Saturday, September 21, 2019

Valle: Like Antz’ General Mandible’s addiction to power

“The life of one individual ant does not matter. What matters is the colony. And each soldier knows that he's willing to live for the fight for the colony... to die for the colony” - Mandible giving a speech

FUNNY how one of Dreamworks’ great animation in “Antz” mimic so much the real-life situation of leaders being intoxicated with too much power. Though one of the critic review commented that it has “too much violence and death” to pass the ratings for children’s entertainment, it is certainly something that imparts a lesson in the most engaging way.

In our world, we know for a fact how dangerous drug addiction is. Filipinos are aware of this, and that our situation as a people seems to be hanging in a balance now, as the President’s “war against illegal drugs” has also become an addiction not only among those who execute his orders but on the part of the president himself.

Power can be intoxicating, though we are still hoping that the President is still immune to it. But the way things seem to be going these days, and how his orders are being understood and misconstrued by many among his subordinates, including high-ranking military personnel as a “war” not only against drug addicts, pushers, druglords and anyone involved in this most lucrative “business” for the crooks and the filthy rich, anyone can feel unsafe.

Because the president’s war has been also misinterpreted as an act against all other organizations engaged not only in criminal activities, but also those who are not involved in the drug trade but are only trying to defend their rights such as the militants and the advocates of causes and human rights, and even ordinary citizens who have become “collateral” damage.

Clearly, this was written on a huge sign at Rizal Park during the commemoration of Martial Law on September 21 that warns against “destabilization efforts” from organizations protesting against the excesses of power in the president’s “war on drugs.” (Wonder how the exercise of our constitutional right to redress became “destabilization” efforts?)

But like other ordinary citizens in this crazed land, it feels like unless we would submit to the President’s wishes even if it violates our own fundamental rights as enshrined in the Constitution, will we always be subjected to suspicion?

Like it was before when the Marcos dictatorial regime and his cronies was so enamored to the idea of having unbridled power to the point that they could not stop the bloodlust of their armed forces and their paramilitaries.

Such dread came back in full force as I sat on the pavement facing my Alma Mater, watching and listening to the young (and not-so-young) militants speak passionately about the unacceptable turn of events lately. What unfolds before me then was just a replay of a very similar scenario some three decades ago, though not in the same place but on the streets of Davao City.

But why is this being played again like a “broken record” in our age? (The vinyl or black round disc which was also known as a long playing record, a thing of the past that can carry a number of music to play on a record player, was almost similar to a tiny USB [universal serial bus] of today. When the disc gets destroyed and has a crack or scratch on its surface, it plays repeatedly until one gets a headache.)

That is how our society is today, like a broken record that keeps playing the same tune over and over until it becomes unbearable to listen to. Perhaps, it will always be that way, but why is it that many still believe that unlike the broken record, society can still change for the better?

As it was in the past, when the real masters among ordinary populace could no longer take too much violence, and starts to discern and rise against excesses that threatens their very existence, then nothing can reverse the people’s action. “Collective memories” will always be remembered.
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