As it turns out, it seems the Philippines had unwittingly served as a test tube for what is turning into a template process with which a period of exuberant national political correctness meets its demise. This insight can be gleaned in the events that led to the crushing of “dreams” of an autonomous Bangsamoro “nation” in Mindanao following appalling human tragedy.
Esteemed ABS CBN News journalist RG Cruz in a report on the tragic fate of the once-applauded Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) initiative related the lament of one of its key proponents, Deputy House Speaker Pangalian Balindong (LP) who announced that he had “close[d] the book” on the project. Balindong, in a privilege speech recognised the contribution to its demise of the January 2015 Mamasapano Massacre in which 44 elite Special Action Force (SAF) officers of the Philippine National Police (PNP) were brutally gunned down by elements of the terrorist Moro Islamic Liberation Front, supposedly a key stakeholder in the BBL initiative.
If not for the Mamasapano tragedy which, among other things exposed a disturbing lack of stability in the collective character of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, the naive hubris of the “peace advocates” who led the initative, and the astounding ineptness of the command-and-control framework applied by the Philippine government over its armed forces and police, many would have continued to agree with Balindong who argues that the BBL could have been a groundbreaking milestone in a “peace process” that could have ended decades of conflict in Muslim Mindanao.
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More importantly, the crisis that led to the sinking of the BBL initiative attracted more critical scrutiny into the fundamental thinking behind it. Accord to to Balindong…
The BBL offers the Muslim minority in this country the recognition of our distinct identity, protection of what remains of the Bangsamoro homeland, and the opportunity to exercise self-determination though a parliamentary form of government that will be run in accordance with the Moro culture, faith and way of life. The BBL will guarantee that, as a minority, we stand in parity of esteem with our Filipino brothers and sisters…
…all of which simply raises the following confronting questions:
(1) What prevents Filipino Muslims from exercising “self determination” under the current system of government they are subject to?
(2) What makes Filipino Muslims more special than other minorities that supposedly gives their demand for autonomy more weight?
The implications of the real answers to the above questions on the whole notion of an “autonomous” Muslim Mindanao is explored in greater detail in my earlier article, A Bangsamoro state is only possible in a fully-federalised Philippine republic.
The interesting thing to note out of all this is how Mamasapano has turned out to be a portent for things to come in the global stage. Stepping back to regard the bigger world out there, it is quite evident that the pendulum of global sentiment has concluded its swing on the side of political correctness and is now in the midst of a swing back to the other side — with a vengeance. The same sort of backlash against the political correctness that lent support to the Philippines’ own ill-conceived BBL adventure can now be seen rippling across Europe and North America. It could be argued that Europe had its own Mamasapano incident.
The parallels between what is happening in Europe today with what happened in Mamasapano 12 months ago are fascinating.
The outpouring of public goodwill following German Chancellor Angela Merkel throwing her country’s doors wide open to refugees coming in droves from war-torn Syria late last year was short-lived. On New Year’s Eve, more than 1,000 drunken men of Arabic and North African background descended upon a train station in the city of Cologne and started attacking young women who were out partying. In all, 516 criminal cases were reportedly filed in that horrific night, 40% of which were related to sexual assault offenses.
Most disturbing of all, many of the victims reported that police officers who happened to be in the area or who later responded to the emergency calls seemed disinclined to interfere. Indeed, it was found later on that Cologne police actively mounted a cover-up of the involvement of migrants in this incident. The chief of the Cologne police, Wolfang Albers, has since been suspended over those allegations. It also emerged that “police in nearby Dusiburg had offered to send reinforcements to help get the situation under control on New Year’s Eve but the Cologne police turned the offer down.”
It was as if Cologne police had orders to stand down from any confrontation with these marauding bands of male migrants. Indeed, “Internal police reports leaked to the German press suggest officers were aware many of those involved were asylum-seekers.”
In Sweden, allegations of similar cover-ups involving assaults at a music festival in Stockholm have enraged the public and launched investigations as well…
In a case echoing recent attacks in Cologne, a group of men reportedly groped girls at the We Are Sthlm event.
Police ejected 200 people from the site in August but did not mention assaults in their reports to the press.
Sweden was the first country to offer permanent residence to Syrian refugees.
Even more astounding, incidents of sexual assault involving migrants in Sweden may go as far back as 2014 with the cover-ups evidently politically-motivated (or, shall we say, motivated by political-correctness)…
According to Peter Agren, who led the police operation at the festival this summer, the controversy over welcoming refugees and migrants to the country may have contributed to a reluctance to publicise the issue.
“Sometimes we do not really say how things are because we believe it may play into the hands of the Sweden Democrats,” Mr Agren told Dagens Nyheter, referring to Sweden’s right-wing anti-immigration party.
The biggest winner in all this is Donald Trump who is leading the Republican Party race for candidacy for the presidential elections in the United States. Trump has played into long simmering frustration over what has come to be perceived as a huge national conspiracy to afford special treatment, concessions, and even affirmative action to “disadvantaged” migrants in the US. Trump has become unstoppable. Starting out as a mere curiosity, he is now powerful enough to warrant serious consideration by the American establishment. No amount of media demonisation and indignation expressed by trendy hipsters in the US’s coastal cities could dent Trump’s growing popularity.
A CNN report paints a revealing cross-section of Trump’s followers’ sentiments.
The voters pledging their allegiance to the Republican front-runner hail from all corners of the country. They work on farms, in nursing homes and run small businesses; they’ve voted for Mitt Romney and Barack Obama and participated in the tea party movement; they are high school students who will vote for the first time this November and retirees and veterans who came of age during World War II.
In Trump, these people see the next president of the United States.
His attitude, one voter said, is that he “seems to just not give a f—.” Trump’s nativist rhetoric and hardline immigration stance is a relief for those who see a segment of the population “getting away” with breaking the law. Post-San Bernardino, the candidate’s promise to “bomb the sh– out of ISIS” exudes an uncomplicated confidence rare in other politicians. His accomplishments in the business world offer reassurance that he’ll “put the economy back where it belongs.”
Perhaps most important is Trump’s imperviousness to the typical boundaries around race. He has made provocative remarks on the subject since the earliest days of his campaign — and his supporters are listening.
People say they have never seen a presidential candidate like Trump: He’s unfiltered; he’s anti-establishment; he exudes confidence and strength; he’s not a politician.
Most notable of all is the case of a Filipino-American named Norma Sweet…
Sweet was there with her husband, Terry Sweet, who is more than 30 years her senior. They said Norma came to the country 13 years ago from the Philippines and that she has been a citizen for 8 years. Speaking with a CNN reporter, Terry proudly pointed to his wife as an example of immigration done “correctly.”
“It’s not fair to her to let the illegals stay here. She does everything right. She works, she pays taxes, she votes,” he said.
The couple said they both planned to vote for Trump.
Perhaps the old adage is at work here. Too much of anything is bad. Political correctness may have been an overcompensation following a long hard slog to bring human nature out of its reptilian comfort zone and into being a more “inclusive” species after spending much of its evolutionary history attempting to exterminate one another across cultural and ethnic lines.
It was, indeed, an honourable achievement on the part of Western Europe and its derivative societies in North America and Australia to provide environments for outsiders to embrace their societies and peacefully assimilate as equals at such unprecedented scales and depths. But then there is something to be said about attempts to dismiss the reality that the foundation of such social equinamity was, in fact, built primarily on the back of European philosophy and go as far as suggesting that these and the greater foundation of Europeans’ ways of life need to yield to “the others” in the name of now-perverse notions of inclusiveness and “diversity”.
benign0 is the Webmaster of GetRealPhilippines.com.