24 August 2010

A Time of National Crisis

Photo by AFP/Getty Images via CNN.com

Cross-posted from Sybaritic Diversions.

This post is going to look seriously out of character given the nature of this blog, but I feel the need to scream in serious frustration with everything that has happened over the past twenty-four hours.

In one fell swoop, a single madman made history by destroying the Philippines' reputation across the globe. Through the deaths of several hostages yesterday, this lawkeeper turned lawbreaker has thrown a wrench into the new administration's plan of making positive changes.

And who will end up - who are currently - suffering because of his stupidity, his misplaced yearning to return to the police force? Us - the Filipino people.

My heart grieves for our domestic helpers, factory workers, and tutors working in Hong Kong. I fear for their lives, knowing well the potential for violent retaliation inherent in the situation. Because of one man's madness, their lives are now in danger.

My blood seethes with anger at how this incident will have a seriously negative impact on tourism and commerce.

I want to know why our authorities did not move faster. In their desire to be cautious given that the culprit was an experienced policeman, they overdid it and this caused the needless loss of lives.

I want to know why the media swarmed the crime scene like so many maggots over a rotting carcass. Don't these newshounds have any sense of decorum or propriety whatsoever?

I want to know why the police didn't cordon off the area ASAP. As a result, bystanders came flocking in out of curiosity. What if there was a bomb in that bus? What if the hostage-taker wasn't dead and decided to set it off, taking more lives in the process?

This whole fiasco is a horrible black mark against the Philippine National Police, but the Hong Kong government has taken things to the extreme by declaring the Philippines as unsafe ground, calling home its nationals, and pretty much painting a gory portrait of our country as an ongoing bloodbath run by idiots and nutcases.

This is no time for us to just sit still, twiddle our thumbs, and do nothing.

The gauntlet has been cast.

I pray and hope that this incident will not lead to just finger-pointing, a whole new blame game on top of the one that has been playing out for years.

I pray and hope that this bloody incident will galvanize the Filipino people, that it will unite us in the common cause of washing away this bloody stain, this slur upon our identity as a people, as a nation.

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