Erle Frayne D. Argonza
Pleasant day to you all!
The Maoists in Manila have just released the update news that an activist (Left-leaning) is killed every week during the incumbency of President Aquino. Maoists constitute the largest Left group in the country, with an organized force large enough to participate in electoral contests and win legislative posts.
That report is surely a very revealing fact. Not only activists, but media men are also the target of summary executions and assassinations in this country, supposedly a bastion of free press in Asia.
Just recently, a topnotch botanist, Leonardo Co, was sprayed with automatic rifle bullets while conducting research on field, killing him and two of his associates. The army unit that is subject of investigation as culprits claimed that the research team was caught in a crossfire between state and rebel forces.
Human rights constitute a totality of entitlements that we have won after so many hard struggles. So much blood has been sacrificed just to make our world a livable one, blood poured to erect the edifices of prosperity, good working environments, balanced ecology, and exercise of our basic freedoms.
During the regime of the previous president Arroyo, an economist with a doctorate among her credentials, hundreds of human rights-related deaths, largely through summary executions by army and police forces, were recorded. No less than the United Nations Commission on Human Rights sent a team to investigate the human rights situation here, with the findings clearly indicating a bad situation for human rights.
Just recently, another team of experts, this time from the Human Rights Watch, did the investigations about the same theme, with focus on those committed in Mindanao. The feudal-fascistic Ampatuan family became the most focal subject of the research, with findings of gory stories of murders committed by Ampatuan politicians blindly intoxicated with power, using state paramilitary forces to commit heinous crimes.
It surely takes time for civility to take shape everywhere else in our planet. Even the bastions of democracy such as the Philippines fail in the tests of indicating successes in building human rights. In the USA, martial law was almost declared during the Bush era, a cryptic act that could have seen millions of Americans jailed and hundreds of thousands exterminated in concentration camps.
In Europe we are witness to the massive prejudices against immigrants, with Muslims appearing to be the key target of slanders and employment discriminations. Sarkozy expelled Romanian Gypsies just a few months ago, and he seems to watch with glee as his economy burns down like hell.
Power assymetries that we though would disappear with the advent of modernity, keep on being recycled in new forms. Rationality—authentic reason characteristic of authentic persons—is fading and giving way to Madness, as lamented by the contemporary philosophers.
Human right is synonymous to civilization, and the full respect of human rights can only happen in a society of rationality, wisdom, and universal love. Such a society operates on the culture of dialogue, the respect for differences, recognition of talents and competencies, and the essential respect for one’s humanity.
Sadly, such a society is not around yet, even as we need to do colossal spade works to build it. I still recall the likes of Jurgen Habermas, Erich Fromm, and Herbert Marcuse pontificate about the ‘sane society’, the ideal society that is rational, full of compassion (loving behavior), and productive. I resonate well with the minds of these thinkers who contended that no matter how bad the situation is, hope is there in building that culture of civility in a ‘sane society’.
Such a dream of building a future world can be done in a non-exclusionary way. Let us not tire in doing our spade works to build it.
[Philippines, 02 December 2010]
[See: IKONOKLAST: http://erleargonza.blogspot.com,
BRIGHTWORLD: http://erlefraynebrightworld.wordpress.com, ARTBLOG: http://erleargonza.wordpress.com,