Three elephants in Malacañang Palace
By Joe America
“The Elephant in the room” is an English metaphorical idiom for an obvious truth that is going unaddressed. The idiomatic expression also applies to an obvious problem or risk no one wants to discuss, or a condition of groupthink no one wants to challenge. [Wikipedia]
People keep pointing out the good things being done by the Duterte Administration and I just can’t get enthused about the discussion. I can’t get past the elephants in the room, the huge truths that are not being addressed by those who groupthink at Malacañang Palace and other places where leaders converse. These elephants are so huge, and so ugly, that it is fruitless to consider any lesser animals that may warrant praise.
EJKs: a gross case of the most powerful people abusing those without power
EJKs are not only a violation of human rights laws, and a violation of Christian or Muslim or reasoned compassion, and a violation of laws against murder, and an abridgment of the right of presumed innocence, they represent a circumstance where powerful people are picking on the most powerless people in the nation. Armed troops are attacking the poor and vulnerable, those without access to guns or flak vests or lawyers with whom to sue the PNP for excessive use of force.
EJKs reflect the most horrible values, values that have the strongest people grinding their deadly force against the meekest of the land. The Philippine war on drugs turns courage and honor on their heads.
Even calling it a war is misleading and offensive. There is no organized attack on the Philippines. There are no planes or troops or ships or missiles deployed against the nation. Maybe China is attacking the Philippines with its drug distributions, but then why are we warring on our own citizens?
Face it. This is a police action, rather like the Mamasapano raid, only 6,000 have been killed, not 67, and there are no street protests because the powerful are so brutal and the victims are so powerless that they have become throwaway citizens that journalists, senators, representatives, palace executives, priests, professors, and people in general don’t care about.
Or are too scared to defend.
It is one ugly elephant. Not only is it ugly, it is doing its business on Filipino honor around the world.
Sovereignty is not a Pokemon card to be traded for trains
Man, I miss the good Senator Miriam Santiago. She was rabid about sovereignty because she understood that it is the nation’s heart and soul. It is not just land or seas or a batch of islands or the resources around them. It can’t be traded. It can’t be painted or defined in tangible terms. It is priceless. It is our honor, it is our pride, it is our courage, it is our determination to stand up as equals to other nations and peoples.
It for sure is not a Pokemon card to be traded for trains.
The arbitration hearing won by the Philippines is not a piece of paper to be set on the shelf because its findings are inconvenient.
If I were Filipino, I’d be outraged if global recognition of the nation’s equal rights and stature were diminished by any Governmental act or statement.
Discarding one’s sovereignty is like telling the Chinese that Filipinos are low-born dark skinned natives happy to serve at their pleasure. That is, after all, what many Chinese leaders think, and what they promote to their people by making Filipinos villains in the sea dispute.
Propaganda and Freedom of Information are not compatible
Central to Freedom of Information (FOI) is trust. By making information available on request, the National Government is saying “We are earnest and honest and so confident of our work that we will willingly share any information you wish to see.”
There is honor to FOI.
So when that National Government puts out an Executive Order for FOI that has some 160 exceptions, and when that government deploys an army of internet trolls to manufacture facts, create conflict, and slander decent people like Vice President Robredo, we have a gross flaw of character in that Government.
It is not possible to trust what ANYONE in that Government says.
We can’t even trust that GOOD NEWS is being fed to us straight. If the Government is blowing smoke anywhere, how can we tell who and what to trust? When one is being played for a fool by propagandists, one is inclined to think FOI is just another bit of manipulation. And the good news is just another way to jerk us around.
When one is being played for a fool by propagandists, one can easily see that the leaders don’t have a lot of respect for Filipinos. They demean them and insult them with manipulations. They turn good people into gullible fools.
It’s another very ugly elephant, and one that can easily be led from the room by a Government that decides it wants to build its reputation on achievement instead of bullshit.
Or elephant dung, if you prefer.
The character flaw represented by the elephants
If you reflect on the three elephant metaphors, you can see one central theme in all three:
One set of people holds itself up as better than another set of people.
We can call them the entitled.
They don’t believe in equal rights or equal opportunity or fairness or compassion.
Ugly has many looks.
Addendum, January 24, 2017
The privilege speech of Senator De Lima, delivered today, is directly pertinent to the remarks in this article about propaganda and what Freedom of Information should mean. See: ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE: The Rise of Fake News and the Death Knell for Philippine Democracy