Our life as a horror movie | Inquirer Opinion
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FLEA MARKET OF IDEAS

Our life as a horror movie

/ 04:05 AM February 22, 2021

Watching the news these days feels like watching multiple movies all being played at the same time. There’s so much drama, action, violence, and death taking place in our country and unfolding around the world.

Make a survey of what’s in the news. The number of dead bodies and sick people pile up every day, all victims of a virus that only emerged over a year ago. There have been 2.44 million people dead worldwide and 110 million others who have been made sick by the virus as of this writing. More than half a million of our countrymen have been infected and almost 12,000 have died. Just as when vaccines have been developed, the virus mutates into several variants. Increasingly, the incidents of death and infection are getting closer to home, claiming as victim a co-worker, neighbor, or relative.

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There’s the almost daily occurrence of brazen murder perpetrated by motorcycle-riding assassins in our country. Our police forces make a major contribution to the statistics of death because, all too frequently, their drug buy-bust operations lead to filled body bags. The hazards to our lives increase exponentially if we’re identified with leftist groups or if we’re marked as a fierce critic of the government.

There are also the increasing incidents of crime occurring in our towns and provinces. These are no doubt the result of the worsening poverty and hunger arising from the serious economic crisis caused by COVID-19.

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And then there are the unprecedented natural disasters that are taking place in different parts of the world, with powerful typhoons and historic floods in numerous countries including ours last year, record wildfires, major winter storms in the United States and Europe, and even volcanic eruptions elsewhere.

Even pigs are dying by the hundreds of thousands per conservative claims by the government, but in the millions per estimates of hog-raiser organizations. Some industry players approximate that more than 36 percent of our country’s pig population has been decimated by the African swine fever. For the first time in our lives, there is no pork to buy in our markets, and the quintessential Filipino dish, adobo, is absent in our dinner tables.

All these are happening at a time when so many countries are ruled by leaders who are anti-heroes, intolerant of dissent, nonbelievers of democratic principles, and predisposed to dictatorial or fascist ways.

There has been no other period in contemporary history when our chances of dying from unnatural causes, of being debilitated by sickness, of being reduced to poverty, and of falling victim to abuses by government security forces have all converged to unprecedented heights. We run through a gauntlet of dangers as we plod on daily in these very perilous times.

There are millions of dramatic plots in each of these terrible deaths and life tragedies. We read and watch snippets of these heartbreaking tales as the media feature a sampling of them.

Swamped with all these terrible stories, our threshold for drama, violence, and horror has been elevated. Is this causing us to be increasingly callous toward the injustices that happen around us? Does this add to the reasons why there is scant protest against all the wrongdoing and misfortune transpiring in our midst, apart from the incapacitating consequences of the pandemic?

We live in a time when reel upon reel of tragedy is unfolding before our eyes. At times, we get the feeling that we’re stuck in a movie marathon as we watch daily news of the extraordinary times we live in. Occasionally, we see ourselves as characters in these movies, but we’re jolted when the tragedies make us shed genuine tears and real blood, and they torment us with the actual loss of life. It’s then that we realize that our lives in these treacherous times are movie-worthy, with a multitude of horror plots never written or imagined before.

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TAGS: coronavirus pandemic, Flea Market of Ideas, Joel Ruiz Butuyan, life as a horror movie, natural disasters
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