Read first this rundown on The Shift News of the aftermath of a speech given by Matthew Caruana Galizia at the Perugia journalism festival. The story itself includes a link to the speech.
La Repubblica described Matthew Caruana Galizia as the great discovery of the journalism festival. “Bel lavoro, Daphne”. Another job well done by his mother, Daphne. Not just a great journalist.
It was the same week when probably the most famous journalist in the world, Christiane Amanpour, described Daphne Caruana Galizia as “brilliant” in a series of tweets in tribute to our country’s most famous daughter. Amanpour was thinking of and writing about Daphne as she was receiving Variety’s Women of Power award.
I read this after receiving @Variety‘s Women of Power Award in NY.
I was speaking of endangered journalists like the brilliant Daphne Caruana Galizia, who was murdered by a car bomb for investigating corruption at the highest levels of the Maltese govt.https://t.co/aQiYQUW4P5
— Christiane Amanpour (@camanpour) April 7, 2019
It was also the same week that Paul Caruana Galizia wrote about his mother in such powerful and moving terms that I would not dare summarise or presume to distil.
Eighteen months since her taking away and those who mocked her, resented her and demonised her in her life are now consumed with envy and reluctant admiration they cannot confess. Yesterday a wave of them was started by the ever ready Saviour Balzan.
You would compare Saviour Balzan with Shaffer’s Salieri. The only thing Saviour Balzan has that is somehow greater than his nemesis is that he outlived her. But his longevity is a condemnation, a sentence of hard labour, perpetually seeing himself and his work ignored, forgotten, dismissed for what it is: the rants of a provincial hack that once dreamed of independence and integrity and is now on the payroll of crooks whose downfall he foresees but can never escape.
Instead Daphne Caruana Galizia, whose name he could not bring himself to speak and write when she was still alive, is feted by the stars of her profession, immortalised not by hagiographies or martyrdom, but by the hard truths she revealed and that no one can rub off, try as they may.
For that is the lesson that liars learn with hard earned experience. It is easier to spread a lie than to persuade of the truth. But lies are ephemeral; they wilt and wither in the broad light of day, drowned out by unassailable truth.
That’s what La Repubblica took home from Matthew Caruana Galizia’s speech: “before anything else, the truth”. A lesson – nay, a philosophy and a way of life he inherited from the best.
When John Sweeney of the BBC was here last October he said Daphne’s story reminded him of Anna Politkovskaya, the Russian journalist killed for her investigations into Putin’s war machine.
Since then I met more people who knew Politkovskaya. They say she was drawn to the truth like she could not help it: like a moth to light. These exemplary women knew just how dangerous their adventures deep into the jungle of corruption and crime were. They knew better than most.
It’s as if they could not help pursue their mission because truth lay there, hidden but waiting for someone like them to discover it.
That’s why Saviour Balzan started his forty-four word review of Matthew Caruana Galizia’s speech with “lies”. The despair in his words is as clear as it is on the barely concealed quiver on the lips of Joseph Muscat.
Which bit is a lie, Saviour?
At the centre of all this is that Matthew Caruana Galizia’s mother was killed in a car bomb. We all saw that. If you’re mad enough, and many are, you can soothe your conscience by blaming Matthew for his mother’s death: he killed her. They’re desperate enough to tell themselves that.
But if you’re not lying to yourself and see how they’re frustrating any attempt at investigation, using cronies connected to them by marriage to conduct police work through the shredding machine, keeping suspects in positions of power beyond the reach of investigators, lying about leads which grow cold before ever thawing you see the behaviour of criminals in possession of a country.
Consider this tweet by Justin Borg Barthet who noticed that one of the vicious ‘likers’ of Saviour Balzan’s rant was Michael Farrugia, the Home Minister who told the world last November he knows who ordered Daphne Caruana Galizia’s killing. How are we supposed to live with that seeing how invested he is in punishing the victim and her relatives?
Among those who liked/retweeted Balzan’s attack on your mother was @dr_micfarr, the minister responsible for the police force investigating your mother’s murder. He’ll still be in a job on Monday, as will @spgalea, who does PR for @JosephMuscat_JM, and also dutifully retweeted.
— Justin Borg-Barthet (@JustinBBarthet) April 7, 2019
Matthew Caruana Galizia’s comparison of Malta with Russia is entirely legitimate. The apparatus of the State is used to cover up the murder of journalists. We can be sure of that even as they refuse to allow an independent inquiry to verify whether the apparatus of the State was used to perpetrate it.
And the comparison with Russia is also legitimate considering Vladimir Putin’s method of recruiting ‘journalists’ as propagandists using public money to bribe their support. Saviour Balzan is the RT of our context: a puppet stuck to the life support machine of public expenditure. Your tax money funds his collaboration in the greatest kleptocratic and murderous conspiracy ever to have been witnessed in our country.
But there’s fear in his words. Saviour Balzan promised his clients he’d rub off the memory of Daphne Caruana Galizia. He expected that more of his lazy ‘queen of bile’ Sunday morning pieces would work even more effectively once she’s no longer there to answer them.
Then her sons showed up, one of them, the updated incarnation of their possessed hate, a Pulitzer Prize laureate in his own right, and the other two no less strong, focused, articulate and loyal not merely to the memory of their mother – most sons would be – but loyal to the searing pain of wielding the fire of truth as she did.
How does it feel Saviour Balzan to be echoed by such immortal, erudite and exemplary minds as Rosianne Cutajar and Tony Zarb whilst you see Daphne Caruana Galizia echoed by the world?
It must be irksome to be wheeled around, nursing your self-inflicted wounds, in the bedlam of your mind, blessing the rabid, bone-biting acolytes that consider you as some form of patron saint: the patron saint of mediocrity who only gets invited to dinner by the latter day Mephistopheles that is eating you alive.