Matthew Caruana Galizia reacted a few minutes ago to a video making the rounds on Facebook of an incident that occurred a few days ago when a woman sought to destroy the flowers and candles left on the improvised memorial to his mother:

People are sending me a video of an old woman destroying the memorial to my mother. This is what I have to say on the matter. I am neither shocked, nor surprised.

What else can I say? This might be new to everyone, but for my brothers and I, it’s the story of our lives.

I’m reminded that I grew up thinking that it’s normal to come home from school and find your dog on the doorstep with its throat slit and to have your house set on fire twice while you were asleep inside.

The abuse started decades ago and culminated in our mother’s assassination. You can’t murder someone twice, so now we’ve fallen back to habitual harassment and vilification.

I’m frustrated that I wasn’t there in that moment, because if I were, I’d take that woman aside, walk her to a bench and ask her what turned her into a monster and whether she wants to be human.

She’ll probably tell me that she doesn’t even own a computer, never bought an independent newspaper, never read a single thing my mother wrote, and was instructed to hate her by party propaganda.

My mother and her family made it through all those years of harassment because we had a vision for Malta that was different. That’s what kept us going.

What is Malta, in that vision? I’m reminded of something I read about France two years ago, but which I can no longer find.

Malta is going into the garden and making a sieve with your fingers as you run fennel stalks through them, letting the dry seeds fall into your palms.

Packing an entire day of work into a morning and driving to the beach with your kids on a Tuesday afternoon. The freedom to get down on the pavement and praise Allah wherever you are.

Getting a ripe tomato and squashing it onto a thick, crusty slice of bread. The sense of security provided by watching a prime minister announce that corrupt politicians are going to be prosecuted.

Dangling your legs in the water and drinking a Coke. Ice-cream dripping all the way down your arm. Investigating crimes committed by members of government without getting blown up.

The sound of a thousand birds. Work that you can be proud of. Ripe figs on the tree, the colour of amethyst.

Sharing a bottle of wine with friends and talking about the wider world. The freedom to leave. The freedom to come back.

They hate us because this is what we want.