It has been an utterly terrible week for democracy, justice, transparency, freedom of speech and the fight against corruption.
I am, of course, referring to the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia, which has received extensive coverage in newspapers around the world, as indeed it should. Daphne was a brave woman, who had received numerous warnings telling her to shut up. Faced with a choice of risking her life for telling the truth or keeping quiet, she chose the former. Now she has paid the price.
She could have had a great career outside Malta, being a fine investigative journalist. Hers was a considerable talent, and she was a big fish in a small pond. But she loved her country, and she was enraged by the way it had been ruined by corrupt people, and I imagine the idea of leaving Malta, of walking away, of having a new life, never occurred to her.
Maltese people are deeply rooted people. In colonial times the British were keen to solve the problem of overpopulation by persuading as many Maltese as possible to emigrate to Canada or Australia or the countries of the Middle East. But they constantly found that the take up on these offers was not what they had hoped for, and that the Maltese were deeply attached to their own island.
Yet in spite of this love of home, Malta today, once the jewel of the Mediterranean, is a ruined place – environmentally wrecked, socially divided, morally compromised. It has become rich, true, but once the money flees, what will be left? The reputational damage in the wake of Daphne’s murder is irreparable, I fear.
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