Speaking up against injustice and corruption is difficult, and often the road less traveled by; however, it is the only choice we have if we desire a prosperous society. Daphne Caruana Galizia, a Maltese journalist, epitomized this struggle by becoming a thorn in the path of scandalous elites — those who usurped the rights of the marginalized and attempted to deceive the common man.
Galizia was an anti-corruption journalist who became famous for her unforgiving investigative journalism. She exposed the works of high profile elites and was most famous for being the first to report that Malta’s Government Minister Konrad Mizzi, Prime Minister Joseph Muscat’s chief of staff, and the PM himself were connected to the Panama leaks. These reports instigated street protests and eventually triggered the PM to call for early elections that year.
“She single-handedly brought the Government to the verge of collapse,” one MP told Politico EU.
Galizia’s post were intended to expose the “cronyism” of Malta’s institutions and hold them accountable to the people they were supposed to be representing. From exposing the corruption within the police force, to the lies of politicians from across party-lines, to the exploitation carried out by big businesses or the illegal financial dealings of the PM, Galizia consistently “sticks it to the man” through her devotion to truth and justice.
It was this courageous attitude of hers that made her the most read journalist in Malta. Her blog, Running Commentary, attracted up to 400,000 readers on a good day, considering Malta’s population is only 450,000. This relentless pursuit of truth led her to be labelled among Politico’s 2016 list of, “28 people who are shaping, shaking and stirring Europe,” describing her as a “one woman WikiLeaks.”
However, her approach toward investigative journalism, though fearless, had a major cost as well. In 1995, her door was doused with fuel and set ablaze. Soon after, her dog was killed and left in front of her home with a slit throat. In 2006, after publishing an article critiquing and defaming Neo-Nazi groups in Malta, a stack of tires were placed behind her house and set on fire in an attempt to burn her house down.
These attacks, along with countless legal cases against her by politicians, never caused her to falter. Rather, they made her even more fierce in her approach.
Unfortunately, on October 10, 2017, those who sought to silence her throughout her life eventually succeeded. Galizia was killed in a car bomb that set her car on fire and caused it to explode. This attack happened only 30 minutes after she had published her last blog, in which her final lines can be interpreted as an eerie legacy. She wrote,
“There are crooks everywhere you look now. The situation is desperate.”
Galizia’s son, Matthew Caruana Galazia, aptly wrote on Facebook,
“My mother was assassinated because she stood between the rule of law and those who sought to violate it.”
Although her murderers may think they have won the battle by killing Galazia, they are naïve to think that they will win the war. Those in power have forgotten that the global war against corruption has the most powerful weapon on their side: a voice, a pen, and the determination to reveal the truth. Galizia not only taught us who to fight, but how to fight them. We must never accept a life of humiliation and fear, especially at the hands of those who seek nothing but power and profit. We all have the ability to ensure that the death of Daphne Caruana Galizia does not go in vain. We all have the pen and the intellect to continue her legacy.