Posts Tagged Humanity

Defamation

Vitaliano Aguirreis what Marine Le Pen is being investigated for (link). Simply alleging things without proof, like in the Philippines, is not the norm in Europe. The report says “the center-right mayor of Nice, Christian Estrosi, filed suit against Le Pen for accusing him of associating with Islamist militants in 2015”. In the Philippines, a Justice Secretary can allege similar things about opposition parlamentarians, or a President can tag mayors in drug lists just like that. In Germany, Section 187 Criminal Code says (link):

Whosoever intentionally and knowingly asserts or disseminates an untrue fact related to another person, which may defame him or negatively affect public opinion about him or endanger his creditworthiness shall be liable to imprisonment not exceeding two years or a fine, and, if the act was committed publicly, in a meeting or through dissemination of written materials (section 11(3)) to imprisonment not exceeding five years or a fine.

Law in Germany is understandable not only to lawyers. Therefore I know that my previous article did not violate Section 104 (link) even if some Filipinos saw the use of a tattered flag as a provocation. Only tearing up a real Philippine flag, especially in front of an Embassy, would qualify. Somewhat like in this conservative country, I cannot do what Pussy Riot did in Russia – or Carlos Celdran did in the Philippines – insult ANY religion inside a place of worship. One need not be ignorant of the rules here.

Village gossip

Back to defamation. Of course there is the usual gossip in villages and in parts of town over here in Germany. “She’s a bitch, everyone knows her second kid isn’t from her husband”. “He stole money from the lotto club”. As long as nobody bears witness to such conversations, no prosecutor or judge touches that. And I wonder about people who constantly say bad things about others, how bad they must be inside to bear such ill-will. In fact people of that sort tend to be avoided by the more educated in society.

But stuff about De Lima and Bilibid drugs was in the Facebook feeds of some college-educated Filipinos for years before she was – in my opinion – framed up by Aguirre. Now I am labelling my opinion as an opinion, not as a fact. Not even Aguirre could take me to court under Section 187 if he wanted to – for all I know he might be right! There is a principle in modern societies that is called fairness. Something I guess we had to learn the hard way, after centuries of Inquisitions and witch hunts of all sorts.

Summary justice

The extreme was called Feme (link) by which murders of prominent Jewish politicians in the 1920s were preceded by public defamation of the worst sort. Feme used to be the term for summary courts which could even condemn people in absentia (link). For outlaws killed due to a Vehmic court order, a knife was placed beside the person. Not a gun, and definitely not cardboard or masking/packing tape. That was from the 1200s, mostly in the 1300-1400s, until finally abolished in the times of Napoleon.

In the Philippines, there is a prosecutor making death threats against Vice-President Robredo (link) which is even more than just defamation. Or Sass Sasot who says Carlos Celdran is supporting Leni to get help on his court case (link) just because she thinks it is so, no proof offered whatsoever. The assumption that a President can influence courts, against the separation of powers, is interesting. Isn’t like that on paper in the Philippines. But that Sasot thinks it is possible is very interesting. Hmm.

The Truth

Truth is hard to find out. In the village or in a part of town one knows, one can indeed verify with some horse sense whether the things people are saying are likely. One can then decide to avoid the person – or those spreading the gossip. In a larger context, one cannot be sure. This is why modern laws protect people against vile insinuations. This is why there is such a thing as due process. Even in villages, I wonder how many women were stoned or hanged as witches just because they were not liked by many.

“Perception is only truth to those without deductive reasoning” (link) says not Sherlock Holmes, but Gang Badoy Capati. There are a few representatives of rationality in the Philippines, which has mostly not yet gone through the Enlightenment. A place where some far out arguments pass muster which would elicit amazement even in one of my favorite old TV series, Königlich Bayerisches Amtsgericht or Royal Bavarian District Court (link). So is the fear of an EU rule of law audit (link) understandable?

Irineo B. R. Salazar

München, 16. July 2017

 

 

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What is sacred for President Duterte?

(Jeffrey) Philippine Flag TatterdIndependence Day doesn’t seem to be, it isn’t the first time he didn’t come. The Supreme Court might or might not be, as he has flip-flopped on statements whether he would respect their judgement on Martial Law. The (formerly) pro-Western orientation of the Philippines I doubt.

