All endings are eventful and usually sad. A year passes - its weary old days over - and along comes a new one. We pour wine, clink glasses and bid all near and far a better beginning, a better year, a bitter-less start.

2017 is drawing to an end. But even if all men and women of goodwill try to imagine that 2018 is going to be better, that we can devise new ways, new paths, for all of us, and resolve to be good, the bitterness of 2017 will linger on.

We will not look back at 2017 and think of our achievements, but of our setbacks. It will not be the year we mourn one particular incident, it is the year we will think of forever more as the year our innocence was totally crushed.

A woman dead in a field - butchered, assassinated, blown to high heaven. A woman whose death reverberated the world over - except in her homeland and in a few other places embroiled like us in hoping this paradise isle can remain for evermore the laundromat of the underworld.

Women die every day, people are murdered on a regular basis, but innocence dies just once. It is now no more. Before Daphne Caruana Galizia died - was assassinated - she and a very few others spoke out against the horrors of this land. She it was who declared we are a land of crooks and, because of what she fought against, she was butchered.

We grieve for her and cry over her death, her material absence. But what her assassination represents goes beyond all material feelings, goes, if possible, beyond maternal and family feelings.

No mourning ever gets the dead back. No wailing assuages the stricken. No clamouring for justice turns back the clock to restore the mother, wife, sister, daughter, friend and unshakable journalist. Death is final. And when Daphne breathed her last, our nation’s innocence went with her. We are all guilty of her death and nothing we - or the authorities - do, will bring her or innocence back.

Before there is a proper clean-out of the people in power, and a proper inspection of all that is rotten at the core, nothing will change. And if ever by some miracle another Daphne is born, she too will be blown out of existence. Because we do not want to look into our soul; because we cannot face the corruption, complicity and blood it is stained with. With our ready-to-whitewash-anything mentality we can never put our house in order.

Our prime minister will carry on winning support because he is the champion smiler who urges us all to forget and move on. Muscat echoes what the vast majority of people in Malta feel: that we need to wish everyone a happy new year and forget the worst cardinal sin that 2017 represents.


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