Thursday, September 08, 2005
Destabilization, Killing Phillippines with a song
Sep 08, 2005
It’s a free country, and no one is going to curtail freedom of assembly and expression. There are enough grievances to fuel daily street protests across the country. Freedom, however, must always be exercised with the rights of others in mind. There are many Filipinos who do not think street protests are going to resolve their grievances. There are many Filipinos who think street protests will simply aggravate their woes.
Yesterday traffic was tied up in the heart of Manila and surrounding areas because several thousand people decided to camp out along España in protest over the results of the impeachment process at the House of Representatives. On a normal day traffic crawls along that stretch of Manila’s University Belt. Yesterday the traffic jam spread across the city. As in previous anti-government rallies, the crowd barely grew beyond its original size. But the traffic mess grew to monstrous proportions as the afternoon rush hour started. No, people weren’t rushing to join the protesters, but were simply in a hurry as usual to get home and rest.
Anyone weary from a day’s toiling at the office or in school who got stuck in that traffic mess is unlikely to be won over to the protesters’ side. Time and again since the latest political crisis erupted, Filipinos have rejected calls to resolve the nation’s problems in the streets. We’ve been down that road before, and what have we got to show for it? Some of the personalities trying to revive the glory days of the parliament of the streets share much of the blame for the current sorry state of the nation.
It’s a free country, and people can march in the streets all they want to make a political statement. But their freedom of expression must be balanced with the rights of millions of others who do not want to join their street protests. There has to be a way of keeping these protests from disrupting daily life.
At the end of a long day at the office or in school, when your commuting time is doubled or tripled because some marchers have blocked your main route going home, the last thing you’ll want is to join them. What you want to do is pelt them with rocks. Freedom without responsibility is not democracy but anarchy.