Saturday, February 18, 2017

A Culture of Violence and Impunity

Sometimes I induce laughter whenever a new friend adds me on Facebook and I say, "I'm the black guy. As in, my profile photo is plain black." When asked why, I say because I've found that there's always something to mourn about these days--my country, the world, idiots running and ruining the government, greed, etc. But last week, after a good break from my ongoing bout with a certain black dog that refused to stop following me around for weeks on end, I finally considered posting a real photo of myself.

Why not, right? Celebrate life one awesome Facebook profile photo at a time.

Alas, it's not going to happen anytime soon. While the murder of more than 7,000 other people (for various reasons) over the last 7 months does anger me, nothing quite fuels the fire like something not just close to home but is, in fact, home.

Two days ago, one of Bohol's most able and prolific human rights and women's rights defenders was shot. A close family friend. A lawyer. A mother. She was in her car with her children after picking them up from school when two men on a motorbike gunned her down. Her eldest daughter was hugging her while her body took several bullets. She was taken to hospital but she did not survive. My whole family is shaken. My friends who also knew her are shaken. One of my aunts who is a judge, one of her best friends and her contemporary in law school, rushed to the hospital to see her but she was too late. Her wounds were too severe. She succumbed to death quickly. With very little suffering, we hope.

This makes us feel so goddamn defeated and devastated not just because of the fact that we lost a good human being but because this has become the new norm for my country. This is the new Philippines. A place where a blatant culture of retribution has grown stronger and stronger over the last half a year.

This culture of violence--this reliance on the perceived gifts of impunity--must end. We, as a nation, have revelled in it--basked in it--for too long and we seriously need to stop. And SHAME on those who suggest that the same fate must befall the perpetrators of this heinous crime. Have you not learned that an eye for an eye would only make the whole world blind?