If there is anything that can be gleaned from the way Filipinos have so far responded to the crisis in Marawi, it is that Filipinos remain their own worst enemy. Rather than see the terrorists linked to the Islamic State overrunning Marawi City as the bigger enemy, many have, instead, lashed out at the more familiar bogeyman: Martial Law.
It is no surprise that those who were quick to slam Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s declaration of Martial Law in Mindanao were the usual latte-sipping armchair experts tapping away tweets from their iPads in Imperial Manila’s tony coffee shops. To be fair, for most citizens of the Philippines’ imperial capital, the “scars” of Martial Law are more familiar than the scars left on Mindanao by decades of unacknowledged Islamic terrorism. To these Millennials of Manila, Mindanao’s issues are a distant footnote in their more pressing Manila-centric social media vendettas. Indeed, now that this terrorism is staring Manila’s chattering classes right in their faces, rather than confront this reality, they sidestep its core facts and, instead, insist that terrorism is “not about religion”.
The thing with being unwilling to confront reality is that one’s sloganeering degrades into a laughable inconsistency that steadily erodes credibility. Take this tweet fielded by a certain Chiara Zambrano who seemingly attempts to inject some hipster sense into the nonsensical events unfolding in Mindanao…
Some Muslims have locked Christian friends in secret rooms, some help them memorize Muslim prayers to save them in case they are captured
So much for this terrorism being “not about religion”.
It seems that Manila’s social media “activists” live in fear of their hipster rhetoric being cracked wide open by the new history unfolding today. The notion that Martial Law should #NeverAgain happen, is one such sacred cow — virtual scripture in their eyes. And yet here it is, happening again. It is happening again, yes, but not happening all over again. A whole world of difference sits between Twenty First Century Philippines and the early 1970s Philippines and, as such, this Martial Law is nothing like the pet childhood Marcosian nightmare that today’s hipsters continue to be crybabies about.
Nonetheless, they run around shrieking about the “return” of Martial Law and monger fears that the edifice of “human rights” they “fought” for is under threat; leaving one to ask: But what about that other more real enemy: Islamic terrorism?
There is something baffling about Filipino-Manilenos’ inability to come to terms with the reality of Islamic terrorism. Is it because Mindanao, to them, is just a place too far beyond their backyards and its people too much of mere abstractions to reckon with? Would they rather we err on the side of “human rights” than on the side of a decisive military victory against an abominable barbaric force?
This is an opportune time for Imperial Manila’s “activists” to see a shrink about their irrational fear of the ol’ Martial Law bogeyman that continues to haunt their rhetoric. Perhaps, then, they could focus on the task of elevating the Philippines’ national “debate” into one truly underpinned by intelligent discourse.
[Photo courtesy Long War Journal.]