Alamon: Don't look away

Wrapped in grey

DON'T look away now. NDF consultant Randy Malayao was sleeping at 2:30 in the morning inside a bus at a nondescript stop somewhere in Northern Luzon when an assailant boarded the Victory Liner bus and then pumped two bullets into his head killing him instantly. The carrier that he rode on was notorious for bringing the arctic experience as part of the trip package and pictures of Randy slumped on his seat lifeless showed him wearing a gray jacket now turned a darker shade in parts because these were stained with his blood.

A few moments before the fatal shots, he must have had his arms crossed and his body curled to keep himself warm in his sleep. Now, his arms are splayed about and limp. His glasses were also slightly unhinged, much like how old people absent-mindedly keep them on while sleeping. But the sight is hardly endearing, neither does it evoke warm feelings of contentment and security. The impact of the bullets shattering Randy's skull must have caused his head to flay about violently for a second or two displacing his rims.

Don't look away yet. You must ask why a person was meted such a kind of premeditated assassination in such a cowardly manner. They did not even give him the dignity of knowing, even for just a split second that his time was up and under whose hands his life would be ended. They even had to snatch his dreams from him while he was in deep slumber with a shot in the head, which is really painfully indicative of what the system Randy was fighting actually does to idealists and dreamers like him.

The dream is not difficult to understand or make sense of. In a nation that has allowed the continued historical dominance of one class of people at the expense of the more numerous and oppressed many before and after the birth of the nation more than a century ago, Randy has chosen to side with the latter. This was not some kind of lip-service motherhood statement that many mouth but instead was a serious commitment that sought out the most exploited where they are and join them in their struggle.

Don't look away now. Randy, promising and brilliant as he was as a UP student and a campus journalist, did not give himself the luxury of dilly dallying with fancy theoretical positions that are at best forms of intellectual cowardice. There was no moral confusion once he saw firsthand the struggles of the oppressed against a violent state ruled by the dominant class- a fact that many from the university and beyond challenge not because of any objective standpoint. Their denial of the truth and necessity of such a valiant resistance is actually based on their incapacity to embrace the sacrifices and commitment to such a struggle.

Upon his death, they pretend to mourn Randy and lament for a moment his loss. Which is such a crying shame because these people consider themselves as intellectuals or academics yet fail to see their own complicity propping up a murderous system that kills not just the poor and the oppressed but also their defenders. They refuse to see the imbalance between forces misrecognizing their positions as neutral and objective which is the same as being blind and mute at a time of carnage. And they will turn their gaze elsewhere and argue that it was partly Randy and their ilk's fault for following such a subversive path. They shudder briefly but life goes on for them. But not for Randy, and his kind.

What was their fault? Why were they killed? Ben Ramos, Renato Anglao, and Tito Paez and the list goes back and on for fifty years. Why should life go on for the rest of us and theirs snuffed out violently? Because before violent and historical injustice, they did not flinch and look away but instead steeled themselves with a fiery revolutionary gaze.


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