Sunday, July 21, 2019

Alamon: Eggboi and performative politics

IT WAS one of the cola beauties who decades ago said that "this world is a crazy planets.” In the wake of the Christchurch massacre where a white gunman shot and killed forty-nine Muslim faithful inside two mosques in New Zealand after which a right-wing Australian politician came out in public and blamed the victims, the observation of the bomba queen appears spot-on prescient more than thirty years after utterance.

Humanity's only saving grace in the wake of these harrowing events is the singular action of a 16 year-old Australian boy who will have none of the bull from the Melbourne politician. While Senator Anning was launching his tirade against the immigrant community, as if the bullets that felled the forty nine were not painful and destructive enough, “egg boi” as he has come to be fondly called worldwide, properly put the wayward right-winger in his place by his unilateral move.

The incident was properly recorded not just by TV cameras but also by eggboi's own smartphone. Network footage show the boy slowly taking his cellphone from his pocket with one hand, turning on his video camera. And then, suddenly, he swings his other hand to the politician's balding pate cracking a fresh egg on his forehead. It stopped the politician from continuing to blame the attack on the influx of colored and Muslim migrants to their supposed once pristine white communities.

Of course, the Senator's hooligan roots kicked in and he was able to swing a punch or two against the boy who just a moment ago was armed with a single fresh egg which has since been properly disposed off at his face. But footage also show his security men tackling the boy to the floor faced down onto the floor.

Reports later on indicate that the boy was arrested by the police but later released with no charges filed against him. Unwittingly, his brave act became the touchstone for the rest of the sane world to collectively rally together to condemn the massacre and reject the politics of white supremacy that enables it. Well-meaning individuals put up a gofundme website that is now a few hundred dollars shy of the $50,000 dollars set for his legal fees. Eggboi has since declared that the funds will be donated for the bereaved families of the forty-nine who have fallen.

The act is worthy of admiration and a hearty chuckle and reminds us of similar incidents at the local front. There was the former editor of the Philippine Collegian heckling the world's most powerful woman who was then the ex-president's wife and the Secretary of State of the most powerful nation on earth. There were also activists who participated in similar egg-pelting actions at the State University against real fascist murderers or secret fascists masquerading as neoliberal technocrats that populate one corner of the campus with historical consistency.

These David and Goliath incidents are fantastic ways to performatively unmask the imbalance in power. It is telling that eggboi was set free without charges just like the egg-pelters and hecklers of the past have since enjoyed their liberties locally. The torture and disappearance of Archimedes Trajano under the Marcos dictatorship, the student from Mapua Institute of Technology who reportedly heckled Imee Marcos for having installed herself as president of Kabataang Barangay, is the glaring exception, which should let us know of the level of depravity that this political family was, is, and will be capable of.

But by and large, these momentary disruptions in the practice of power of dominant groups are simply that, occasions to showcase the liberal character of the given order. Performative protests are given leeway as long as they do not fundamentally alter the system and its operations.

However, these are still useful and powerful political practices in so far as demonstrating to society-at-large that the power of white supremacists, politicians, and the State are not infallible and can be challenged by even a 16 year-old boy armed with just a single fresh egg but with the wider silent public sentiment on his side.


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