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Sunday, March 24, 2019
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Velez: Getting out of our bird box

TyBox

I SHOULDN’T be surprised that Bird Box was the trending film during the Christmas holidays. We live in such times. The fear of the unknown. Survival means closing our eyes.

Bird Box, which was shown on Netflix, presents an apocalyptic world where people die if they see a creature that triggers fear and death. To survive, they had to stay inside their houses, and avoid looking at these creatures.

Apocalyptic and horror films in a way are reflections and warnings of our state in society. Doesn’t the fear and conditions in Bird Box reflect a state where people avoid what they fear?

That scene where the character of Sandra Bullock walks with a blindfold seems to show how we are, the blind leading the blind. Look at the way social media is being exploited by politicians, where people blindly follow what is popular, and not what is logical.

In over two years of the Duterte presidency, we have seen how their social media army has boxed people into stereotypes. A Lumad fighting for their land is labeled as ignorant and an easy recruit for rebels. A Moro is a terrorist. An urban poor settler is lazy, troublesome, and undeserving to claim a house. A tambay is a drug addict. A University of the Philippines student is an ideologue. A journalist is a paid critic. A Catholic priest is a corrupt pervert.

Sociologists and political analysts say we live in strongmen regimes all over the world, where they trigger fear and discrimination. Such fears sow division, and we fail to see that this goes to the benefit of the one sowing such divisions.

For instance, when the President said he will hamlet the Lumad and bomb their territories, it is meant to take away their resources for mining companies and plantations. When the urban poor is driven out of their settlements, this land is secured for malls or hotels.

There is fear when the government says we need Martial Law for another year. We never see, or even discuss, what are we fighting here? We lose sight of the historical injustice of the Moro and their aspiration. Because we have been shown instead that trouble comes from a handful of Islamic State for Iraq and Syria inspired rebels. Coincidentally, it is the war hawks that want to cage the doves of peace for Mindanao.

“Don’t hate what you don’t understand.” That’s what the rockstar anti-war activist John Lennon said. The only way out of this induced culture of fear and hate is to open our blindfold and get out of the box. Maybe logging ourselves out from Facebook could help. We have been fed so much of hate, and a President who wants to talk about toying with birds and pussies. It’s time to set our minds free as a bird, and act on our problems.


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