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A Crying Shame

Its a crying shame; that is all I can say about yesterday’s hostage drama.

It’s a crying shame that the drama was started by someone who was once a policeman and ended by other policemen. Could they not have settled this apparent in-the-force squabble amongst themselves instead of allowing it to grow totally out of proportion and to be feasted upon by those who devour scandals as these are served to them on a silver platter by some quarters of the media?

It’s a crying shame that a man who spent the greater part of his life wearing a uniform and a badge generally associated with the uphold of public safety would ever end up an opponent of the very public he once swore to protect.

It’s a crying shame that a man could feel so strongly about an injustice he felt had been done to him that he would come to the point of not caring that he himself would be the source of injustice towards others; and in so doing, be also guilty of this cliché about the pot calling the kettle black, not to mention the one about missing the point altogether. It’s also a crying shame that his chosen method for making his point was one that predictably could mean his death, a death which – he failed to see – would rob him of the chance for the vindication he apparently sought.

It’s a crying shame that this country so loves a circus, so that its citizens feel they have every right to be right smack in the middle of an extremely sensitive police operation; in their masses blocking off ambulances and getting in the way of the operatives; and themselves getting hit by stray bullets. Isn’t it just a crying shame that the police could not keep away so many of our countrymen whose only claim to fame in front of international television cameras was a glaring lack of common sense?

It’s a crying shame that the whole sorry business was being shown live on satellite television the world over; that the television coverage ultimately had a bearing on how the story ended in gore; and that the network moguls could not have pulled out their crews because there just are certain places that are best left alone and occasions when it is best to just leave things be.

It’s a crying shame that the police has admitted that there were mistakes made; that such an admission cannot bring back those who had perished and remove the trauma of those who survived; and that the whole world was privy to the comedy of errors that poorly trained and poorly equipped police mustered as a sorry excuse for a rescue operation.

It’s a crying shame that tragedy would beset completely innocent and unsuspecting people whose only purpose in being in these shores was to see the wonders of Creation God has blessed this country with, only for their last view of this country to turn to that which God did not create.

It’s a crying shame to have to feel sorry for something which one neither had anything to do with nor asked for, just because one is Filipino. We put up with so much already in this country; and one just quietly wishes nobody else will rock this boat that sails in eternally choppy waters.

I neither condemn nor condone the hostage-taker nor the police who tried but invariably ended up the target of a mixture of scorn and mockery for their apparent ineptitude. This is the Philippines; did anyone really expect anything better?

We are a country of glistening beaches; of friendly and hospitable people; of exotic beliefs and colorful traditions. We can also be a country of foolhardy people who have this propensity for shooting ourselves in the foot just when we need it the least.

Yet, I will not live anywhere else in the world and be anything but Filipino. Hong Kong and the rest of China may have nothing but scorn for us at the moment; but everyone will come around soon enough and realize that acts of terrorism like yesterday’s happen as well in Afghanistan, in Iraq, in Tel Aviv; hell, even in Madrid and London.

That’s the crying shame of all; everyone seems to have forgotten to mention this!

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