Divide and Conquer, Then and Now

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The photo of the crying cop was perhaps the most misunderstood, most overrated, and perhaps the most striking sight as far as the 2013 SONA is concerned. It has to be explained.

As the clash between the protesters and the policemen seared up, a certain PO1 Joselito Sevilla broke down. As his fellow policemen unapologetically acted on their bloodlust, often sugarcoated as the “duty to serve and protect,” he reportedly stood still, sobbing in the middle of the truncheon-hitting frenzy.

When a reporter asked Sevilla why he was crying. “Sa gutom at pagod. Walang tulog. Walang pahinga. Dalawang araw na kaming nakadeploy dito. Tapos, ganito, nagkakagulo,”  he answered,his face tight in a grimace.

The response, assuming that the crying was authentic and not a media gimmick, was a bolt from the blue. We know for a fact that in countless protest  actions, policemen – well-fed and pot-bellied – unfeelingly beat protesters to a pulp. The SONA was not an exception, as expected. The social media networks are now laden with a photo of an old man with a head injury and ablood-drenched shirt. Apparently, old age did not excuse Rudy del Rosario, 77years old, from the righteousness of the Philippine National Police (and eventually, the righteousness of netizens who blame him because he “asked for it.”).

The response explains a lot about the behavior of policemen with a seemingly insatiable desire to beat the daylights out of protesters. For two days, these individuals have been deployed to their stations – completely equipped with hunger and deprived of proper rest. There is no going home until the show is over. The House of Representatives must be protected at all costs from the citizens that, ironically, the representatives claim to serve.  Or else, they will lose their jobs.

These objective conditions created by the volition of individuals managing the PNP had reduced the policemen from being an actual human being down to mere animals incapable of rationalization, devoid of reason and driven by self preservation. The emotional and physical starvation allows the Id to overpower the Superego, such that no amount of rational explanation can ever make sense.

The enemy is the unarmed protesters, whose only crime is to exercise their right to free assembly and free speech. The enemy that is the sole reason they cannot go home to their families, eat a satisfying meal, and assure them that everything will be all right.

In the eyes of the ruling class, those at the upper seats of the parliament and the owners of the biggest and most exploitative businesses, these individuals are nothing but impertinent pawns designed to keep them unharmed by dividing the exploited majority, all the while totally disregarding their human condition and engineering their destruction.

They say that “divide and conquer” is a military strategy of the conquistadors of the past, dividing the area into smaller parts and attacking one at a time or sowing divisiveness among them. But the divide and conquer is still very much alive even in the 21st century. This time,the conquistadors are the ruling class and the divided are the people.

But the time will come when the divided will conspire to overthrow the conquistadors and claim what is rightfully theirs. It is inevitable.

(Note: I and Gidget Estella wrote this. This is not to glorify the police, absolve them of state brutality, or discredit the people’s protest.)

Photo from ABS CBN.com. http://www.abs-cbnnews.com/focus/07/23/13/story-behind-crying-cop

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Hunting Intimacy

 

 

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Just now, I stumbled upon the post of an old friend talking to a business client who is eager to learn about her status — if she has a boyfriend, to be exact.

In the scope of linguistic technicalities, there are certain degrees of meanings and contexts associated with the utterance.

For example, when you say: “It’s cold in here”, in one aspect, you are stating the current temperature of the area. But more than that, you are saying something else. Maybe turn on the heater, or give you a sweater. A request. A plea. Something else.

This is what we call Illocutionary Act.

In her case, the guy asked/claimed/verified her current relationship status: “Edi ma’am, you have a boyfriend naman?” The way it was delivered, it’s not a question actually. More like a phrase that hopes for an answer that will pave his way towards her.

It’s actually absurd how people constantly hunt intimacy, as if the core of their identity lies in another person’s existence. It’s strange how they didn’t process the fact that relationships and commitments are obligations which demand strength to survive life’s surge.

It’s weird how most people looked at love as a field of peaches during the harvest time and not as two palm trees trying to weather the storms of the barren lands.

The Nagging Vacuity

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I can’t sleep and this night forced me to witness every passing second painstakingly. But somewhere in this torture, I found three thoughts:

1. That contrary to the absoluteness of completeness, there are varying levels of incompleteness. That some of the piece could be in other people, but they may no longer possess it. Either it was stolen by time, or handed out to someone else not you.

2. That when such thing is lost, it won’t disappear. Instead, its absence will grow robust, and will develop an incessant kind of nagging vacuity that demands its place in some of life’s precise moments. But its existence is distinct, thus replication is impossible.

3. That the desire for something that doesn’t, or no longer exist, is a tangible kind of desire. That knowing someone else, not you, had it would burn you alive. That it feels like arriving in a place and finding the distinctness of the fire extinguished, impossible to revive and shadows begin to engulf you.That it is not nostalgia but everlasting emptiness.

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I just recently moved in again to a new place. Re-packing and unpacking my things, for countless times since I began my prodigal existence, showed me a funny realisation — that together with all those experiences, I also have successfully gained tangible possessions.

And it’s about time to throw the unnecessary baggage: scraps of papers, old notebooks, some ribbons, resumes, application forms, contracts from the lost times, a broken comb and unsent love letters to a past lover etc.

Well, I realised that my life is too finite and I am limited, thus, I can only bring with me the stuff that matters, those I will never forget the significance and those I cannot afford to lose. Say, a perfume given to me, almost 11 years ago, by a very important person in my life who passed away.

I was thirteen, and she was still healthy. I never used the perfume because even then, I know it’s more than that and vanity isn’t worth it. The fluid itself is her memory, and I cannot afford to lose it, cheaply, on the fabric of my clothes.