"Philippines charges political clan heir with 25 murders - Posted: 01 December 2009 1439 hrs"
This headline has been on the news for almost 1 week or so now. I have resisted commenting on it as it was a senseless killing of supposedly opponents in a political contest by some insecure incumbents in the Philippines. With this formal charges being pressed again the supposedly powerful Ampatuan Jr., the heir of the political clan of Ampatuan, I could not resist but to reflect on this episode.
Lessons for me are:
1. this type of political rivalries and mutual intimidation had gone on for many years. Just that it has never escalated to such level with some many people killed, among them more than 20 journalists!! If guns are allowed to maintain laws and orders and established who has power over whom, the place that allowed such practice is just a disaster waiting to happen. This incident proved that theory well with many innocent lives lost!;
2. it will be hard for an outsider like me to comprehend how can humankind subject itself to such a system or a custom when the ultimate consequence, if left unchecked, is death by guns wielded by men who thought they are the laws just because they have guns!! Maybe there were opponents to these practices. Maybe many courageous men and women had spoken out and tried to change these but were brutally put down without a trace. Maybe the power-that-be believed that they can control whoever has the gun!! I need to be culturally sensitive until the people themselves decided that this is not what they want!;
3. will justice be truly served in such a politically charged case. Will the powerful be given a different treatment. With the glare of the nation focusing on this brutality and the immense loss of lives, I do not think that the 'cover-up machine' will be able to work its magic. I sincerely hope that justice will be served and that a fair and open trial will let the people hear from the people that they do not want such a 'custom' to continue. That it is time for change and to change - for the better. Where guns will no longer be allowed to be used to intimidate and to force people to exercise their democratic rights. That the people can rise above the clans and vote-buying.
May the victims rest in peace and that the people decide to do the right thing. No one else can decide for them the choice of life as it is or life in a peaceful democratic process.