Bruised from this afternoon’s violent dispersal in Mendiola. Haven’t been water-cannoned in years and, quite understandably, have forgotten how water, taken for granted as a mere daily necessity, could leave one feeling battered and beaten all over.
And quite honestly, have also forgotten how angry and agitated I used to feel. Not that there are no reasons to feel rage and righteous indignation nowadays. At some point, one somehow develops the tendency to ‘get used’ to or just anticipate some things. Like water taken for granted. Or terror/terrorism, for that matter.
The day started out smoothly. After all, the youth sector has for the past few weeks successfully launched LRs (lightning rallies) such as the one planned out a while ago. What we didn’t quite expect and anticipate was how the police seemed resolved to NOT initiate any sort of attack against us. But as the rally progressed, their tactic was obvious not only to us but also to the media and curious bystanders – a sudden shift back to what seemed like ‘maximum tolerance’ after a weeklong display of sheer brute force by the police. Earlier, the police unsuccessfully tried to turn the tables on protesters by placing policewomen in the frontlines. Their plan, however, backfired and failed to shift dissenting public opinion. A few policewomen, in full battle gear to boot, could not just easily erase past footages of protesters, old and young and irregardless of gender, being slapped, kicked and bloodied by riot police in the public’s mind.
Back to my water-terror analogy. Like water, terror/terrorism is something which we experience everyday. We take it for granted because the government, for one, creates extreme ‘terror scenarios’ to justify unleashing state terror as something short of a ‘normal’ occurrence in our daily lives. Or it is something so anticipated that we somehow just get used to it. We even develop all sorts of counter-measures, but these do not make us less enraged.
Because terror does not necessarily have to be anarchy in the streets, or bomb attacks in public places (though these events, one brought about by growing public dissent, the other by mysterious sources not unlike the pre-Martial Law scenario during Marcos’ reign, are not impossible). Terror, as we know it and as should be exposed, lies in every repressive and repressed policeman/woman who has found an outlet for years of frustration over meager wages. Terror is the armed force’s subservience to a Commander-in-Chief so cold-blooded that even its traditional mercenary orientation is being put to test.
Today, state terror/terrorism is undeclared. De facto. Creeping. Called by any other name, but the point is, it’s there.
It is being flaunted in our faces, and from time to time, leaves us black and blue as in this afternoon’s dispersal. Some are imprisoned or made to disappear. Some are left dead.
Some experience a ‘rebirth’ of sorts. A reaffirmation to a cause, not really taken for granted, prepared for but not really anticipated, and in dire need of ‘refreshment’ — by batuta, by truncheons, by water.
We say, ‘Never again to Martial Law!’ and they say we harp on gossip and lies. But we feel it in the government’s CPR, EOs and an overbroad anti-terror bill. We feel it because it’s there. Our rebirth is brought about by the unveiling of yet another face of something that has been faceless since actual Martial Law was implemented years ago.
No amount of water can make us ‘swallow’ another martial rule. We have been ‘refreshed’ and our dissent cannot simply be watered down. ###
October 13, 2005