For more than twenty years, I worked for the government of my country; specifically in the town hall of a large municipality located next to the city of Madrid, in Spain.
I loved my job, I was a public employee by vocation. Around the year 2007, they began to pressure me to sign illegal contracts, which benefited corrupt politicians.
I refused so they tried to bribe me and as I did not accept, they changed their strategy and I began to suffer work-related harassment until I fell into a depression.
I realized that the place where I worked was a nest of corruption, and I decided to dedicate my time off work to do research. It was then that I discovered that I was facing a nationwide corruption case, not simply local. It involved the whole country.
So I finally presented a dossier of about three hundred pages to the Anti-Corruption
Prosecutor’s Office. It is what today is called the “Gürtel” case and it led to the arrest of many Popular Party politicians who held high positions in the government, until finally; In June 2018 the President of the Government (Mariano Rajoy) had to resign from his post and with it, his Government fell.
Since I started this battle, my life took a radical turn. I received death threats, persecutions, they tried to throw me out of the road to the roadside, I witnessed how my colleagues whom I considered lifelong friends, lied against me in trials, I had to leave my house because I fell into absolute poverty, since I had no money to eat.
But this is not the important thing, I do not want to entertain you talking about me. The important thing is that there are many cases in the world like Daphne’s or like mine; in which the system hits us hard punishing us for doing the right thing. In my case, it is a death in life, a living death, in which I have lost everything except my dignity and my principles. And unfortunately, in the case of Daphne, it was a physical death, though not of spirit; because she is here present with us.
Today I would like to transmit a message of hope. We all know how the system works, with its large tentacles of power. But just as corrupt psychopaths weave their nets; we, those of us who believe that we can transform the world, fight against injustice and lack of protection, and without hardly realizing it, we are also weaving our networks.
Networks based on ethics, solidarity, where justice is the same for everyone … And that is the key so that future generations do not have to be victims of the system.
It is true that our pain or our moments of anger will never be repaid; but precisely our union, the union and the struggle of all of us here and in other parts of the world is happening every day. And with that, we are getting small achievements that will one day be a Victory.
Who would have told us a few decades ago that women would have the right to vote?
We owe our rights to people who fought for us. Now we have taken over, and in the long run, we will get things to change. It is the only way to achieve it. Each person from their environment, with a greater or lesser degree of involvement, but it is the only way to achieve it.
Daphne Caruana Galizia, has been one of the bravest women in history, who was not afraid to report the truth. And despite the terrible consequences, she is the reason that we are all together today. It’s her strength that helps us fight against injustice and abuse of power.
I did not have the opportunity to meet her in person, but sometimes life is magical. And thanks to the Anticorruption award that Transparency International gave us both last year, I was fortunate to meet her family. Since then I have read a lot about her, but I never imagined that because of life circumstances I would be living in Malta today; and that when I look into the eyes of each and every one of you I am seeing your greatness, and what she was able to convey.
It is an honour for me to be accompanied by all of you, unique and special beings; and I owe that to her.
I would like to finish my speech with a quote from the journalist Eduardo Galeano, which for me is a gift and I would like to share with you:
“Many small people in small places, doing small things can change the world.”
A kiss for Daphne, wherever you are, one day we will be together.
Thank you very much for listening to me.