Marking the 58th month since the assassination of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia, writer and activist Andre’ Delicata spoke about how Malta’s “democracy is up in flames, but the smoke alarms have been muted and the water sprinklers have been sabotaged”.
Delicata was one of the speakers at Tuesday’s vigil, marking almost five years since Daphne Caruana Galizia was assassinated with a car bomb on October 16, 2017, an attack that a public inquiry had concluded was motivated by the journalist’s writings on state corruption.
“The key to turning around this deteriorating situation is us. Despite our best efforts, the truth of the matter is that we face many challenges. We are fighting against a group of criminals who are ruthless and who own and control the state, with all its resources, able to bend them to their will,” Delicata said.
He further added that the biggest challenge of all lies in “the indifference of the public”, calling on fellow citizens to fight for justice for the assassinated journalist and her stories about state corruption by holding those who are responsible to account.
The vice-president of Repubblika, Alessandra Dee Crespo, echoed another point Delicata made about ensuring the recommendations of the public inquiry board are implemented.
Crespo maintained that “Malta’s ghost prime minister”, a reference to prime minister Robert Abela’s summer holiday on his yacht, “does not want to implement the recommendations of the public inquiry published more than a year ago”.
“Robert Abela cannot do anything because if he did anything to implement the recommendations of the public inquiry, everything would collapse. So he prefers to roam around on his boat to forget and make others forget, but we won’t forget,” she added.
Amy Mallia, Daphne Caruana Galizia’s niece and an activist, recounted the horror of calling her aunt repeatedly on the day she was murdered, hoping the first trickle of incoming news about the assassination “was a mistake” and how “we all knew a version of Daphne”.
“Never in a million years would I have thought that I would be seeing the version of Daphne being lowered into the cold ground while we who love her so much looked on, when we should still be enjoying the version of her who still had so much life left to live, and who would have so dearly loved the grandchildren she was deprived of ever knowing,” Mallia said.
“It’s scary that any person can see murdering a woman – a human being – in cold blood as ‘normal’,” she added, referring to Reuters’ interview with one of the triggermen, George Degiorgio, in which he admitted to his role in the crime and described it as “business as usual”.
Activist and cartoonist Miriam Galea described how, following “the silencing of Daphne’s voice”, Malta’s civil society found its own voice and how the country’s people began to understand that politicians should service the public rather than use the public to serve themselves.
Galea added that civil society’s newfound voice was still not “as widespread” as it could be, a voice which still does not square up to the country’s ongoing struggle between unsustainable wealth generation and the destruction of the country’s wellbeing in the process.
“What are we still doing here? Because someone has to say something. Because we are making our voices heard. Because every sensible voice in a sea of absurdity and immorality counts, gives us strength, reminding us that someone does care,” Galea added.