Friday, April 28, 2006

The Hecklers

This week, we witnessed an angry Chinese woman who heckled President Hu Jintao as he spoke at the White House. If that incident had occurred in China, that woman would have been shot immediately. In the Philippines, a similar episode happened while Mrs. Arroyo spoke before a graduating class. There also was a heckler who unfurled a banner urging her to resign.

Mrs. Arroyo ended up awarding this young woman her diploma while both looked separate ways.

In my middle age, I am still awed by this exhibition of raw courage. I want so strongly to believe that I have not lost any of the idealism that I once had and given the same circumstances, I would have unfurled an exact banner that would have politely asked the President to step down.

I am reminded of an episode in the Godfather when Sonny Corleone made sure that his brother Michael did not just have his *ic* in his hands and instead had a loaded weapon that had been planted beforehand in the watercloset to shoot Sollozo and the corrupt cop.

I want all these idealistic youth to know that like the Count of Monte Cristo, you need to prepare for this one chance. I would truly hate for this idealistic young woman to be picked-up in the middle of the night and never be heard from again. That had happened many times in our recent past. I remember taking part in my first mass action at the University of the Philippines in 1980 and talking to a fellow skinny youth named Leandro Alejandro who was all raw courage and shining idealism. He was mercilessly assassinated years later. In a sense, it is to the memory of heroes like Leandro that I am making my way home posthaste. Ellie Wiesel said: "What all these victims need above all is to know that they are not alone; that we shall not be forgetting them, that when their voices are stifled, we shall lend them ours."

Hang in there because I am on my way to provide you cover.

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