Crass exercise of power
The government has blocked Maria Ressa from personally accepting the Nobel Prize in Oslo, with the Solicitor General giving reasons of astounding logical paucity. “Flight risk” and “no compelling reasons” thinly veil the bruised ego of an autocrat famously allergic to criticism.
It does take “staggering powers of detachment to accept that other people’s view of you might be more reliable than yours” (Penelope Lively). Paul Valery’s cynical summing up of politics seems apt in this context: “It is the art of preventing people from taking part in the affairs which properly concern them.”
To prevent honor to be given to the outstandingly deserving is not only mean and vindictive but spiritually impoverished. Here is a case of a crass exercise of power, so alien to the Filipino character of kindliness and generosity often remarked upon everywhere. This prohibition is not unlike an act of violence, not to flesh and blood, but to the spirit—not surprising in the present climate. We cannot allow a temporary administration to obstruct our development toward our truer, finer selves. We need this outlook more than ever.
May I leave the words of Woodrow Wilson for the reader to paraphrase: “… a little group of men representing no opinion but their own, have rendered the great government of the United States helpless and contemptible…”
Virginia Calpotura RSCJ, [email protected]
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