To say that I’ve been shaken to my roots during the past couple of days is an understatement. I read the news every day, all the time, constantly seeing Malta being plastered all around the globe with what appears to be one of its worst periods in history: the assassination of blogger Daphne Caruana Galizia.
I in no way want to go into the merits of what happened, why it happened and how it happened: I am very far from being qualified to do so. The only thing I am qualified to be is a citizen – I’m qualified to be Maltese, willingly (or so I like to think) living abroad.
“Why did you leave Malta?”
And being such makes me constantly posed the question “why did you leave?” to which I never really know what to answer. Why did I leave? I can safely say that these past couple of days have provided at least one person with an answer: they’ve given me the answer to why I left, and this is why.
In our attempt to fill the fruit basket with beautiful and fresh fruit, we’ve somehow forgetten the rotten fruit at the bottom, ruining the basket each and every time. We’ve become so concerned with moving forward that we forgot to heal the pain that was making us limp in the first place. And alas, we fell. We fell back to our roots. We fell back to what they told us was over. They had us believing that Malta changed, we’re open-minded, we’ve finally caught up with our European counterparts. But we haven’t – we’re still the post-colonial people ready to use anyone, anything as a scapegoat – let us blame them, not us, they’re in power (we’ve elected them).
We’re still stuck in the “let us not anger the ones above us for we’re too scared of what they can do if we do so”, but we still expect change whilst being scared of it. Most are just the roudy group in class, ready to kick the ass of that one student who dares tell the teacher what is going on when she’s not looking. We’re still fine with not telling anyone what is going on for the fear that things will get worse – we can solve it ourselves, we do not need to anger anyone higher in the hierarchy.
I’m not pointing fingers
I do not think that pointing fingers can in no way make this tragedy acceptable for anyone. Nor finding the culprits. It does not change the fact that it happened. It does not change the fact that we’ve created a situation in Malta where these things are allowed to happen. The pot does not overflow with boiling water because the pot is inadequate, but because it was filled too much or else because the temperature needed to be regulated. It is not the pot’s fault, nor the liquid’s fault – the responsibility is of whom should have been taking care of it, and didn’t. And I am not even speaking about any government in particular, no individual in particular, I’m speaking about the system – the people who have been in some way in authority, in which ever position during the past years.
It pains me to see local newspapers solely filled with articles about DCG, not because she does not deserve the exposure, but knowing that had there not been this case, these newspapers would have been filled with copy and pasted press releases amplifying what the government is or isn’t doing, filled with international news plagarized from foreign news portals. It pains me because now we know. Now we know that that is not what is going on in Malta – there is much, much more. Much deeper, darker and shocking things going on which are not being investigated or released. Because if you do so, what happens? If you do so we risk changing, we risk defying the rotten fruit at the bottom of the basket, and apparently, that is not what we want.
It feels almost like a betrayal, it feels like I was given yet another reason to say, “I’m sorry Malta, I cannot come back”. I cannot come back not because of your narrow streets but because those narrow streets hide secrets which are better left unsaid – at the risk of never moving forward. I cannot come back because I no longer feel welcome in a country that has given everything to please the foreigner, forgetting the Maltese it drove away in the process. I cannot come back because it no longer feels like home – this is not my Malta. I’m sorry.