Former Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi has expressed his disappointment at the lack of public outrage in the wake of Daphne Caruana Galizia’s murder, urging Maltese people to “speak to your conscience”.
“What in heaven’s name has happened to us?” Gonzi told an audience at the Mediterranean Conference Centre. “We are essentially a peace-loving people who share the limited space on an island and who have remained strong in the face of all forms of adversity that history has thrown at us. We have overcome the vicissitudes of war, financial turmoil and occupation and have remained strong in our convictions, values and inbuilt tendency to help anyone who is in trouble. What has happened? Where is our sense of solidarity towards all those who try their best to serve Malta, who believe in honesty and integrity and who believe truth will prevail? Where is our sense of disgust and indignation, where is our determination to stand by our beliefs even if it costs us our comfort?”
“Daphne’s legacy speaks to our conscience, the collective conscience of a Maltese nation that rebels whenever something happens to one of its children. When one of Malta’s children is assassinated in the cruellest manner, we should all be standing against it.”
PN MEP David Casa pledged that Caruana Galizia’s voice will remain alive through him
Gonzi was a guest speaker at an event organised by PN MEP David Casa on occasion of the first anniversary of Caruana Galizia’s murder, which was well attended by activists and local and foreign journalists, including the BBC’s John Sweeney.
Several PN politicians also turned up, not only those who frequently attend vigils to commemorate Caruana Galizia, but also the likes of deputy leader David Agius and MP Kristy Debono, who are seen as closer to PN leader Adrian Delia.
Casa delivered a passionate opening speech, pledging to “continue acting as Caruana Galizia’s voice” for as long as he lives,
“It is terrifying and lonely standing up to people with powerful resources who will stop at nothing to eliminate those who stand against them,” he said. “However, Daphne didn’t back down and neither will I.”
Other guest speakers included NET’s political editor John Zammit, Occupy Justice activist and actress Pia Zammit, representatives from Reporters Without Borders and the Committee to Protect Journalists, and MEPs Stelios Kologlou and Ana Gomes.
Gomes, a longtime critic of the Maltese government and taxation system, had the audience on its feet when she ripped into the way the Maltese police are conducting their investigation into Caruana Galizia’s murder.
“The police investigation is being obstructed, and indeed Europol told me in a letter that they have encountered government-imposed limitations,” she said. “Many people are asking for a public inquiry into whether the murder should be prevented, but that is not enough. We need a proper and serious international investigation by Europol because the Maltese police have not shown their competence to investigate the murder and corruption cases.”
Portuguese MEP Ana Gomes came down hard on the police investigations into Caruana Galizia’s murder
“People like [Economy Minister] Chris Cardona, who were seen drinking with and talking to some of the murder suspects, ought to have been interrogated but haven’t.”
Also noteworthy was a speech delivered by Malta Employers’ Association president and artist Joseph Farrugia, who used the occasion to exhibit a series of charcoal paintings portraying the way people tried to silence Caruana Galizia during her lifetime before eventually killing her off.
The late journalist is depicted throughout as a goldfinch, to symbolise virtue, perseverance and sacrifice.
“I have been driven by an irresistible compulsion to vent my anger and protest and to contribute in a small way to keeping Daphne’s story alive,” he said. “I’ve got to say that I’m ashamed that so many of our artists have kept silent and detached themselves from this reality thanks to a soulless blend of apathy and fear of missed opportunity. It is our collective responsibility to keep her memory alive, to fight her iconoclast who now wants to sadistically erase her from our collective memory, or worse, replace her image with one that suits their agenda.”