It’s been almost two weeks since the hostage crisis.
Since that time, the incident has been the topic of countless news reports, broadcasts, editorials, newspaper columns, talk shows, blogs, tweets, IMs, cafe and office conversations, and every other channel of written and spoken communication one can think of.
These have expressed the whole gamut of emotion over what happened–incredulity at the lack of training and equipment of our police force, frustration at the lack of coordination and authority, disgust and indignation at the media coverage, shame and embarrassment at the deaths of the tourists-turned-hostages.
And anger. Not surprisingly, the hostage taking and its outcome have triggered the outrage of the Chinese, from those in the highest echelons of power to ordinary citizens.
Action star Jackie Chan seems to be one of the few Chinese–if not the only one–who made public his magnanimity and empathy for the Filipino people. Among his tweets was this:
His show of good will was not well received by some of his countrymen, however. “Hate pages” on Facebook–the opposite of fan pages–were soon put up against Jackie Chan. According to some, the actor did not speak for the Chinese.
There were also reports of “hate pages” against the hostake taker, former Senior Inspector Rolando Mendoza, put up by Filipinos.
I can’t lecture to the Chinese about what to do or say, or how to feel after this incident. I’m not Chinese, and I can’t pretend to know how the Chinese psyche works. What I can do now, as many other Filipinos have done, is to offer my apologies for what happened and my prayers for those whose lives were lost.
But to the Filipinos who put up and have joined these “hate pages,” may I humbly say this: The hostage taking was a mistake that cannot be corrected by hate. In fact, hate can take away nothing of what happened. It won’t erase the errors committed by human frailty–the police’s, the media’s, or the government’s errors. It won’t bring the hostages back to life. It won’t improve our country’s image or reputation.
What it will do, on the other hand, is breed more hate. By letting hate dominate, you are proving yourselves to be no better than Mendoza, or any other hostage taker or killer.
As a nation and as a people, we can and should only move forward from this incident. And learn.
I admit I haven’t seen the said Facebook hate pages (I’m not on Facebook and I have no desire to visit those pages), and I’m not familiar with other online activities related to the August 23 hostage taking.
It is apparent, though, that people really use Facebook and other social networking sites to vent.
What this means is that we Internet users–“Netizens” as we are sometimes called–are, whether we know it or not, a society. And if we are to progress as a society, virtual or real, we must allow ourselves to be guided by a set of rules that would define what is acceptable and what is not.
Mike Adams of NaturalNews.com wrote on August 26th:
What’s really happening with Facebook, Twitter and other social networks is that the conversations that dominate society are devolving into mindless hate speech. (emphasis provided)
Is this really where we want to go as a nation and as a society? Is this what free speech has come down to?
Let’s make sure it’s not. Please.
Mike Adams’ thought-provoking post can be read in full here.