This is a report on Malta made by Greek TV ERT1 (Ellinikí Radiophonia Tileórasi 1). It focuses particularly on Valletta’s position as European Capital of Culture in the context of a country exposed for massive levels of national and global corruption, corruption uncovered by the investigative journalist, Daphne Caruana Galizia, who was assassinated in Malta on the 16th of October 2017.
Tomorrow marks the 8 month anniversary of her murder.
Since her assassination, revelations about the scale and quantity of the corruption taking place in Malta have been overwhelming. New stories and evidence of gross malpractice, injustice, and a flagrant disregard for any rule of law appear on a more than daily basis. What’s happening in Malta is beyond belief and yet it is all too real.
The following documentary provides insights into the current situation in Malta in which, three months after the brutal murder of the journalist, Valletta indulged in an extravagant opening ceremony to celebrate its new position as European City of Culture. To say this event was undermined by the assassination of the leading critic of the Maltese government is a gross understatement. While Valletta bathed itself in lights awash with politically motivated fantasies, this ostentatious form of celebration stood in stark contrast to the reality: a journalist who spent her life uncovering the intricate networks of deceit, fraud, misconduct and criminality had been blown up in a car bomb, while those responsible for her murder were – and are – basking in impunity.
As an artist and a member of the women’s led protest organisation, Occupy Justice, I’m one of the people who contributes to this documentary. In Malta, unlike most – if not all – European democracies, the artists have been remarkably silent in the face of the dismantling of the rule of law and ongoing attempts by the present government to stifle media freedom and freedom of expression alongside this. Why? Because all roads lead to the government in Malta. Fear coupled with self-interest becomes a self-imposed gag on the articulation of dissent. Human rights, it seems, can be sacrificed in the name of so-called art. And here we truly enter the eternally warped territory of Orwellian doublethink for how can art, which needs life for its existence, emerge from a culture of death? How can art which, by necessity, demands a free and unfettered imagination, be released from the confines of a kow-towing jail? How can art, which is inherently critical in the very moment it finds its own voice, dare to call itself art if merely reflects or implicitly reinforces the grotesque and ever-shifting deceptions of a totalitarian regime?
“Nowadays, anyone who wishes to combat lies and ignorance and to write the truth must overcome at least five difficulties. He must have the courage to write the truth when truth is everywhere opposed; the keenness to recognize it, although it is everywhere concealed; the skill to manipulate it as a weapon; the judgment to select those in whose hands it will be effective; and the running to spread the truth among such persons.” – Bertold Brecht, Galileo