The protest banners set up in the wee hours of this morning to ask who killed Daphne Caruana Galizia did not see dawn. They were, as was expected, removed.
Although I have not seen them do it, my money, such as it is, is on the police. They removed the banners in the same way they would duty bound to remove any damage caused by a crime. The police are not saying what law it is they are enforcing when they are removing these banners. And they are not saying so because there is none.
The fundamental right of freedom of expression is being suffocated by acts perpetrated by a tyrannical government intolerant of dissent and points of view inconsistent with its own.
Just think. A banner is set up that says ‘Who killed Daphne?’ One can argue that the right of freedom of expression includes the right to insult, to offend, to blaspheme, and to display what some might deem repulsive, even obscene. Our laws hold the hand of power and restrain the government from using its force to silence those who say what it may not approve of.
Just yesterday the European Court of Human Rights overturned the misguided decision of our own domestic courts to support a state censorship body, no longer in existence, that banned a play for swearing.
Labour had screamed blue murder at that decision and promised a liberal paradise where people would be able to swear, and vilifying religion would no longer be a crime. That is a paradise I want to live in.
But I find in this paradise that under the thick foliage and beneath the din of birdsong is a poisonous rot. You are free to vilify deities but you can’t ask mortals, who killed a journalist.
The Joseph-Jugend put up banners two days ago saying they are proud of their politics. Do your politics include the censorship of free expression and the use of police power to silence peaceful protest?
When the vagueness of their campaign struck a discordant cord they clarified that their politics is feminist, liberal, compassionate, that sort of generic over the counter stuff. Is it feminist enough to protest the misogyny that killed Daphne Caruana Galizia? Is it liberal enough to protest the killing of a journalist? Is it compassionate enough to allow fundamental rights of your co-nationals to be crushed by the police?