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The sky will not fall if truth triumphs

I do worry about the turn of events here and across the global community. In my younger years as a student activist, I always thought that with my future at stake, I must always watch, worry about, and take action on social, economic and political events. Today, watching my son, Pierre, grow up, I worry even more because it is his future that is at stake. I write this column as a way of talking to my son, my nephews and nieces, and the various youth and students with whom I still continue to engage.

The sky is not falling. Yes, we have more conflicts today in different parts of the planet than it has seen before. In fact, even Pope Francis has expressed a sentiment that World War III is already happening. Nato is reinforcing its forces on its eastern flank and President Vladimir Putin has called on all Russian citizens to come home and prepare for the worst. Extremist forces continue to sow terror in various parts of the world, and the Philippines has surely had its fair share, especially in Mindanao.

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I say still that the sky is not falling because you, the young generation, are beginning to care a lot more.  And you have this amazing platform in social media to express your concerns that can very quickly multiply and amplify your message, not only across the country but in fact globally. Although that platform is now being hijacked for ill intent and vicious propaganda, I still believe that your generation can actually develop the ways and means, using innovation and technology, to make it possible for truth to win in the end, as it always should.

Truth was our most potent weapon when, as young activists, we helped oust a dictator. The truth forced a corrupt president to resign. The truth made and continues to make life hell for another president who refused to step down despite stealing an election. But as it was before and as it remains today, the truth is always easier to hide, and it is only through a passionate commitment and hunger for it does truth triumph in the end.

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You, the young generation, must continue to stubbornly pursue the truth. I often read in social media the call to read: “Basa basa pa more.” Indeed, it is through the pursuit of accurate current and historical knowledge by more and more people that truth is fertilized.  Read not only Rowling but Diokno, too, and not just the feeds but also the content, and know where the truthful content is. Stop clicking and tapping without thinking. Today, the ease brought by technological innovation and social media is also becoming the same ease with which to hide the truth.

I am now in my 50s and, having been convinced as an activist that I would one day be able to look you all in the eye and say that I did my part, I find myself wondering if I actually had done enough. As we mark International Human Rights Day today, I must say: I am sorry, kids, that you are inheriting such a national and global reality. Our generation seems to have failed.

I assure you, however, that there were many who did much, and we must remember them and not allow their names to be smeared by bots and blogs—Ninoy and Cory, Ka Pepe Diokno, Ka Tanny Tañada, Lean Alejandro, Evelio Javier… to name but a few in a cast of thousands in the continuing “Teleserye of Truth.”

Though I am a bit embarrassed that I may not have done enough, remember that many actually died for the truth, or served the truth until their death. We owe it to them not to allow the truth to be hidden, or worse, extinguished. I look you all in the eye today and ask you to fan the flames of truth, to light more and more candles rather than curse the darkness, and to use innovation and social media platforms to expand the business of truth.

This, in the end, is what is actually everyone’s business: the truth.

Peter Angelo V. Perfecto is executive director of the Makati Business Club.

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TAGS: conflict, propaganda, social media, truth, youth
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