The Church of nowadays is doing what it does best, pointing a finger at the “Infidel” and launching a crusade against it. In this case the Infidel is President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III and his MalacaÃ±ang and the “crusade” is a step up of its “all-out war” against the Reproductive Health Bill currently being pushed in Congress. The symbol of this war is to be the red ribbon.
They certainly got the colour right. But what’s up with the ribbon thing? Wasn’t this supposed to be an “all out war”?
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One of the symbols used by the original Christian crusaders who rescued the “holy” city of Jerusalem from the Infidels was a red emblem consisting of five crosses representing the five wounds of Jesus Christ sustained when he was crucified. It was used by Godfrey de Bouillon, “first ruler of […] Jerusalem after it was taken from the Moslems”.
Other versions of the crusader’s cross and its use with the colour red were used over the centuries that these wars against The Infidel raged mostly at the whim and command of one pope or another. But one thing remained consistent, they were symbols worn and borne as war emblems by the bravest and toughest fighters. They were displayed on their shields, on their armour, and on the garb of their mighty steeds. Perhaps the only thing these illiterate brutish European warriors had in common with today’s “crusader” against Filipino Reproductive Health is a willingness — one utterly devoid of any form of philosophical reflection — to jump when a robed man says “jump.” Beyond that the contrast is stark — an ancient warrior backdropping the modern-day Filipino warrior-wannabe.
To be fair, ribbons are a consistent favourite of the self-described Filipino “activist”. Yellow, black, purple, and now red. Whatever. Filipinos like their ribbons. It is a symbol of the flaccid nature of our national character and evidence of the sore lack of any sort of martial tradition whatsoever. It symbolises Filipino emo politics and sentiment-fueled political circuses. In fact, so hollow is the Filipino “Laban” (“fight!”) rhetoric that even armed domestric military conflicts are put on hold whenever Manny Pacquiao steps into the ring to clobber the latest of his many hapless challengers.
Astig ka ba?
Whatever ka-astigan (machissmo) Filipinos do exhibit are reserved for the small stuff — traffic altercations, offense taken from harmless jokes, and political intrigue. Filipinos will gun down, stab, kick senseless, and run over any compatriot they perceive to have offended what little pride they possess. So small, indeed, is the scale of whatever “pride” Filipinos imagine themselves to possess that it takes very small trifling incidents and slights to set Filipinos off on tililing rampages.
And yet, on scales that do matter, all we get are ribbons, “symbolic gestures” like “unity walks”, kapit bisig (“locked arm”) spectacles, and prayer rallies. All are no more than appeals to the senses (large emotionally entranced crowds, waving banners, and flaccid colours).
But what is the alternative? Filipinos too have a long long track record of failing to respond intelligently to reason. In the case of the circus surrounding Philippine Reproductive Health, reason is on the side of the passing of the long overdue Reproductive Health Bill and a precise highlighting of what President Aquino once attempted to pretend that this bill is NOT: a measure to put a cap on the astoundingly scandalous population growth rate of a people who utterly lack any aptitude for self-reliance. That is as reasonable as reasonable gets.
When a people habitually enter into commitments that they are inherently unable to honour, the result — chronic impoverishment — comes as no surprise. Every Filipino baby born is a commitment. Is it within our inherent capability to honour this commitment? The results speak for themselves.
benign0 is the Webmaster of GetRealPhilippines.com.