A cardinal sin

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Any man’s death diminishes me. –John Donne, 1624

If it’s not a cardinal sin it should be–a cardinal’s describing the extra-judicial killings for which the Arroyo regime is now known all over the world as “a mere blood speck”.

Manila Archbishop Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales is today the leading Philippine representative of the Catholic Church. The other day he disparaged the continuing killings and other human rights abuses in the Philippines as of little, or even of no consequence. He also suggested that these abuses and killings–by near universal consensus either ignored, encouraged or orchestrated by the Arroyo regime–were only normal in the Philippines. Continue reading

Against impunity

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Once defined simply as exemption from punishment, since the Cold War era impunity has taken on a primarily political meaning. It has come to refer to the immunity from prosecution of the worst state violators of human rights, whether in Latin America, Africa or Asia, as well as Europe and the United States.

The killing of political activists and journalists continues because of the culture of impunity in the Philippines, where, despite the existence of appropriate laws, only a very few killers of journalists and none so far of activists have been prosecuted. Continue reading

Depraved

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The origins of the elite belief that the poor are not so much deprived as depraved are difficult to trace. Marie Antoinette’s “let them eat cake,” uttered when she was told that the poor had no bread, has been correctly interpreted as cynical and uncaring, and typical of the corrupt monarchical class that within months was overthrown, and its members fed to the guillotine. But it also echoed what must have been, in feudal Europe, a common belief that the poor had a choice.

It is difficult to imagine how anyone can choose to sleep under bridges, clothe one’s self in rags, go to bed hungry at night, and watch the slow death of one’s children. But even in industrial England, the inequality of which the poet William Blake and later, the novelist Charles Dickens railed against, the belief was current that the poor were in that state because they were lazy, and even stupid and immoral. Continue reading

Hypocrites

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All authoritarian regimes rail against foreign intervention. But only when it’s against their interests. They welcome it when it serves their purposes, whether it be to line the pockets of its rulers, or to keep them in power. The Arroyo regime is no exception.

But hearing Raul Gonzalez denounce the United States government, specifically the US Senate, for “blackmailing” this country and for being “unfair” was as bizarre as Joker Arroyo’s declaring that “suddenly the United States and the leftist organizations it had called terrorists are one.” Continue reading

Disconnect 2

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Still mostly unremarked are certain changes this election season that hopefully indicate a growing wisdom among the electorate.

Yes, Virginia, we’re referring to the same electorate that’s been disparaged by pop analysts and gloomy academics for years for voting for imbeciles and other clueless types, and for putting in office crooks and ne’er- do-wells on no other basis than the way they smile, sing, dance, tell bawdy jokes, or throw money its way. Continue reading

Impossible

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“Armed rebellion,” said National Security Adviser Norberto Gonzales over the weekend, “is no longer acceptable as a means of achieving political change.”

Like most of his statements, which have not gained him a reputation for credibility, this one is as puzzling. Gonzales made it to the media in response to questions on why a warrant of arrest has been issued against Rep. Satur Ocampo. He also said Ocampo’s arrest is part of the government offensive against communist rebels, and that the Arroyo regime is seeking Ocampo’s arrest for his “past offenses.” Continue reading

Lawless

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Armed Forces of the Philippines Chief of Staff Hermogenes Esperon said the other day that it was the people who didn’t want the party list groups in their communities. Apparently he didn’t mean all party list groups, however.

Esperon was replying to claims that the AFP has fielded troops in 27 metro Manila communities to harass, and campaign against, the left wing party list groups that the Arroyo regime insists are “communist fronts.” Continue reading

The fear of EDSA

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When Gloria Macapagal Arroyo says the world doesn’t want another EDSA, she’s actually saying she won’t allow another people power uprising to happen. And when she says that the world merely “tolerated” EDSA 2 in 2001, she’s talking about her own forbearance for it more than the planet’s.

Mrs. Arroyo had said the same thing before, notably in 2006, when she said it with police guns, truncheons, water cannon, and Proclamation 1017, which she issued on the very day the 20th anniversary of EDSA 1 was being celebrated. The difference is that last February 25, she was hiding behind “the world” to say what’s been in her mind since she came to power in 2001. Continue reading