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MALTATODAY 11 December 2022

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2 maltatoday | SUNDAY • 11 DECEMBER 2022 NEWS MARIANNA CALLEJA MALTA'S latest femicide trage- dy was caused by jealousy, domi- nance, a "you'll either be mine or nobody's" attitude, and domes- tic violence – that is the recap of last week's murder of Bernice Cassar, by the daughter of an- other domestic violence victim Caricia Pisani Sammut was on- ly 15 years old when her mother Christine Sammut was mur- dered in cold blood by her for- mer partner, shot while waiting outside in her car. It is a tragic memory that came rushing to the fore for young Caricia upon learning of the cold-blooded murder of moth- er-of-two Bernice Cassar, like her mum, aged 40 at the time of her killing. Distressed by this latest mur- der, Sammut resorted to social media to voice her pain and frustration at a society that had "failed yet again" to protect do- mestic violence victims. "My heart is broken yet I per- fectly understand your family's pain," Sammut said in an open appeal on scoial media to the late Bernice Cassar, whom she did not know, but who she dis- covered was a Facebook friend. "Maybe you have seen my mum's domestic violence case and added me here because of it. You were going through all of that, but no one heard your cries," said Sammut. Sammut's mother Christine was murdered by Kenneth Gafà, a horse jockey whom she had dated, dying of extensive gun- shot injuries after being shot twice at close range after follow- ing her in the car to Żebbiegh, Mgarr, on 11 December 2010. While Bernice Cassar suffered wounds to the face and chest, Christine Sammut suffered wounds to her neck, chest, and hands. Both victims were in their car when killed – both killed by their former partners, men who could not tolerate their women leaving them after suffering tor- ment and abuse. And like Cassar, Sammut too suffered the ignominy of not be- ing protected after having filed 29 police reports, which howev- er were at times also retracted due to fear of Gafà. Gafà was said to have a close relationship with Sammut's parents, close enough for her father to lend him a large amount of money, behind his daughter's back, for his "rab- bit farm project." Even though Sammut tried countless times to leave Gafà completely, she de- cided to stick around once she found out about the money, in hopes of having it all returned to her father. She eventually left a month before her assassination. Gafà also had an accomplice in the telecommunications busi- ness who provided him with Sammut's location data, allow- ing the aggressor to easily track the victim. Both women left their beloved children orphaned, as Caricia Sammut Pisani carefully pointed out. "You had sleepless nights, you were scared, because you can never rest when you know your life is in jeopardy. Now I feel furious, as pity won't solve anything," said Sammut Pisani. When she originally took the witness stand over a year ago, the now accomplished lady in her late twenties, acknowledged that Gafà had tormented them into hiding, similarly to Bernice Cassar, was was terrified for her life after being threatened on several occasions. When referring to the protec- tion order Bernice Cassar had, Sammut Pisani recalled how this was breached and still no ac- tion was taken. "What a shame! When will we wake up and treat domestic abuse seriously?" Sammut Pisani urged victims to continue reaching for help, and if that help is not found, to speak up or the fear will turn to reality. "Love doesn't hurt, and love should not control you... Rest Bernice and look after your two angels. I am sorry for you, but I am sure you are now with my mother and other domestic violence victims." Mgarr victim's daughter: 'Dear Bernice... I'm sorry, you must be with my mother now' Caricia Pisani Sammut's mother Christine was murdered by Kenneth Gafà, dying of extensive gunshot injuries after being shot twice at close range DANIEL Micallef, a respected general practitioner and politician from Rabat, died last Friday at the age of 94. Micallef was an outspoken and passionate 'environ- mentalist' who worked hard to convince his party to uphold environmental stand- ards. In the late eighties in the last year of the labour government he set up an environ- mental department which he called IDEA. Headed by the late Vince Farrugia, he pushed an agenda which conflicted with the policies of his own government. Micallef was a long-standing parliamen- tarian elected on the labour ticket from the Rabat constituency elected. Micallef entered politics as a member of the Christian Workers Party, which was founded as an alternative to Dom Mintoff's Labour Party. He was first elected to the Maltese Parliament in 1962. During Dom Mintoff years, when Malta's political climate was hostile, Micallef was regarded as a moderate voice. He left the CWP in 1966 and joined the Labour Party. As a result, he was elected to the Parliament in 1971, 1976, 1981, and 1986 and held the position of Speaker of the House from 1982 to 1986. When the PN boycotted the opening of Parliament in February 1982 in protest against the contentious 1981 election out- come a few months earlier, he was pushed into the spotlight as Speaker amid one of Malta's largest constitutional crises. In 1986, he was appointed Minister of Education, Culture, and the Environment, but he held this position only for a year as the PL lost the general election. During this time, in the last year of Kar- menu Mifsud Bonnici's government, he raised several crucial environmental issues related to rampant abuse of land use while setting up the agency known as IDEA. He was respected by environment NGOs but was in constant conflict with the labour party's environmental policies which pro- moted land development. In April 1982 Micallef served as acting President of the Republic and in 1997 he was appointed Ambassador to the Holy See and to the Sovereign Military Hospi- taller Order of St John of Jerusalem. Together with his wife Pauline, Daniel Micallef had seven children, Mark, Paul, Daniel, Marika, Denise, Isabelle, and Ber- nardette. In a press statement, the Labour Party re- membered the memory of Micallef. "Micallef throughout his life will be re- membered as one who shaped strong so- cialist principles of the Party," said the PL. The Labour Party sent its sincere con- dolences to the Deputy Leader for Party Affairs, Daniel Micallef and those closest to him. 'Ahead of his times' In comments to MaltaToday, Daniel Mi- callef, Labour Party's Deputy Leader for Party Affairs, remembered his uncle fond- ly: "As long as I remember, Uncle Daniel was always very central in our lives. "I don't recall his political days, since I was too young, however i could always feel the strength of his legacy. The numerous anecdotes he shared with me as I grew up were not just random episodes, but were very specific and included deep life-lessons which at times took me years to fully com- prehend. He was way ahead of his times and looked at the world from a much wid- er lense than many of his contemporaries. "I will cherish the lengthy discussions in his study, surrounded by tonnes of books and papers; sociology, values, medicine and natural remedies, philosophy, poli- tics, the environment, nuclear physics; in- depth knowledge and objectivity which he shared and discussed - his enthusiasm for life and knowledge had a profound effect on all of us. "From our younger days as our doctor, visiting us daily when needed (sometimes more than once), to his daily visits to my father (his youngest brother) as he battled cancer for long months; Uncle Daniel was always there for all of us. He'll live on in the uncountable good deeds he did, most of which in silence; in the values he preached and lived, and the knowledge which he shared." The politician environmentalist who fought unsung battles Daniel Micallef

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