Left: People lay flowers at the memorial (Photo – Occupy Justice); Right: Last year’s Victory Day ceremony (Photo – Church in Malta)
The Valletta memorial to assassinated journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia is facing an uncertain immediate future as the country’s highest dignitaries are set to use its location for the annual Victory Day ceremony.
As per tradition, dignitaries will gather at the Great Siege Monument on Thursday evening in honour of the Maltese people who perished in the Great Siege, the French blockade of Valletta and the Second World War.
Lawyer and historian Prof. Raymond Mangion will deliver a speech, after which dignitaries, including deputy Prime Minister Chris Fearne, Opposition leader Adrian Delia and Speaker Anglu Farrugia, will lay wreaths at the foot of the monument. Fearne has been invited in the stead of Prime Minister Joseph Muscat, who will be abroad on the day.
Yet the foot of the memorial has been occupied by candles, flowers and other tributes to Daphne Caruana Galizia ever since the journalist was killed in a car bomb last October. The memorial has become a monthly meeting place for people demanding justice for Caruana Galizia’s murder and corruption stories and has proven popular among tourists visiting the capital.
The memorial has been cleared several times
However, if it isn’t removed ahead of the ceremony, it will place the three dignitaries in an embarrassing situation as Caruana Galizia had written extensively about all three of them in her blog.
Fearne will be there as a representative of the government, who Caruana Galizia’s family has accused of fostering a culture of impunity which rendered the journalist’s assassination possible.
Delia had clashed with Caruana Galizia in her lifetime after she accused him of having helped launder money from a Soho prostitution ring in the early 2000s. After Caruana Galizia’s death, her family demanded the PN leader stay away from protests calling for justice for their murdered relative.
As a police inspector in 1984, Farrugia had actually arrested and charged a 19-year-old Caruana Galizia for taking part in a demonstration.
According to Caruana Galizia, Farrugia had forced her to sign a false confession on threat of being thrown back into a dark cell with faeces-smeared walls and a metal bucket for a lavatory.
The Victory Day ceremony will therefore force the government to confront the memorial for the first time. While the memorial has been destroyed several times by people who disliked Daphne Caruana Galizia, the government itself has so far refused to weigh into the controversy.
Lovin Malta has asked the Culture Ministry whether the memorial will remain in place during the Victory Day ceremony but has yet to receive a response as of the time of writing.