Yesterday, it was International Women’s Day, yet in Malta, there was no public and official mention of the woman who upturned and changed the whole edifice of Maltese politics. Daphne Caruana Galizia is the most significant woman in our recent history, and as of now, the Maltese government has failed to recognise her massive contribution to our political life. The Labour Party treats her as a figment of our recent past. This towering woman who was murdered for her writing and changed our lives in a radical manner, forced out a government, and galvanised a nation, is totally absent in the official and public discourse. Had it not been for her family, even justice would have been lacking, yet it still is, no fault of theirs. As of today, only one person has been sentenced over Daphne’s murder and compared to the trials of the murdered Slovak journalist Ján Kuciak, we seem to be taking a long time to hand out sentences.
Other European politicians seem to be more appreciative of journalists who have been murdered even if they are not their own countrymen. Luxembourg has just had a street named after Daphne Caruana Galizia. I suppose that the Sliema Council could very easily rename a street in her own name. A monument could be good as well, although I would like this to be placed in a central location in Valletta.
I’m very proud to say that as the previous head of the National Book Council, I was the first public official to celebrate Daphne Caruana Galizia after she was murdered, and I did this through the Malta Book Festival where debates and discussions were held in her memory, and also consecutively with my speeches at the National Book Prize. When the crisis broke out in 2019, the Book Council cancelled its National Book Prize at the Auberge de Castile and followed to organise it at the President’s Palace instead, with a speech dedicated to Daphne. Looking, back I think I should have done more, but despite being a critical mind, I still had some mental limitations and biases which came with all the political implications of being a public executive.
I experienced personally and first-hand Daphne’s greatness in our local history as my life changed with exogenous political impacts that were primarily caused by her murder. I was technically in the opposing and competitive camp to Daphne both in the world of publishing and the world of politics, however, her murder forced me to go against the political forces which had abetted it, eventually resulting in my ostracisation from the Labour Party and the government. Today, I have nothing but admiration for this woman.
Life is incredibly weird.