Herbie Gomez .
ONE of the key points made by Barack Obama in his Nelson Mandela lecture before a crowd of about 15 thousand in Johannesburg was the sacredness of facts. He was, obviously, taking swipes at his successor Donald Trump’s penchant for disregarding facts and at how what many parrots call as “alternative truths” are being rammed down the throat of people by “strongman politics.”
On the climate change debate, for instance, Obama said he could still find common ground with people who disagreed with the Paris accord if they had an argument based on facts. (Trump wants the US out of that agreement on what the world should be doing about the problem on greenhouse gases starting in 2020 within the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.)
Then he said, “I can’t find common ground if someone says climate change is not happening when almost all the world’s scientists say it is. If you start saying it is an elaborate hoax, where do we start?”
Obama added: “You have to believe in facts. Without facts, there is no basis for cooperation. If I say this is a podium and you say this is an elephant, it is going to be hard for us to cooperate.”
When the consensus of the world’s scientific community is that the planet’s climate is warming at an alarming rate is around 97 percent, anyone without a scientist’s credentials or training who say that it’s false and that global warming is a product of some conspiracy would immediately pay the price of ill-concealed laughter.
“It used to be if you caught them [politicians] lying, they said, ‘Oh man.’ Now they just keep on lying,” Obama said.
Had Obama’s audience been Filipinos, I swore I would have thought he was talking about the “colorful guy” who cherishes the extermination of thousands of mostly poor Filipinos he treats as pests because he suspects they are into drugs. He and his agents alone determine who’s a drug user or addict, peddler or trafficker without the need for lawyers, prosecutors and judges to go over facts and separate truth from fiction; he and his agents alone decide who dies and who lives based on mere suspicion bred by raw information, unvalidated and most likely a rumor, that was peddled by a nameless and scheming Mr. Somebody. Again, mere suspicion.
It’s not really difficult to understand what is wrong with the reintroduction of this ramshackle antiquated tribal justice to Philippine society. Yet for pointing this out, the sober who protest the extrajudicial killings have been called names, accused of being narco coddlers if not, drug addicts themseves, and have been wished ill — even death — by those crying out for blood.
I commiserate with families who are victims of injustice, and I can understand why they would want to put the law in their own hands. The urge to get even — to exact vengeance — is a human nature, I guess. But so is having sex. And yet a civilized man knows full well why he can’t have sex with just about anyone and anywhere he wishes to. Why? It’s because he knows there will be bad consequences.
And, so, what I find completely unacceptable is when “outsiders” — those who are not party to the case and many of whom, I note, have not even killed a rat in their entire life — prod the victims into committing murder or cheer whenever the corpse of a nameless man with dirty fingernails is covered and dumped at some dingy street corner. Nothing is known about the man wrapped in duct tape except that his killers left a note that labeled him as an “addict.” It never crossed the cheerleader’s mind that the man was murdered for reasons other than illegal drugs, and that the label was merely part of a deliberate cover-up.
Of the thousands slaughtered in this state-sponsored or -encouraged selective purge, how many were innocent or were mistakenly identified? If civil society allows this eye-for-an-eye-tooth-for-a-tooth mentality to flourish, then the family of Kian delos Santos may also claim the “right” to avenge the cold-blooded murder of the young man. Then they, too, may target everyone behind the August 2017 summary execution of the young man who clearly did not deserve to be killed at such a young age, starting from the policemen who pulled the trigger up to their superiors and all the way to Malacañang where the encouragement came from. We do not want that, of course. But point is, it cannot be one-way and the executioners and those who prod them cannot be exempted from the very bad standards they themselves have set.
And what if the “Sendong” survivor who lost his entire family now asserts that all those involved in mining deserve to die because it was the destruction of the environment that factored in the killer floods of December 2011? Should civil society turn a blind eye while he targets everyone who mined, including the accomplices and all those who benefited from the destruction of the environment? If we allow that, there will be chaos. Imagine that.
There is a very good reason why there are courts. If the justice is slow and the system is the problem, then fix it, for crissakes! If government and the man who promised change can’t, then what in the world are they for?
I have no common ground whatsoever with anyone who advocates extrajudicial killings and so, I do not wish to have anything to do with that contemptible person. I cannot be a friend of someone who advocates bloodshed as a solution to social ills. He who does so is an enemy of civilized society that, the last time I checked, believes that government should be of laws rather than of men; he is, in fact, an enemy of reason and, therefore, my enemy.
From where I sit, the advocate of extrajudicial killings is like a Nazi who embraced the twisted propaganda of Adolf Hitler that there is such a thing as an “Aryan master race” and that the only way to preserve this “racial purity” is through the extermination of the “impure.” Such person is a scummy, miserable and morally inferior creature in the category of, or even worse than, a racist with a contagious disease. And, so, I absolutely have no common ground with such a slimy little creature with the brain of an anchovy.
These are dangerous brutes with murderous ideas who should be asked to leave and escorted out of restaurants even if they appear to look like lambs because they have rejected reason. The enemy of reason and EJK lover has to be taught a lesson. And he should be treated the way he should be treated by civilized society — an outcast, that is. I wish that poor excuse of a human being no ill but only a very long and miserable life while he is haunted by his own ghosts and conscience up to his death bed. Pastilan.