By Patricia Azzopardi Preziosi

Dear Daphne,

Your mutilated body will be laid to rest this afternoon. I pray constantly to the God I believe in to give your loved ones the strength to endure the unendurable for the rest of their lives – which they are going to be forced to do because of the vicious behaviour of the Intolerant.

I won’t be physically present at Mosta this afternoon. I believe that your family and friends have the right to lay you to rest without the presence of people who didn’t know you personally. I will, however, continue to protest as vociferously as I am able to against the crumbling of our institutions, which was reflected in this atrocity perpetrated against a compatriot who dared raise her voice in indignation because not all those who break the law are made to face justice.

We have to keep on protesting until the institutions function properly again, before the Intolerant get bolder and more audacious and commit more atrocities.

I salute you, brave woman. You had the gift of crystallising your thoughts in ways that made coherent sense to those of us who care for their country and would like to pass it on to the next generation better than we found it. You had the guts to say things I thought, but would never dare say in public – especially during the 1980s. Pre-internet days, after you left The Times, I used to buy the Malta Independent on Thursdays purely and simply because your article was printed on that day.

You had the guts to stand up for what is right despite almost always being the lone voice crying in the wilderness. I didn’t always agree with the way you wrote, but that was your style. And after thirty years of shouting from the rooftops, mostly alone, I salute your resilience and your unwavering conviction that some day we will listen, as opposed to just hear, and understand, and raise our voices together with yours. Your voice has been silenced, Daphne, but others are now trying to fill the void you have left. Your place in history is cemented and globally acknowledged already.

I pray to the God I believe in that your blood will not have been shed in vain, and will finish off with the words written by Dun Karm: “Agħti, kbir Alla, id-dehen lil min jaħkimha”.