Are the dead sacred for him? If their name is President Ferdinand E. Marcos, most probably. If they are among the many dead in the drug war, most probably not (link) even if they are children (link). Korean businessman Jee Ick Joo was even flushed down the toilet (link). Like some excrement.

Even Stone Age men, yes even Neanderthals respected the dead and buried them properly. Among enemies in war, it was part of the honor code to bury the enemy properly. Most famous were the honors given to Filipino General Gregorio del Pilar by his enemies in battle, the Texas Rangers.

What is even stranger is that so many Filipinos still seem to be callous (manhid) to all of this. What is still sacred to them, one may ask? Has Filipino culture turned into Wowowee, anything goes? A sense of the sacred makes us human beings. Things beyond daily survival that we think matter.

Respect for the dead who have helped build society we live in. Respect for the nation which should benefit all. Respect for laws which keep our egoisms in check. Respect for women. Respect for commitments to others – partners and allies. Is everything just expediency? What can be trusted?

Irineo B. R. Salazar

München, 12. June 2017

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Nobody Personally Knows

Preparati la bara! Terence Hillhow many addicts the Philippines has. Did President Duterte recently say “My Name is Nobody”? No, he just said “you do not contradict your own government” (link) and fired the head of the Dangerous Drugs Board for saying 1.8 million instead of Duterte’s 4 million.

Nobody knows the basis for Duterte’s 4 million. The number of so-called drug surrenderees in the over 42 thousand barangays is “only” a million (link), so will more come out of the woodworks? Could it be that they have to be driven out of there by the shots of pistols?

Numbers and Beliefs

The 1.8 million are based on a survey of DDB from 2015 with 5000 respondents (link) “of whom 4,694 (94%) said they never used drugs, while 306 (6%) used drugs at least once in their lifetime. Meanwhile, 113 (2.3%) were “current users” or used drugs..” 

The article continues: “Applying these rates to the 77.22 million people aged 10-69 in 2015, one can conclude that there are about 4.63 million people who used drugs at least once in their lifetime (6% of 77.22 million) and 1.8 million current users (2.3% of 77.22 million).”

Now if you go by Duterte’s negative view of people – there are enough Filipinos who think the same way – I can imagine the reasoning: “once an addict, always an addict”, so 4 million it is, BASTA SINABI KO! There are enough reports of evidence being planted, of people getting on the barangay lists and made to surrender inspite of not being drug users. Of course there is the typical Filipino mentality that refuses to believe in innocent until proven guilty. Guess the Church idea of original sin really stuck.

The Blameless Ones

are of course always the higher ups in the Philippines, and those who strive to bask in the glory of being the supporters of the current powers that be. Sinfulness is projected to the other side, and the danger of the other side is exaggerated while the own side can do no wrong. I wonder how many secret Muslims and Jews Grand Inquisitor Tomas de Torquemada estimated back in the days. Even converts were suspected of not being real Christians in his time. Somewhat like former drug users.

The next bogeyman is terrorism, but Philippine Graphic editor-in-chief Joel Pablo Salud very rightly warns:  (link): “terror organizations rely [on convincing] you that the government cannot be trusted”. So do crime organizations for that matter, recruiting in ghettos and among persecuted minorities. There used to be secret dialects in Europe, known as thieves’ cant (link) spoken by groups of people outside the walls of cities, deprived of the opportunities and the respect of being true citizens.

Acting With Sense

is to stop all the mad crusades going on and concentrate on dealing with things efficiently and rationally. Set priorities. Get the big fish first, and I don’t mean De Lima. Watch the small fish to get to the big fish. This can mean tapping phones and monitoring bank transfers – how about getting rid of excessive bank secrecy (link)? And last but not least build TRUST in the government and in the system. A hard sell. Everybody has to have personal knowledge of being respected. And having opportunities.

Irineo B. R. Salazar

München, 27. May 2017

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Honeylet and Leni

Cielito Avanceña croprepresent the two major parts of Philippine society – not Mocha and Leni, who are both daughters of judges. One with a tragic twist early in her biography, the other later. Honeylet was a nurse in the United States for four years (link), and women’s names with suffixes as -let or -lyn will almost never be found among the children of the traditional Filipino middle class from which Mocha Uson and Leni both come from. And like many from simpler backgrounds who have come to money, there is a certain initial hunger for conspicious consumption (link) which is not surprising – I have observed this in Filipino migrants when they earn their first bigger money. Doesn’t have to mean that it will go into endless greed like that of Imelda, which I think could have been born more out of narcissistic injury (link), defined as:

“vulnerability in self-esteem which makes narcissistic people very sensitive to ‘injury’ from criticism or defeat. Although they may not show it outwardly, criticism may haunt these individuals and may leave them feeling humiliated, degraded, hollow and empty. They react with disdain, rage, or defiant counterattack.”

