours that created the environment that enabled her gruesome murder. Lies like yours destroy people’s reputation, discredit their integrity and ruin their lives. 

In the case of Caruana Galizia, they ended her life, brutally and mercilessly.

Ignoring those lies allowed them to grow and to transform into a perverted reality in many people’s minds. The reluctance to engage with mindless trolls and political prats to denounce their blatant lies allowed those trolls to take silence as confirmation of the veracity of their false claims. When lies are not rebutted and exposed, they fester like a flesh-eating bacterium, causing untold destruction and spreading uncontrollably.

And this is why I am writing to you in the same public forum you choose to disseminate your lies.

Let me explain to you what your gratuitous lie means. When you claim that my articles are written by somebody else and published under my name, you are accusing me of fraud. You accuse me of deceiving the public by publishing articles which I never wrote, in my name. You taint me with the very sordid crime you are guilty of: lying.

By naming a third person as the supposed “author”, you seek to damage not only me but that person too. That person has been mercilessly hounded by your party and turned into a hate figure, with constant baying for his blood. Your baseless accusation focuses the wrath of the rabble onto him once more.

For some of us, our reputation, our name, our word is everything. We value it above all else. We value honesty, integrity and decency. We value truth.

Take this opportunity and redeem yourself. Lies are not normal- Kevin Cassar

I understand these may be alien concepts for you. I understand your moral compass must have long perished. I understand you might consider lying simply as just another weapon to bludgeon your perceived adversaries with. But I appeal to you to find that small molecule of decency you might still harbour deep in your bones and recognise your lies have consequences. That your lies are a detestable tool inflicting harm and torment.

You have taken my silence as confirmation of your falsehoods. You have interpreted my decision not to engage with you as some admission that your lies hold water. They don’t.

I am proud to have written those articles. As author of those articles, I have been subjected to malicious abuse, SLAPPs, vexatious libel suits, threatening and intimidating anonymous letters and routinely subjected to lies, offence and vicious slurs.

One man has been convicted for the violent threats he repeatedly made against me and my family in anonymous letters sent to my place of work or dropped in the letter box of my private residence. By falsely accusing a third party of writing my articles, you expose that person to the same abuse. You are inciting those same hotheads to target that person.

This must stop. Doesn’t even the fifth anniversary of Caruana Galizia’s brutal assassination not move you to desist from spreading lies at least for that one day? Do you never stop to think about the damage your lies inflict?

I understand now that every lie, no matter how small, must be countered with full force. Every lie, no matter how insignificant, must be crushed. Otherwise, that small lie will grow and grow and the devastation caused will be incalculable. We know what tragedies lies can cause. We’ve witnessed lies wrecking lives and destroying the nation.

Mr Privitera, you have the opportunity to retract the numerous posts in which you lied blatantly about me. You have the chance to do the decent thing, admit you were wrong and apologise. Take this opportunity and redeem yourself. Lies are not normal. Stop disgracing yourself, your party and your country.

Kevin Cassar is a professor of surgery.

Independent journalism costs money. Support Times of Malta for the price of a coffee.

Support Us