A memorial for Daphne Caruana Galizia: poems for a murdered journalist

Maltese authorities destroyed a memorial so PEN International devised a poetry memorial

Maltese investigative journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia  in  2011. Photograph: Darrin Zammit Lupi / Reuters

Maltese investigative journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia in 2011. Photograph: Darrin Zammit Lupi / Reuters

 

Today is the second anniversary of the shocking murder of Maltese journalist and anti-corruption campaigner Daphne Caruana Galizia. That afternoon, she posted a blog stating that the situation in Malta was desperate and drove away from her home. Within minutes, a bomb that had been planted under her car exploded, killing her. She had been under threat for a considerable time because of her work exposing corruption in Maltese society and politics.

Two years later, three men have been charged with her murder but no trial date has been set, nor have the people who instigated the crime been identified. Authorities in Malta have only recently announced that they will set up an enquiry. However, Caruana Galizia’s family and many international free-expression campaign groups continue to call for a completely independent and impartial enquiry, as they have done since the day of her assasination.

A memorial in Valetta has been repeatedly destroyed by the authorities. In response, PEN International has devised a poetry memorial as a tribute to her courage and her dedication to real journalism. Their International Campaigns manager, Sahar Halaimzai, says: “Two years is already far too long for Daphne Caruana Galizia’s family to get justice. Not only are they having to deal with the brutal way in which Daphne was taken from them, they are also facing several posthumous defamation cases against her, including by prime minister Joseph Muscat, who has continuously demonstrated his contempt for anyone campaigning on her behalf. Maltese authorities should not let another day go by without putting all their efforts into identifying the masterminds behind her murder and bringing them to justice.”

A vigil to honour the memory of Daphne Caruana Galizia and call for justice will be held in London in The Challoner Hall, 24 Golden Square, on Wednesday, October 16th, at 7.30pm. The vigil is co-sponsored and organised by groups including the Maltese community in London, ARTICLE 19, Index on Censorship, PEN International and Reporters Without Borders. Other vigils are planned in Malta and in other European cities. The PEN International poetry memorial is an ongoing project: https://pen-international.org/news/daphne-caruana-galizia-poetry-memorial

Thousands gather for a national rally to demand justice for murdered Maltese journalist and anti-corruption blogger Daphne Caruana Galizia in the island’s capital Valletta on October 22nd, 2017. Photograph: Matthew Mirabelli/AFP/Getty Images
Thousands gather for a national rally to demand justice for murdered Maltese journalist and anti-corruption blogger Daphne Caruana Galizia in the island’s capital Valletta on October 22nd, 2017. Photograph: Matthew Mirabelli/AFP/Getty Images
A woman places flowers at the scene of the assassination of investigative journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia, killed in a car bomb attack in Malta on October 16th, 2017. Photograph: Darrin Zammit Lupi / Reuters
A woman places flowers at the scene of the assassination of investigative journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia, killed in a car bomb attack in Malta on October 16th, 2017. Photograph: Darrin Zammit Lupi / Reuters

Labhras : Laurel | Celia de Fréine, Irish PEN

i gcuimhne ar: in memory of
Daphne Caruana Galizia

Seasann do shaothar go daingean
i gcoinne na gaoithe
i gcóngar

I gcéin
déantar páipear de do choirt
go gcaomhnaítear do bhriathra
i dtéacsanna diaga

Your work stands firm
against the wind
hereabouts

In far-off lands
paper is made from your bark
that your words be preserved
in sacred texts

In Memory of Daphne Caruana Galizia | Dennis Haskell, PEN Perth

A perfectly ordinary working day: Daphne turns a key
and suddenly all her words become memorials.

It is a kind of black magic.

A government frightened of remembering
turns a blind eye, whereby
power turns into disgrace.
Malta: this sun-laden, holiday- enticing
island turns into a murderous place.

Malta – Assassination Day | Eeltsje Hettinga

Under a moon full-grown and white
like a wild potato gone mad,
a man sits, half in darkness,
alone and smoking on his veranda,
floor strewn with advertising,
newspapers and brochures about temples
and cities and five-star hotels.
But grim is the news driven
by the machinery of death, the island
lays bare its whitewashed tombs.
A single bomb blew a car almost
over the mountains and left the tongue
that made life hell for Malta’s mafia
dead and charred. Like crows
the potato sacks took wing over hills
closely planted with seed potatoes from
Het Bildt. Ai, watch your back, Jack,
now night has fallen in Europe.
In the valley of death they torched the word
the way they once slid books into the flames.
Translation: David Colmer

Bonehouse | Nuala O’Connor
i.m. Daphne Caruana Galizia

You may have taken my body,
scattered me with your bomb
for my son to find, part by part,
but my body was only a bonehouse.

I was more than skin and sinew,
more than blood and cells,
more than brain and heart.
I was questions and I was answers,
I was truth and I was freedom.

Listen well,
all you corrupt men:
I was love.
Listen again:
I still am.

How to Destroy a Memorial | Nell Regan
i.m. Daphne Caruana Galizia

The yellow throated crocus
will still speak out.
Wax will keep
its vigil in the hive.
Into the ear of each wave
the sea daffodil whispers your name.

The torn messages
begin to hum –
the Gregal carries news
on the wires of its breath.

The leaking ink
stains each grain of sand
which strafe the face
of Valetta
stick as grit
in its eye, keeping the throat raw.

Flowers, candles and messages left at the Great Siege monument, Valetta to commemorate & call for justice for the murdered Maltese journalist are regularly destroyed by the authorities.

Billiards in Malta: a Mirroring Memory of Daphne Caruana Galizia | Boris A Novak

1 Monday, October 16th, 2017, was a usual working day for Malta.

2 The weather was warm, 24ºC, the Sun unloaded its light shipload.

3 The northeaster played billiards chasing little clouds over the blue altar.

4 At 3 PM an invisible billiard cue stick flicked a car from the road.

5 After the blast Peugeot 108 simply vanished from the asphalt.

6 A car crash? A slip down? Broken brakes? Who knows? That’s Malta.

7 People froze in shining shelters, seagulls panicked squeaking their alt.

8 Nobody knew what happened. Everybody knew. The world came to a halt.

9 In Malta billiard players always disappear into the blue.

10 A young man came running from the neighbouring house. That’s Matthew.

11 Tin projectiles digged shallow, smouldering craters like in a sci-fi.

12 80 metres from the road Matthew found scattered remains of his mother

13 Daphne Caruana Galizia. She was a journalist. And that is why

12 80 meters from the road Matthew found scattered remains of his mother.

11 Tin projectiles digged shallow, smouldering craters like in a sci-fi.

10 Three young men will always search for their mother: Andrew, Paul & Matthew.

9 In Malta billiard players with their billi000ns always disappear into the blue.

8 Nobody ever knows. Everybody knows. The world comes to a halt.

7 People freeze in shining shelters, seagulls panick squeaking their alt.

6 A car crash? A slip down? Broken brakes? Who knows? That’s Malta.

5 After the blast Peugeot 108 simply vanished from the asphalt.

4 At 3 PM an invisible billi000n cue stick flicked a car from the road.

3 The northeaster gained billi000ns chasing little zer000es over the blue altar.

2 The weather was warm, 24ºC, the Sun unloaded its light shipload.

1 Monday, October 16th, 2017, was a usual working day for Malta.

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