At first sight, or on hearing it, the word irrelevant paired with Daphne Caruana Galizia totally jars. It is, most of the world knows, a total no-brainer.
So maybe has Joseph Muscat, former prime minister of Malta, committed a faux pas?
Maybe it was just one of those things that you utter when under stress?
Was, or is, Joseph Muscat under any stress? Was he scared of saying too much or being caught lying during questioning by the board of inquiry?
Muscat must have used that adjective very knowingly.
He wanted to show he was in command. He hardly ever says anything without thinking, without planning, without scheming. He is always – like all devious geniuses – a few steps, a few deft moves, ahead of all around him.
Let’s go back to Daphne’s standing in the world.
It is important to make a distinction between the pond we inhabit – this little isle of contradictions – and the world. The world, or at least most people who matter, especially in journalism, strongly believe that Daphne was and remains totally relevant.
Hers is still a name which describes much more than just a murdered woman. Daphne in the wide scheme of things is not just very relevant. She is a beacon of the need for truth, the search for what lies deep down in a state, any state.
Daphne knew that corruption, horror, ties with big business, had infiltrated the core of Malta’s administration.
It wasn’t just corruption that happened on a whim. It was corruption well planned, carefully set out. There was a true road map. And the top people in the Labour administration organised a whole plethora of schemes and facilitators to keep it going till who knows when.
Daphne, indefatigable, alone, prodded deep into the monster that was unleashed on this country. Layer by layer she removed, exposed and revealed more every day. Ironically her silencing – by execution – was what made her and her prestige grow.
Yet Joseph Muscat called her, knowingly, irrelevant.
On the world scale of recognition Daphne is definitely way ahead of Muscat. The latter is known, if at all, as the man behind the worst corruption in Malta, as the man who knew, facilitated, or allowed to happen, all that has struck Malta in these last seven years. He started off as the champion of democracy. He ended up as a total mockery of all that is vital in a democratic state.
The former prime minister once had hopes of eventually landing a top EU post. Lording it over all he surveys as only he knows how. That post – thanks mainly to what the irrelevant Daphne uncovered while alive and from beyond the grave – did not even come within a hundred miles of his reach.
Unloved, unwanted, unnoticed or totally disregarded, Muscat became toxic.
His end was akin to that of a total pariah.
But Joseph Muscat knows no end to his arrogance. Instead of bowing down and realising he was part of a looting, thieving and murderous gang, he changed his stance.
Muscat now has his sights set on remaining the king-maker and chief narrative-spinner of these isles.
Standing before the judges he hardly winced. All he wanted was to weave a tale which would take in his loving masses.
He faced down all prodding for truth, hardly twitching.
Muscat seems to be insisting that he is alive. That he is relevant. That Daphne – who never had a name – is totally gone. Only he is here to enjoy the world, its treasures, the spectacle. He wants the title of Invictus etched out yet again in the Malta scene.
If Joseph Muscat did not still have a hold on Robert Abela, the Labour Party and the masses, wouldn’t anyone from the Labour ranks denounce him, attack his old ways, question the decisions taken while he was prime minister?
Joseph Muscat knows that in Malta he is still seen as a messiah, the untouched, the untarnished, the unconquerable. And to him whatever the world thinks of Daphne Caruana Galizia is totally irrelevant.