Although this description also fits many aspects of Duterte and Mocha. What do they have in common with Imelda? Imelda was the poor cousin of a rich family, often looked down upon. Duterte was the black sheep – of a rich and powerful family. Mocha is a bit of an outcast from her original background, with or without her dancing.

Filipinos and Pilipinos

The traditional middle class can personally relate to the Philippine Republic. Many of them, looking at Facebook, are either friends or friends of friends. Many of them have had parents or even grandparents or ancestors who worked for the government – or were public figures. So there is a maximum of 2-3 degrees of separation between them and nearly anyone important now or before. The identification with the legacy built by so many is personal. Not so with the many -lets or -lyns of the Philippines.

Often they will be (children of) migrants or OFWs who themselves were from simple peasant or working-class families, maybe with an enlisted soldier or a policeman in the mix, who now have a little more. If they have some degree of connection to the traditional middle class, it might be through having worked for one of those families – if these families remember them which not all do. I have seen on the Internet that Raissa Robles’ post about Honeylet’s shopping has generated some angry reactions – which do not really surprise me. It is like “why don’t you let our kind have a share of things also, you rich people”? In his book “Motherless Tongues”, Prof. Vicente Rafael mentions the simple people of the Philippines as  being “acknowledged only to be dismissed” (Page 95, The Cell Phone and the Crowd, Postscript) and mentions the EDSA 3 battlecry as being “Nandyan na kami! Maghanda na kayo!” (we are here, now be prepared). Pilipinos warning Filipinos, two major subcultures often clashing.

The outcast Filipinos

It is outcast Filipinos (with F) like Mocha who are angrier at Leni than anyone from the simple people (Pilipinos with P). Or has anyone heard Honeylet rage against Leni? The destructive, narcissistic rage of outcasts (not all outcasts have that, notably I did not see any of that in Erap for all his faults) tapping the desire for acknowledgement and respect from the simple people is dangerous. This is why it hates the real acknowledgement and respect that Leni and those like her give to the people, calls it “plastic”.

The outcast Filipinos will destroy the entire Philippines, burn the house down if only to take revenge against those that they feel have slighted them. A corrupt President Binay, who represents Pilipinos (with P) moving up, would have been less dangerous to the Philippines than Duterte is now. Now if Filipinos are in general able to acknowledge and respect Pilipinos like VP Leni sincerely does, a lot can be won, the forces of darkness can be dispelled. Yet I do not yet see this point in time reached yet.

The Pinoy Ako Blog (link) delivers the point in a way more common people understand: Dear Honeylet.. Kumusta naman po ang experience sa pagsakay sa private plane na ang pera ng taong bayan ang gumastos? At least nakatipid kayo sa pamasahe sa pagshopping nyo. Shopping money na lang ang nagamit niyo. There is Miyako Isabel (link) from Davao, whose education is UP Anthropology but whose thinking bridges “F and P”, proudly part Lumad in ancestry. More of those are needed.

Irineo B. R. Salazar

München, 14 May 2017

 

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Poke niyo, poke niyo mabaho!

Sigmund Freud LIFEsigaw ng manyakis sa mga babae bago siya umalis – noong bandang 1975 ito sa harap ng UP Swimming Pool. Uso na yata (link) sa iilang babaeng OFW ang panalitang halos ganoon: The west use tissue to wipe their “pekpek”. The Filipina used tabo. There now you know why the Filipina “pekpek” smells so good. We do it the Asian way”. Ang itinutukoy pa man din, iyong si Dr. Agnes  Callamard ng UN na kabibisita lang sa Pilipinas. Ang ambassador naman ng Pilipinas sa UN, ganito ang isinulat (link): I was right after all and people thought I was flippant: never argue with people who don’t shower at least twice a day. It clears the mind. Buhok kaya ni Dr. Callamard ang itinutukoy niya? Parang bagong gising nga tignan, pero ganyan talaga ang buhok ng maraming dalubhasang pranses, style nila. Sana iyon lang – pasalamat po tayo na may class at diplomasya si Ambassador Locsin.

