Amid 'dark' bullying, Ateneo president says defend light of Christmas
MANILA, Philippines – Amid the "darkness" spurred by the bullying controversy, Ateneo de Manila University president Fr Jose Ramon Villarin, SJ, urged all to defend the "light" of Christmas.
In his Christmas Eve homily at the Church of the Gesù, Villarin said "the dark episode is far from over," but there remains to be light from fighting hate brought by the incident.
"I may be surrounded by darkness, but I am not afraid. I am with you, and I know this to be true. The Lord is with you, the Lord is with us. There is this light even in darkness," a self-confessed sleepless Villarin said.
He did not need to explain what he was referring to. Days before Christmas, a video of an Ateneo Junior High School student violently bullying a schoolmate went viral, sparking outrage and raising questions on how such incidents are prevented and handled by the school.
Ateneo has since dismissed the bully after what it promised to be a "thorough" investigation.
As the case has been resolved, Villarin urged everyone to stop fueling hate. In the past few days, many threats have been directed at the bully, who is still a minor.
"We cannot let these dark emotions get the better of us…. If hate and pain seem to be enduring, these can never be greater than love," said the Ateneo president.
'Dark and twisted place'
Villarin particularly shared a reflection on the darkness that can be found online.
"You know, these last few days, I was afraid to go to the internet. The internet is a human place. And because it is human and limited and finite, it can be a dark and twisted place," he said.
The police, in fact, have counted over 70 fake accounts using the name of the bully to fabricate posts that incite hate.
Villarin said the online chaos would only continue if people allow it to.
"A dark place is only as dark as we allow it…. Any place on earth, any place from the time of the incarnation, can be a place of light insofar as we allow God to make it," he said. – Rappler.com