Yesterday brought back the 80s for me. In 1981 - when I was in Form IV - it was suddenly compulsory to have a School Leaving Certificate in Arabic if I wanted to attend the New Lyceum sixth form and the University of Malta. It was a time of huge political turmoil – photos of women with their noses bitten off at some political rally on the front pages of newspapers, political murders, my father and various other relatives losing their jobs for a few months because they obeyed the call for civil disobedience by the Opposition…
I went from being a very laid back, successful student to one who couldn’t focus. I lost hope and faith that I would ever get to university. I became exam phobic and struggled through my O level and A level years. Some of my peers took a year out to get another A in a fourth A level in order to compensate for the loss of points because of their church school attendance.
Politics getting in the way of young people’s futures, the well-being of entire families. Politics killing blameless young people caught in the cross fire in the wrong place at the wrong time. A generation of young people scarred because of what they witnessed, what they lived through.
Today’s young people cannot begin to imagine what our lives were like then. Daphne Caruana Galizia was a couple of years ahead of me at school. She went through these times too. They helped shape her into the tour de force she undoubtedly became.
Yesterday was another black day for Malta. There have been many over the history of our young nation. In the last decade or so, we seem to have lost our way even more so. Many derelictions of duty by many institutions that should have stepped in long ago to stop the creeping rot in its tracks.
But the rot stops here. Whatever you think of Daphne Caruana Galizia all of us need to be united against the monstrous people all over Facebook who proclaim loudly, with great pride, that she deserved her assassination. The monstrous people who got into their cars and into carcades to celebrate this most heinous crime.
I try to pity them. Because they do not see that as much as they are celebrating her assassination, they are also celebrating the untold harm done to Malta yesterday.
Yes – we should have this kind of unity. Daphne Caruana Galizia – agree with her or not – showed no fear or favour when it came to who received the brunt of her biting criticism. She was totally her own person. She criticized people from both sides of the political divide.
We need to be our own people – each and every one of us. Forget red/blue, landlord/tenant, rich/poor, Maltese/foreigner…
No more tribes.
Let’s direct our anger at the macabre fools who celebrate. Let’s direct our anger at the corrupt, at our dysfunctional institutions, at the tax evading, tax avoiding criminals, at the money launderers, at the human traffickers, at the drug traffickers, at the despoilers and degraders of Malta, at the egotistical, at the ‘as long as I’m all right Jacks’.
Whoever killed courageous Daphne Caruana Galizia in this, the most cowardly of ways, did so in a climate of weakened institutions. Politics is once again getting in the way of ordinary people living their lives, dreaming their dreams.
We cannot have this. All people of good will need to stop this.
The rot stops here.