‘Irrelevant!?’ – How insensitive! What a morbid, dark, evil sense of humour!

16th October 2017 – 2.35 p.m. – ‘There are crooks everywhere you look now. The situation is desperate.’ – 25 minutes later Daphne Caruana Galizia is assassinated.

I wonder how many of us had ever imagined how prophetic her incisive last piece of conversation with us would turn out to be. All of us know that corruption and criminality are a part of life, but ‘crooks everywhere?’ – ‘the situation is desperate?’ – surely not. ‘This time she must be exaggerating’ a good many of us must have said.

I can quite understand the vitriolic way in which many responded to what she criticised. That is not to say that they were correct but all of us, to various levels, are frequently subjected to the herd instinct and allow ourselves to be led by the nose. Politicians revel in touching that instinct and are euphoric when they see it working so that they can prime their supporters further into a frenzied ecstatic state, and let’s face it, the lady never pandered to any quarters asked or given. Indeed when she was at the receiving end, this only served to hone her darts further.

But this is no longer 2017. It is now more than 3 years later and the very vast majority of the issues she wrote about, the filth that she uncovered and the exposure of those accountable for all the criminality and corruption into which the whole country is steeped, have been proven to be correct. Malta has indeed been turned into a mafia state and instead of having a government, hell-bent on improving our way of life, irrespective of whether this is done to the approval of all, we have been subjected to a mob who throughout its tenure did nothing but, screw, defile, rape and rob the country from most of its assets to gorge themselves so greedily as to make pigs look like ascetic monks.

Which brings me to my point: now that what she had reported, surfaced as the truth, why is there no significant sign of repentance from those who hassled, insulted, and stripped her of all that is human and demonised her with such venom and hatred one would not think possible?

Surely, everybody would like to see their country revered abroad and enjoy an impeccable reputation on the international scene instead of having their prime minister crowned as the most corrupt politician in organised crime. It is true that an important clean-up has been effected; we have seen the back of Joseph Muscat together with Keith Schembri, Konrad Mizzi, Chris Cardona, as well as some unsavoury characters like the police commissioner, the attorney general, Neville Gafà, Brian Tonna, Karl Cini not to mention the kicking upstairs of the minister for finance. But this did not happen because the general public has been shaken out of their slumber. This only happened through the indefatigable efforts of Repubblika, Occupy Justice and the Shift News among others, inspired by the ever-relevant, Daphne Caruana Galizia.

In 2008, a new kid appeared on the political block – Joseph Muscat; to challenge a tiring party after too many years in power. Democracy is always very much in favour of changing a broom when it is no longer deemed to be sweeping clean. The time was ripe for Joseph Muscat. He entered the scene with so many niceties. Indeed he did not shirk from denigrating and taking to task his own party of the ‘80s for being the most corrupt and most violent in Malta’s political history. He promised a whole list of what, he said, the general public had long been yearning for – zero tolerance to corruption, transparency, accountability, meritocracy; you name it and as long as it sounded good, it poured out of his lips. It was no surprise, therefore, that in 2013 he crashed into power with a resounding majority.

An honest electorate had given our country the government it deserved. But was it and did it? I mean, how honest was the electorate and was this what our country deserved?

No sooner had the new cabinet of ministers started warming their chairs of office when Muscat’s promises did an opening of Pandora’s Box and like its spirits, they started flying out of the window. Scandal after scandal after scandal started making their presence felt, each one worse than the previous, made manifest, mainly through the intrepid digging of Caruana Galizia with the help of her ‘international world wide web’ of helpers and associates. Eventually, Muscat’s predicted landslide victories turned into landslide exits and he and a good number of his buddies were summarily ushered out of office in disgrace.

But was he? Many still believe that while he’s absent in body he is still very much there in spirit, calling the shots through a newly found mouthpiece, namely, Robert Abela.

Hope is very commendable, but when it makes us throw caution to the wind by replacing vigilance, it can prove to be counter-productive. When Abela replaced Muscat as prime minister, some perceived a breath of fresh air, hoping that, maybe, just maybe, Malta might be able to take a step towards normality and indeed, if truth be told some changes did take place.

These, however, proved to be no more than an actor’s make-up. A new buzz-word was created – ‘continuity’ – and truly enough not only are corruption and criminality still rife but, now, these walk hand in hand with total inefficiency and amateurism. There is little that is less dangerous than the presumption of wisdom when one is so glaringly stupid. In a futile attempt to mark himself as ‘his own man’, he is ushering out the old – mainly by shifting them elsewhere, or kicking them upstairs – and bringing in the new – mainly with not much productivity to speak of. Tiny Malta now has a cabinet of ministers larger even than that of Germany, contributing next to nothing except for a further drain on our finances.

Covid-19 has been approached with total indifference and a high disregard to the advice given by competent authorities, until, from a previously well-contained issue we are now, relatively speaking, among the most infected in the world, while the criminal and the corrupt are still prancing around to their heart’s delight, tragically enough, because most of those harkening to Muscat’s promises of all that is commendable, pre-2013, seem to be quite comfortable with the infestation and decomposition in which our country manifests itself.

Which brings us back to the opening of my, rather long-winded, article. Not only is ‘the situation desperate’, but for as long as the larger chunk of the population remain in sweet hibernation and will not or cannot take the bull by the horns and declare that enough is enough, the ‘situation is fast becoming beyond repair’.

The only remaining solution will depend on a long patient wait until this corrupt lot will cause an implosion within their ranks.

But, on top of this, Daphne’s spirit keeps marching on urging us to wake up, undaunted and Invicta.