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