We strive to have our voices heard. We make our voices heard in the hopes of an authentic dialogue. We hope for an authentic dialogue that is not just a simple two-way conversation, but one which gears toward understanding. We march to reach an understanding so we can all walk away from this forceful compromise.
Today, free speech and the right to express is legitimately facing hooliganism in the streets, school, and social media. What makes this oppression worse is that it is done by the government itself.
Hard enough that street rhetoric trumps over rigid socio-economic analysis, standing up and expressing legitimate dissent in this country is a challenge as trolls are everywhere. Government agencies either permanently silence the permanently or threat the very entitlement the Constitution bestowed to every Filipino.
I think the very definition of democracy that every elementary student recites inside the classroom fits well to be a tombstone rather than a battle cry. There are moves to censor and to combat truth with pseudo-journalism as the truth itself is the archenemy of every authoritarian form of government. Information control has taken a hybrid form in today’s world and all those who have access to any medium are prey indeed if they do not think twice.
Just review the current social media flare on the pressing news of students walking out of their classes to organize themselves and air out their concerns for society, although there are those who are in praise of their courageous deed, it is noteworthy and sad enough to notice that there are those who wish to silence them and all the more tag them as insurgents or protégés of the communist party.
It is sad that the youth is not one in the principle as they see someone protesting as a nuisance and the most disgusting effect is creating a distorted image of schools that allow such liberalism to take place.
Anyone who has voice is deemed as threat these days that if we were to play a little thought experiment (playing along the song “What If God Was One of Us”), Jesus will be tagged as a communist.
The move to express has been given an ill reputation to the point that society considers it as a disease and thus be removed.
It is worthy of lament that educational institutions are not producing think tanks. Moreover, the present system haunts the noblest of institutions as to be a mere factory that produces future exploitable workers rather than citizens who are embedded with a task to contribute in society-building.
The students who raise their voice are showing their love for society. People may say that they are not the Lumads nor the jeepney drivers but to whatever the system allows, it becomes a part of their world and they are to transform it.
Instead of showing disgust, let us rationalize their cry as they, too, bear the cry of the marginalized. Let us hear them out, learn and see through system itself. Be engaged and go with the dialogue.
Students! The future of the nation rests in you also. Play your part!
Let it be that the youth are one in thought and make them see that they can transform the world. Oppression thrives when there is silence. It thrives even more if it quells the noise and silences the dissent.
As Martin Luther King Jr. has said it, “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about the things that matter.”