As the light of 2016 fades, we gather our thoughts and look back at a year that gave us sorrows. Never in our contemporary history have we seen these many deaths in so short a time.
Inevitably, sadness creeps into this season of joy as many mourn their loved ones, gunned down in the streets or their homes because they were suspected to be drug users or traffickers. They never had the chance to face a court of law.
As of December 20, 2016, more than 6,000 have been killed in almost 6 months of President Duterte’s war on drugs. For perspective, let’s remember that during 14 years of Martial Law, recorded extrajudicial killings were at 3,257.
The war on drugs is the centerpiece of the new government and it overshadows everything else. The message comes from the top: Duterte’s speeches are like a looped tape, an endless repeat of how drugs destroy the country and the solution is to kill, kill, kill. He has said this before the military, businessmen, civic groups, local governments, police, any audience he could reach.
We have been asking: where’s the outrage? Have we been so desensitized to the violence taking place around us? Are we losing our humanity?
We have an answer in a new Social Weather Stations survey which found that 78% of the respondents were worried they could be the next victims. There is fear rather than anger.
While it is understandable, the downside is fear makes us lose our courage. Fear weakens our reasoning and leads us to cocoons of silence. Rather than take a stand and let our voices be heard, we retreat.
This may be what Duterte wants, to instill fear in all of us so he can continue to rule with impunity. But, as Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau reminds us, “Fear has never created a single job or fed a single family.”
We turn to Ecclesiastes for solace. There is a time for everything. A time to plant and to uproot. A time to tear down and a time to build.
We go through the cycle of life. And meantime, in this season of hope set against times so savage, we seek shelter in the love of family and friends and comfort in our steadfast values.
But, as days pass, let’s remember Dylan Thomas’s wise counsel: do not go gentle, but rage, rage against the dying of the light. – Rappler.com