[OPINION] HK today, PH tomorrow: They are coming for us

Senator Leila M. de Lima

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[OPINION] HK today, PH tomorrow: They are coming for us
'It behooves the Filipino people to stand for Hong Kong and to fight for our own freedom.... We must fight to preserve...the priceless opportunity to live as free men and women in our own land, and not slaves to some foreign power.'

When people choose to be a democracy, they are, in fact, choosing the quality of life that lends itself best to the survival of humanity: one that values every life, gives everyone the opportunity to contribute to society, while allowing the most capable – as opposed to the most vicious and power-hungry – to lead the nation both through the travails of daily life as well as through the great uncertainties of the grave crises that humans will inevitably face once in a while.  

The freedom they fight for is both the incentive to participate and the key to the success of the organization. They fight because they want to live free. And the nation is the better for it.

It is a lie to portray them as individualists who put their interests ahead of society’s. The images of peaceful protesters being violently suppressed, while they simply ask that the liberty of their people be respected, belies such portrayal.

They are not hedonists who are simply choosing to be allowed to do whatever they want to do, whenever they want to do it. In fact, if we look closely at authoritarian regimes, it is those types of power structures that are the breeding grounds for selfishness, avarice, abuse, and implosion or self-destruction. It is the fighters for democracy that sacrifice their own life, liberty, and property for something bigger than themselves: the social, political, and economic equality, and protection from oppression and tyranny.           

As we watch the protesters in Hong Kong, including political leaders who are willing to sacrifice themselves to fight for Hong Kong and its people, what we ought to see are protesters that are fighting for democracy everywhere, including here in our own nation. (READ: Outrage in Hong Kong as China pushes security law)

Because that is the nature of democracy. To fight for it where you stand, is to fight with it alongside everyone standing for it everywhere. You defend the freedom of everyone everywhere against those who seek to enslave everyone everywhere for their own selfish interests.

So I continue to stand with Hong Kong, as I have more than a year ago. Not just because their fierce and fearless protest leaders stood up for me when my freedom was taken, but, more importantly, because they are standing up for the Filipino nation when they stand up against the Chinese government’s violent bullying. (READ: [OPINION] China’s 2020 Fool’s Year)

I can only hope that other countries, their leaders, and their people, will stand for Hong Kong, for Taiwan, and for the Philippines.  

Because tyranny is never satisfied; it is perpetually hungry. 

As someone who had written about the American Civil War once noted, history tells us that many of the conflicts between human beings “are stimulated…by the same instincts as the voracity of a sea slug,” which he described as “a primitive organism” living at the bottom of the sea that “gobbl[es] up small organisms through a large orifice at one end of its body; confronted with another sea slug of only a slightly lesser size, it [gobbles up] that, too” (Edmund Wilson, 1962). So does a “sea slug state” feeds on its smaller neighbors to satisfy its own hunger for more territory, greater share of the world’s wealth, and even greater power to lord over the nations it tramples on.

Sea slug states will try to gobble up everyone in its path. And as each victim falls, the sea slug grows, if not in morals and legitimacy, but surely it grows ever drunker with ideations of conquest and world domination, which will inevitably lead it to set its sights ever farther.  

So it is clear to me that the world will be best served if it fights against a sea slug that seeks to overpower and dominate. Fight to defend democracy in Hong Kong, in Taiwan, and in the Philippines. Fight for us so that we can fight for you and with you.

In the same way, it behooves the Filipino people to stand for Hong Kong and to fight for our own freedom.  

We must fight in order to secure for “ourselves and our posterity the blessings of independence and democracy.” We must fight to preserve what makes us human: that priceless opportunity to live as free men and women in our own land, and not slaves to some foreign power.

We must fight, not just for ourselves, but to make sure that our children and our children’s children will have a future where they can still live as masters of their own destiny, and not mere disposable cogs in the machine that powers and feeds a sea slug state. (READ: ‘Democracy is sick, truth the only antidote’ – Morales)

I know that reality is creeping ever nearer. So does every single Filipino who has their eyes and ears on what is taking place both within and without our national borders.

Perhaps the fight has already started, but we are just too afraid to open our eyes and see. We are afraid to fight, and so we are paralyzed as the sea slug comes bearing down on us.

Perhaps, therefore, the lesson we need to learn here and now is that, first, we must fight ourselves – we must conquer our own fear. 

And so, perhaps, a little bit of wisdom from literature can help us overcome:

“I must not fear.
Fear is the mind-killer.
Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration.
I will face my fear.
I will permit it to pass over me and through me.
And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path.
Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.”

-“The Litany of Fear”, Frank Herbert (Dune, 1965).

They are coming for us. After Hong Kong. After Taiwan. Or maybe all together at the same time. They are coming after our freedom. They are coming to take away what we hold dear: our own humanity and human rights, and the life, liberty, and security of our children.      

Filipinos, I call on you to stand for Hong Kong, for we all know that, very soon, the fight will come to us. – Rappler.com

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