Daphne Caruana Galizia is not a saint. Those who attend her protests are not there to pray to her. We gather there, month after month to commemorate a person whose body was torn into pieces because she had the courage to reveal what she knew, directly, without any subtleties.
Our flowers and candles are taken there to remember a person who was, before she was assassinated, almost the only source to reveal the extent of the corruption generated mainly by politicians in league with businessmen. Corruption that our politicians should actually be fighting to suppress, not take to lengths that have never been witnessed before in this country. When a bomb, large enough to destroy an armoured car, was put under her car seat, the masterminds behind her killing wanted to make sure her voice was silenced. How wrong they were!
Never, in their wildest nightmares, did they ever think that two years on, her voice booms out stronger than ever, not only in Malta, but across Europe and even beyond. Daphne can be proud of her new achievements. She has managed to put Malta under the international spotlight for its money laundering, its smuggling, and most importantly, its corruption that implicates politicians, police and even the judiciary.
She would be pleased today to see that her cause has been taken up by journalists all over the world. International journalists come here and are shocked by the rampant corruption we experience on a daily basis.
Two years on, her voice booms out stronger than ever
They write articles, conduct programmes on TV, radio and internet that put Malta – once known as the jewel of the Mediterranean – to shame. Our own brave journalists, those who try hard to bring the truth to us and show up corruption for what it is, do this despite the fact that no measures, either by our parliament or our police, have ever been taken to ensure that they can continue to work undisturbed. And yet, the right to inform is sacrosanct, even though it is not part of our constitution.
Daphne was not a saint, but I like to consider her as Malta’s contemporary woman hero. In our history, which is recounted to us very much from a male perspective, she certainly stands out as a female fighting a cause on behalf of those who demand to know, those who do not let any politician, of whatever gender or political colour, pull wool over their eyes. Those who know how to recognise an honest person, politician, judge, lawyer, businessman, teacher, employee or street sweeper when they see one. Those who are not impressed by a person’s public importance, money, or social rank, but by the truth they speak and the manners they cultivate.
As I watched Roberto Saviano and Daphne’s three sons last Sunday, in a programme where the anchorman is truly a professional who does his research fully before appearing on air, I was moved by the dignity and sobriety of her three boys who demand the truth about their mother.
I was saddened by the fact they have to go abroad to obtain it, because they have little hope of seeing justice done in their own country. I was also impressed by the fact that an international writer and one of the best anchormen in Italy assured them of their solidarity.
I compared it to another programme I watched, thanks to Times of Malta, where men continued to call her a “bitch” and even threatened to kill the journalist who was questioning them. I was ashamed of their vulgarity and their manners, which are now there for all Europe to see. Maltese men do not deserve to be internationally represented in this way.
Unlike what her detractors would like us to believe, there is no ‘Daphne cult’. But there is much admiration, and much sadness because the life of a woman we read every day because of the truth and seriousness of her revelations, has been undeservedly shortened in such a barbaric manner, and yet our justice system is slow to react.
Today, I shall stand in front of the law courts to remind our judges and our police that their duty is towards us, the common citizen, and not towards any power-that-be. To remind them that they are there not to be manoeuvred by corrupt politicians seeking their own interests, but to guarantee the common good.
And I shall stand there to honour a woman who died for the cause of truth and justice, and to reassure her, wherever she may be today, that her voice was not one in the wilderness.
I hope that my fellow citizens, who staunchly want the truth, and a clean and uncorrupt Malta, with honest politicians, police and judges, will find the courage to stand there with me, at 7pm tonight.
Vicki Ann Cremona is a member of Repubblika.