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Privilege as the enemy

/ 05:12 AM September 15, 2017

Privilege has divided the country. This is what has set us apart from the 12,000 dead victims of the drug war. We have left the poor to fend for themselves. Because of privilege, or the victims’ lack of it, there will be more casualties in this drug war.

Last Aug. 16, 17-year-old Kian delos Santos was allegedly shot by police officers during a drug-related operation in Caloocan City. This issue has been an ongoing debate in our society. He is not the first nor will he be the last to fall in this drug war. The blood of our brother is not only on the hands of President Duterte. Their blood is on all of our hands. Even those who have not come in direct contact with this injustice play a role. Because of our privilege, the majority of us are able to turn away from our brothers’ despair. We do not see it as a problem because we are not personally invested in it. When we turn a blind eye to the injustice, we all play God. We have decided who has the worth to live another day. But are we really privileged if we’re willing to ignore and allow this injustice to carry on at the expense of all these lives while not knowing the cost?

It is easy to think that this violence meant to eradicate crime and drugs is the superlative  solution to disciplining Filipinos. But no mistake is solved with another mistake. What our country lacks in this time of violence and war is not discipline but compassion. Justice is not meant only for the privileged, but for every single person on this planet. Because we are blinded by our privilege, we fail to value the humanity that is shared by us all. We believe in dignity for all, not just for ourselves and for the other privileged who walk amongst us, but also for those people we sometimes look over and forget. While most think privilege allows us to silence ourselves, we think of it as a tool of empowerment, used to voice out the misery of our brothers.

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Kian’s death, inarguably tragic, has burst our protective bubble. Before it is too late, we must thwart the growing violence that has torn our nation. It is no longer a matter of personal investment but the violation of the principles we believe in. It is our choice now to face the harsh realities the drug war has brought and to use what distinguishes us to empower our nation. Privilege.

PATRICIA ALFONSO, DENISE CAMACHO, AUDREY HABACON, NICOLE MORADA,
THEA SARIA

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TAGS: 12000 dead victims, drug war, Kian delos Santos, Privilege
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