Anti-mafia organisation Libera dedicated its Ragusa chapter to slain journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia during a ceremony on Tuesday in which her sister, Corinne Vella, was a keynote speaker.
The need for citizens to fight back against organised crime was a common theme. “We should not rely on a few people to fight for us…Our societies don’t need heroes who fight alone. We need citizens who are actively engaged,” Vella said.
She stressed the need for justice, even when it seemed impossible or when fighting seemed pointless. “Killing someone is only the beginning; the next step is to attempt to bury that person’s memory. By keeping the victim’s memory alive, the search for truth is reinforced,” she said.
Power did not respect weakness, Vella said, adding that was an important lesson the family had learned in the aftermath of Caruana Galizia’s death. “Giving up is not an option. It will not make us safe. It will only increase the danger for everyone else”.
Caruana Galizia’s sons, Matthew, Andrew and Paul, thanked the Ragusa organisation for the tribute to their mother in a message sent to the event. “If she was here today, she would be comforted by your presence. She would be reminded that what she fought for were not just abstract principles, but people’s lives and livelihoods, and our shared values. Those values are what keeps a society together and gives meaning to a shared future”.
Her sons also spoke of the need to break the silence of injustice. “Each time we raise our voices to protect the legacy of the people who were killed fighting for us, we make our communities and our countries not only safer, but also worth living in and defending”.
The family’s words were echoed by Don Luigi Ciotti, founder of the anti-mafia organisation Libera, who has been deeply involved in the fight against illegality and organised crime. “We don’t need heroes, but an increase in the number of people who play their part,” he said.
Ciotti emphasised the need for a “public ethos”, saying a commitment to education and culture was needed. “We need citizens who are committed, not intermittent. It is not enough to be moved. It’s necessary to move…Change is brought about when people work together”.
Links were drawn between Caruana Galizia, Slovak journalist Jan Kuciak, and Giovanni Spampinato, an investigative journalist from Ragusa killed in October 1972. Libera’s Simone Lo Presti said, “they are people who forcefully reaffirmed, across Europe, a fundamental concept to which we commit: the right and duty of reporting the news”.