Peter Caruana Galizia has spoken out for the first time since his wife Daphne Caruana Galizia was assassinated in a car bomb last month – at a ceremony in the European Parliament held to rename the institution’s press room in his wife’s honour.
At times choking up, Peter Caruana Galizia described his late wife as a brave investigative journalist with a strong sense of injustice at the rise criminality in Malta and, on a more personal level, a passion for the beautiful things in life.
We are reproducing his full speech verbatim below:
“My wife Daphne was an extraordinary woman, but you probably know this already because no one would go to such lengths to silence a woman who doesn’t matter. My wife was killed because she mattered, because the powerful were afraid of her and because the criminals were infuriated by her. When all legal means were exhausted and when all threats proved ineffective, there was only one solution left. My wife was executed suddenly, mercilessly and violently a few metres away from the home in which we raised our family.
To say my wife is brave…was brave, sorry, is true, but bravery has little value without a sense of purpose and a sense of injustice and without a capacity for outrage. Daphne’s investigative work taught her more than anyone cared to know about Malta’s underworld and its links to politics, about how laws are bent to favour the powerful and public goods diverted to private interests.
Peter Caruana Galizia with European Parliament president Antonio Tajani
But Daphne never grew cynical; she grew outraged and appalled by the increasingly sordid and frightening facts that emerged from her work. The more frustrated she grew at the state of our country, the more beautiful our garden became, the more trees she planted, the more books, art, ornaments and curiosities from all over the world arrived at our home. Daphne created, in the words of one of my sons, a parallel world of beauty in a country that slipped further and further away from European values and norms of behaviour which she held so closely.
Meanwhile, Daphnes work never slowed. With every story she broke, particularly about the money laundering network with links deep and wide connecting many of Malta’s political and business elite, her readership grew larger and more loyal.
“Daphne never grew cynical; she grew outraged and appalled by the increasingly sordid and frightening facts that emerged from her work.”
Peter Caruana Galizia
EPP president Manfred Weber greets the Caruana Galizia family
When Daphne’s assets were frozen by the current economy minister in an attempt to silence her once and for all, the funds she needed to continue writing were raised by the Maltese public within under 24 hours. Still, my wife died without access to her bank account. The threats she faced only escalated, and there remain 47 libel cases pending against her, including five criminal cases. My sons and I continue to fight 36 of these cases, as the plaintiffs have decided to continue the cases despite her death. In the past few months alone, my eldest son was sued by the Prime Minister, my middle son was recalled from a diplomatic posting, and our family dog was poisoned and survived only thanks to my wife’s care. And then the unthinkable happened.
My family and I, the Maltese people and all of Europe have been forced to accept a new reality – one in which there are no longer any red lines, where the physical elimination of a dissenting voice is possible and where those responsible have every chance of getting away with it. Today I am reminded that no matter what happened to Daphne, no matter how hard certain forces will work to distort her work even in her death, she still lives on.
“My family and I, the Maltese people and all of Europe have been forced to accept a new reality – one in which there are no longer any red lines”
Peter Caruana Galizia
Daphne lives on in my three sons who have so much of her strength and integrity, she lives on in the people who choose to protect her legacy rather than manipulate it, she lives on in the courage that some of Malta’s journalists have recently found and in the outrage of the most influential reporters in the world who recognized Daphne as one of their own. She lives on in the voices my compatriots have found against the injustices they see in their midst. And now thanks to all of you and to President Tajani, her memory and legacy will live on in the European Parliament.”