TODAY, we discuss an incident that should never occur in the first place and yet we as a people have descended so low that it has. Anonymous individuals have threatened violence against students of SLU and UP Baguio, necessitating police presence to protect the students.
And I quote: “Dapat lang sa inyo may masaktan masampolan para tumigil kayo sa pag laban sa pangulo.” (Someone needs to get hurt as an example so you stop fighting the president.)
This was part of the messages threatening violence on innocent students who have done nothing wrong and have merely exercised their rights – which they are well damn supposed to do – and deserve better than this.
Now, as I write this, thankfully no actual violence has sprung about – yet – and these people are hiding behind the veil of anonymity as investigations proceed. They’ve become bold, and yet they will continue to hide and spread fear against those they perceive as the enemy. Never mind the fact that these kids are fighting for them as well.
I have nothing bad to say about the police in this situation – rare as that may be – they are performing their jobs and looking into this, I hope, with some seriousness. May they find the people behind this cowardly move. It has barely been a few months into the presidency and yet supporters are already pulling this kind of nonsense. God forbid we get further down the line and this escalates.
I cannot believe this has to be said again – but activism is not a crime. Repeat it over and over until the message takes. Activism is not a crime. Activism is not terrorism either. And contrary to what these people may imply, activism is not a simple act of being against the president. Activism is action in response to genuine grievances, and there are many legitimate reasons to go against the administration. Against this administration. Against any administration.
Critical discourse is a necessity for the social and political development of any government. Without the critical eye of the populace, it is far too easy to stagnate. After all, if there is no complaint, if there is no criticism, if there were no political points to earn for doing good, if there were no points to lose from doing poorly, there would be no impetus for improvement.
There is a term I generally use mentally for the kind of people who threatened violence against the student populace. Cancer on the body politic. They stop the body politic from growing properly and must be stopped.
But far be it from me to dedicate an entire column to these people. Instead, I would like to emphasize my earlier point that critical discourse and activism are important – nay, essential – to the development of the body politic. They provide one impetus for growth. Now, it would be remiss to tag them as the only source of development. They are but one, but an important one.
We are the ones sending our youths into these institutions of higher learning. We ought not be surprised nor should we be suppressing them when they learn what to fight for and what best to do with the knowledge they gain.
(Angel Castillo writes the bi-weekly column Verhungern as well as this informational bit in third person. For responses or thoughts, email the dedicated firstname.lastname@example.org email address.)