Spirits and solutions-A A +A
By Tyrone Velez
Wednesday, September 12, 2012
THE interesting news this week was how media tells the story of 18 students in Toril “possessed” by spirits.
I find one network’s coverage amusing as it was straight from Pinoy horror movies; students screaming as they tossed their bodies as pastors and spiritistas “exorcising” the spirits away.
It’s amusing how they played up superstition and traditional beliefs, as they interviewed the principal who said their cutting down a Talisay tree in the school made the spirits mad at the children.
Here we are at an age of modernity, where journalism demands concrete facts, where education calls for scientific thought, and some choose to forget these and dumb down the audience.
Other networks did better by getting the opinions of psychiatrists and psychologists who explained this situation as mass hysteria based on behavioral stress and other possible physical factors.
Experts also point out that “during times of anxiety and tension, mass psychogenic illness breaks out among the people who lack tolerance. Also, the sickness is aggravated by poverty and malnutrition."
That could also mean students could be undergoing stress due to poor schooling conditions, hunger, problems at home due to poverty or at worse some sort of abuse at home or at school.
So rather than looking for unseen things, journalists, educators, or everyone can do better by looking at things scientifically or consult specialists. A need to dig into things to find solutions.
And speaking of solutions, how do you solve a problem like Paquibato?
We all know now that the New People’s Army admitted their error in lobbing a grenade last September 1 that bounced off a net instead and exploded near a gym where there was a circus show. Some young people and children were injured as a result.
The NPA said they will indemnify the injured and discipline those responsible for the grievous adventurism
But the military wants the NPAs to surrender those responsible for the incident to face arrest and trial, which the NPA rebuffed. In the first place aren’t they rebelling against the system?
What would be the solution? Beyond the blame and finger pointing, shouldn't we ask why a detachment is placed in the middle of a barrio in a populated area?
Vice Mayor Rodrigo Duterte pointed this out, saying that a detachment should not be placed in areas that will endanger the civilians. Even the International Humanitarian Law bans such action.
The military are targets of their enemy, and the military knows that, so why insist on staying in barangays?
The military will say they will stay for their peace and development outreach program. But again Duterte says law and order is not their concern. The issue is rebellion, which needs more than a military solution. As Fr. Joel Tabora, president of Ateneo de Davao University puts it, "How does any group take responsibility where so many were unintentionally injured? It is time to wage peace”
And if we take this cue, digging deeper to the roots of this decades-long conflict, we can see there is a need to resume talks between both parties - the government and the revolutionary National Democratic Front to root out the problems of injustice, and plant the seeds of peace.
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Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on September 13, 2012.