Lorna Vassallo’s tribal totemism

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2018-12-28T15:23:23+02:00Fri, 28th Dec '18, 15:23|0 Comments

Lorna Vassallo is not some prominent star in the Labour Party firmament. Though she does seem to think she deserves to be more important than she is.

Relying on her opinion of herself, we should measure her perverse tribute to Karin Grech in this Facebook post of hers from this morning as mainstream Labour Party philosophy.

“Good day on the remembrance day of the only confirmed political murder of our country”.

That post lacks everything: human empathy, historical accuracy, even political advantage. It is just plain stupid.

What is Lorna Vassallo trying to say here? Without even giving the girl the dignity of remembering her name, Lorna Vassallo does more than reduce Karin Grech to a tribal totem. In trying to give the episode a measure of exclusivity — in using Karin Grech to show contempt for the memory of Raymond Caruana, she demeans the former by mocking the latter.

Of course Lorna Vassallo thinks she’s being subtle. She seeks to mock Daphne Caruana Galizia reviving the unofficial Labour slander that Daphne Caruana Galizia was accidentally incinerated in a car bomb and that had nothing to do with the fact that she was a journalist and an arch critic of corrupt people in power.

This disturbing logic by people who think of themselves as leaders of the community is exquisitely representative of what we mean by tribalism.

It is irrational and dumb. People who should know better act stupid and talk stupid because the opinions of those who supported them before the conversation even started is more important for them than the merits of what they need to say.

Karin Grech would be 56 years old now had she not come between murderers and their target, presumably her father. No one has ever been brought to justice to pay for this horrible crime. It was an injustice in itself of course. Not because she died instead of her father. No one deserves to be killed, whatever stand they take on anything. Simply because the rest of her life was denied her.

A greater injustice was perpetrated on her every day after that by institutions unwilling or unable to determine the truth about that murder.

Forty-one years of waiting which for long has felt pointless and continues to feel that way even more every day and every year that goes by.

And after all that time someone like Lorna Vassallo is still willing to use Karin Grech’s memory — even as she forgets her name — to restate the foundation myth of a tribe for whom the shooting or the bombing of anyone outside it is not worth remembering.

Because the rest of us are not properly human.