Karl Stagno Navarra, for which read Prime Minister Robert Abela, took offence because when asked Repubblika’s Robert Aquilina said it was disappointing the Labour Party was organising a rally for its supporters on 16th October, the fifth anniversary of the killing of Daphne Caruana Galizia.
Somehow Karl Stagno Navarra interpreted this remark as a warning by Repubblika to Bernard Grech that the PN is not to organise a rally of its own on the day.
You never know how to react to that sort of inside out logic. We’d be disappointed by anyone ignoring the fifth anniversary of the killing of a journalist in our midst. How should our disappointment change if it were the Nationalist Party to let us down in this way?
Karl Stagno Navarra then went on a tirade denouncing people for participating in events remembering Daphne Caruana Galizia and the assassination she was the victim of. He names perfectly private persons seeking to cause them trouble at work, punishing them for appearing to think that a journalist should not be killed even if she criticises the Labour Party, and publicly harassing them pour encourager les autres.
How do they manage to make such a self-evidently justified thing as regretting the killing of a journalist because of her work sound so objectionable?
On my brief shifts at City Gate, Valletta, I came across, as others do all too often, people who appear to be full of fury and anger at anyone who names Daphne Caruana Galizia. Yesterday I had my nose in my phone while I was walking down Republic Street when I heard a man growling aloud at the sight of the large photo of Daphne we set up outside Parliament.
“How do they do it?” he asked, I thought to no one in particular. “How do they make a saint out of the woman who wanted all Labour children to die of cancer.”
I made the error of reacting. “Did you hear her say that? Or did you read it somewhere?” I challenged him. By this time, I had looked up at my phone straight at the man with the loud growl. And the other dozen people stuck around him. It was a long, loud walk down Republic Street.
This morning a man wearing a tag of a tourist guide around his neck called out to me from the middle of the square outside City Gate. “If she was still alive,” he shouted, “I’d kill her myself.”
“Why would you say that?” I challenged him. Another soul-destroying loud exchange followed though I should say the man finally acknowledged that even if the things he was told Daphne wrote were true, the death penalty is still disproportionate. He did not, however, withdraw his own perversely posthumous fatwa.
Later I realised that someone had slashed at the big Daphne photo outside Parliament using what to my inexpert assessment was probably some sort of knife. The slashes were made across the image of Daphne’s lips. Even now they hate the memory of her words and want them to be silenced. They are willing to use violence, weapons, just to shut her up.
Why remember Daphne 5 years later? Because this still happens. Because we still have Karl Stagno Navarra on the ruling party’s TV station leading the public lynching of anyone with an opinion that does not conform to the ruling diktats of his employer Robert Abela.
Because free speech is threatened today as it was the day Daphne was killed, that even the lips of a dead journalist on a mute photo draws the anger of the cultists who support the government and justifies in their mind the use of violence just so they can have the last word.
Having those loud conversations in the middle of Republic Street with angry people who seriously believe you are speaking for a witch who curses children with deadly disease because their parents vote Labour, I know, is not for everyone. I’m not entirely sure it’s even for me.
And given the retribution the government will inflict on anyone who is seen to be participating in events organised in memory of Daphne, I can see why so many prefer to keep their heads well beneath the parapet.
In one of her articles, Daphne had this descriptor for our country. “Malta: the place where bad things happen because those who can stop them are either completely useless or too busy protecting their own interests, making hay while the sun shines or saving their neck while watching others go under the guillotine.”
If you’re reading this you don’t want to let bad things happen, not, at least, without trying to get in the way of the inexorable martial march of fascist hegemony that is trampling on any form of dissent.
Come to the march on Sunday. Don’t let them think they can slash your lips and mute you.