Balik tayo sa istorya ng manyakis sa UP. Lumalabas kaming mga bata sa swimming lesson. Bigla siyang tumayo sa harap namin at nagsabi ng “gusto niyong makita ang titi ko – heto!” sabay labas ng titi sa pantalon niya. Hindi namin alam kung ano ang magiging reaksiyon namin. Pero noong araw, bandang 1975/74/76, parang inosente pa ang Pilipinas. Totoong may bold movies na. Tuwang-tuwa ako noong lumabas iyong cover ni Rio Locsin sa Philippine Panorama na naka malaking T-shirt lang siya.

Ngayon Mocha na, boring sa kabataan ngayon siguro ang kaaliw-aliw para sa amin noon, halos iyon na ang suot ng marami. Pero saan ito lahat napapunta? Sabi ni Dr. Sigmund Freud: (link) – Der Verlust von Scham ist das erste Zeichen des Schwachsinn. Anong isprakenheit iyan? Sige Pilipino na: unang babala ng pagiging tanga ang nawawalang hiya. May mga preso raw sa Pinas, siraulo na sa tagal ng pagkakulong, kapag may nakita silang babaeng dumaan nagjajakol na sila kaagad sa harap.

Pananalitang “na-ano lang” at “dapat Mayor ang mauna”, pang-Senador at Presidente na yata ngayon, hindi lang para sa nag-iinuman sa may kanto. Iyong mga pagkilos namang panahon nila Maria Clara, sobrang ipokrito talaga – pero huwag din naman sana mapunta sa ugali ng mga aso sa bakuran ang ugali ng kasalukuyang Pilipino.  Sa bagay, uso na ngayon iyong kulungan na parang babuyan, o kaya kung hindi, gusto ni Bato na itali na lang ang mga taong hinuli sa poste (link) na parang mga kambing.

Anak ng tupa, paano ba iyan? Si Leni Robredo, plastic daw (link) – tingin ko friendly lang talaga ang natural niyang ugali. Tulad ng natural yata kay Mocha ang mukhang masungit at matapang, palibhasa hindi niya maintindihan ang ugali ni Leni plastic o peke na kaagad iyon? Pilipinas ngayon, ganyan. Gusto ko na bang umebak o umihi?

Irineo B. R. Salazar, 7 ng Mayo 2017, Munich

 

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For me, they aren’t human

Kosovo War Memorial, Pristinasaid the Kosovar: “I shall go home to kill Serbs”. This was in the late 1990s, and the Kosovar was an old friend I ran into then. Did he really go back to Kosovo, after the Serbs he said had burnt the house he and his brother had built by working in Germany for years? Did he hurt innocents himself, this strong and simple man, or did he look for the perpetrators? To take personal vengeance like what is the reputation of Albanians, which Kosovars are? Not the imagined Albanians of Balagtas’ Florante at Laura. Was his rage just in passing? Hopefully I will never find out, inspite of curiosity.

There is an old story I heard, of a young Cebuano boy who went to visit his relatives in Davao. His mother and aunts died in an ambush, he survived because he was under his mother’s corpse, presumed dead. He grew up, became a soldier, found the Moros who had done it – and killed them.

Revenge is one of the oldest parts of human nature, and in many societies a part of the culture. Rido is the Filipino Muslim vendetta, yet the Christian too may know venganza or paghihiganti.

Who isn’t human for us? Those who have harmed or destroyed something we love or worked hard for – or who threaten to do so in reality or in our minds, like the fear of some Filipinos in areas not as protected as subdivisions that a drug addict may kill and/or rape him or her for a bit of cash or a watch bought with hard-earned money from abroad. For many Kosovars, Serbs were not human, yet I ALSO know Serbs – in my IT profession – who experienced the bombs of NATO while young. One of them told me – around five years ago – that the tension upon passing Croatia had eased.

A Bosnian Croat – a Catholic – whom I chanced to talk to a decade ago once told me how the civil war had changed him, especially when he remembered how Muslim Bosnians had died next to him there. “People are people, politics divides us, religion doesn’t matter” he said. The bald and muscular man then turned and closed his eyes. He moved his arms to the music in the place we were drinking in, one could see the pain he tried to hide. From at least a decade before, in Bosnia.

Irineo B. R. Salazar, Germany, 27 April 2017

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