A vigil commemorating the life and work of assassinated journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia today, marking 39 months since she was brutally killed by a car bomb, focused on the lives lost due to the pandemic and the need for the nation to mourn.
President-elect of NGO Repubblika, Alessandra Dee Crespo, focused her speech on the increasing number of deaths by remembering those who lost their lives because of COVID-19. “Our country is not allowing us to mourn the dead,” she said.
She called out the ‘mantra of normality’ being used to alienate people and make them forget: “If we had to have a minute of silence for all those who died because of COVID-19, the country would have to fall silent for almost four hours. Imagine that.”
The NGO has held a vigil on the 16th of every month since Caruana Galizia’s assassination to ensure her work and her memory live on while the campaign for justice drags on. The group is now criticising the prime minister’s handling of the pandemic and lives lost, building on government criticism by doctors, nurses, teachers and businesses.
By Saturday morning, 236 people had died as a result of the virus. Dee Crespo said the numbers fail to describe a person’s life: “These people are victims of a war, a war which cannot be seen and a war which has not yet been won. We will not forget. Most of these victims did not have to die. We will not forget because, for these persons, this is not business as usual. And it should not be so for us either.”
She said those who have not yet been affected by the virus should still care about the pain that many people are experiencing. “People are not numbers. A person’s life is measured through how much we care for one another,” Dee Crespo added during an event held online.
Benna Chase, a friend of Caruana Galizia and another speaker at the vigil, said the journalist must have felt fear and despair during her life because of the constant attacks and threats against her. “And yet, she kept true to her calling – to unearth corruption and expose it,” she added.
She said Caruana Galizia used her talents to make the world a better place. “She connected the dots and unearthed corruption. Her fearlessness allowed others to trust her with information, and her ability to simplify the most tangled web of intricacies in her writing that was economical, to the point and easy to read, gave her readers a clear, coherent picture of what was going on. Daphne was assassinated because she accepted the seed that was sown in her and dropped it on fertile ground. This was the courage of Daphne.”
Clemence Dujardin, the wife of blogger and activist Manuel Delia, spoke of the corruption and the loss of Caruana Galizia’s voice. “Day after day, month after month, year after year, we are left with only the possibility of looking to the sky and guessing what Daphne Caruana Galizia would have thought, written or said.”
The organisers of the vigil also featured a short video to commemorate the victims of the pandemic.