Credit: Monique Agius

Reflecting on her death, Daphne Caruana Galizia’s niece Megan Mallia, said she was more than simply a person and her profession, she was a movement that touched people far beyond Malta.

‘My aunt Daphne metamorphosed into a voice that flew into the hearts of millions beyond these shores. Maybe she didn’t know it then, but I feel it in my heart at this moment that she knows it now. And she is smiling’ said Megan.

Megan’s eulogy to her aunt recognized one and a half years since her death on October 16th 2017, looking more at the intricacies of Daphne as much as the legacy than came in her wake. She recalled her love for art, history, archaeology, anthropology, gardening and thrifting old ornaments. ‘She adored life,’ she read.

Her speech intertwined with lines from Neil Young, recalling those which best reflected her character as well as how she could still see Daphne in everywhere even after she had gone.  ‘Neil Young, in his song, also sings the words ‘once you’re gone, you can never come back’. This is true, but a person we love comes back to us in the most unexpected of ways, in little moments, and in other people … Matthew once wrote that Daphne is everywhere. ‘In natural and human beauty,’ he wrote, ‘ in words and ideas. In bravery, in courage and intelligence. In righteousness, in goodness and in hope. In humour and in empathy.’ … His words, not my own. But I know what he means. In every word I read, in every flower I see, in anything I know she might have loved, Daphne is there.’

Credit: Monique Agius

Not being afraid, unites us – Prof Mary Anne Lauri

Psychologist Mary Anne Lauri told those gathered for the monthly vigil that not fearing retaliation is what unites those who each month gather in front of the Great Siege monument demanding justice for slain investigative journalist, Daphne Caruana Galizia. Lauri referred to those who wish that every 16th of the month is a day like the rest, without anyone on the street protesting, however she noted, that people from all walks of life still gathered, demanding justice and not compromising the truth. She stated that what united those present is fearlessness, not being afraid to show one’s face and not being afraid to turn up and protest.

Lauri told the activists gathered that a year and a half later questions remain unanswered, such as who ordered the journalist’s assassination, why was Caruana Galizia assassinated, why did they want her dead.

Lauri stated that she feels as though she failed as an educator, being an educator herself with a career spanning over 40 years, she asked where were the majority of students she lectured throughout her career and in whom she tried to instil various values such as critical thinking. She acknowledged that a few do turn up and voice their concerns, however there remains a silent majority, who would sometimes choose comfort. Lauri stressed on the need that everyone does their part when faced with corruption at such levels, reiterating that there was no choice but it is one’s duty to fight for justice and against corruption.

When Daphne died, ministers should have reformed Malta – Martina Farrugia

In her vigil speech marking the year and a half since the murder of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia, Martina Farrugia stated that when she was killed, government ministers should’ve reacted more strongly to what she was writing about, what she stood for and what she faced.

Farrugia said that the Minister for Justice Owen Bonnici should’ve been pushing through reforms to protect journalists. The education minister Evarist Bartolo should have engaged in national campaigns to educate people from youths to adults about democracy, rule of law and the importance of freedoms safeguarded under the European Convention on Human Rights.

She also stressed that the Finance Minister Edward Scicluna, ‘should have bitten the bullet and demanded financial reforms, to tighten the noose around the necks of those who want to use our hard earned financial jurisdiction as a means to launder their dirty money. He should have pushed for the Economic Crimes Unit to be better equipped to handle the like of those cases repeatedly flagged by Daphne in the months prior to her murder.’

Credit: Monique Agius

Instead, Maltese politicians in her words have learned ‘exactly nothing from her assassination,’ instead choosing to institute regulations and clear up any signs of protest about her murder.

‘A nation’s culture is also made up of its values. A nation that protests at the murder of a journalist is a nation in tune with democratic values. It is a culture Minister Owen Bonnici is duty bound to protect.’

She stressed then that with the lack of confidence in the political systems and the negative image and reputation which have been built up, it now falls to civil society to be brave and be loud and encourage others stand.

‘So it falls to civil society to demand better. Yes, it’s a bit scary to stick your neck out. We know that a lot of people are afraid to come to vigils  or voice their opinions because they fear the backlash. We know that firms, both legal and financial, instruct their employees to remain silent and not participate in civil society for fear of lost tenders and income. We know that persons of trust employed by the government have singled out protesters and called for a boycott of their businesses … But ladies and gentlemen, if your livelihood and income is dependent on your submission to and your silence in the face of government corruption and the murder of one of us, then let’s face it. This is a tyranny… So it’s time to be brave. It’s time to stop counting our euros and to recover some national pride. It’s time to demand some standards, to stand up and say, enough. Not in my name. Never again.’

We must strive to deliver

In her vigil speech at Caruana Galizia’s memorial, Eve Borg Constanzi said that that they must carry on delivering the outcomes Daphne hoped to achieve.

Borg Constanzi read about how she had originally been one of those people hesitant to stand up and risk themselves for something they believed in and yet watched Daphne risk her life through her work.

She recalled how she was angry and ashamed about allowing Daphne to fight alone and eventually be killed for it. Compelled by the situation, Borg Constanzi wrote a letter to Daphne expressing her guilt but also her impulse to do something.

She writes:

Dear Daphne,

I never knew you, though I wish I did…but I felt like I did. When I heard news of your assassination, I wept. I wept for hours, days. I felt helpless, but I knew I wanted to do something to help. To help your family, to help your cause, perhaps stupidly, to help you. I know this is no comfort – I wanted to help too late. I should have helped before. I should have stood up to the bullies earlier. I should not have counted on you to fight our battles alone. I am so very sorry for being so selfish. I realise that my and others’ selfishness cost you your life. This is the hardest thing I have had to come to terms with.

But I have stood up now. I believe I am helping. One day, all this will be behind us. Your killers will spend their lives behind bars, Malta will recover, free speech will reign supreme, life will go back to normal – the normal you strove for. And when it does, it will be bitter sweet; for me, but more so for your family, for you will not grow old in the Malta you envisaged and fought for.

When Malta is normal again, I will weep once more, because you will not be here to know it. I hope only that your sons will bring their children up to know the Malta you fought so hard to secure, so that your struggle will not have been in vain.

With all my admiration,

Eve

Borg Constanzi stresses that although Daphne is no longer here to fight, it falls to people like herself and the audience to realise the ambition.

‘Efforts which we must carry on and fruits which we must, nonetheless, strive to deliver. If Daphne believed she alone could change the world, we, being so many, must believe the same.

One day, when this revolution has brought the change it seeks in Malta, and we must believe that it will, I will be proud to tell my children, I was there. And I commend you all, for being able to say the same.’

Also delivering speeches at the vigil were Manuel Delia and psychologist Mary Anne Lauri.

You can read their speeches in Maltese.

Credit: Monique Agius

Denial – Manuel Delia

Credit: Monique Agius

Castille

Shortly after the vigil, a rally was held outside Castille by Occupy Justice.