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Cultural insensitivity during ‘Traslacion’

04:03 AM January 13, 2020

The deployment of police forces to barricade the Nazareno image in the last “Traslacion” was cultural insensitivity. Devotees join the procession with a deep belief that their act of sacrifice in braving the throngs to touch the image or at least get a glimpse of it will help them attain salvation. They do not go there to create chaos. But the phalanx of policemen surrounding the Nazareno image last Jan. 9 looked like they were protecting the statue, when they were there supposedly to ensure the safety of the devotees. Police forces even violently shoved devotees who were trying to get near the image—the very reason they were there.Manila Mayor Isko Moreno said the police were deployed to instill discipline among the devotees. But on occasions like this, “discipline” is in the religious realm. Devotees have to be near the Nazareno, as they have vowed to do so after a fulfilled, or yet-to-be-fulfilled, request. It is unfair for officials of the church or state to deny devotees this practice. Their faith could be the only thing keeping their body and soul going amid a chaotic system of oppression, repression and inequity. Surely, there are better ways to make the Nazareno procession calm and solemn.

JULIE L. PO,

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Linangan ng Kulturang Pilipino,[email protected]

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TAGS: black Nazarene, cultural insensitivity, Julie L. Po, letters, Traslacion 2020
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