I wrote in response to the historical allusions that troubled me as Duterte defended the killings committed under his presidency. It was published by CNN Philippines, the full article here.
“It was as if the country was caught between two mirrors, and thus in that doubling, our tragedy as a nation was made infinite. Caught between the trauma of our history and the trauma of our present, Filipinos were gaslighted. An abuser condemned an earlier abuser of the nation in order to sanction his own abuse. I found myself reeling, wondering if I had misunderstood why the country had waged revolution in the first place. This infinite regression of trauma is not for the weak of mind: but it weakens us. It further destabilizes our vague memory of that revolutionary past…
Duterte’s rant has teeth — but no virtue.
The slippery slope of his self-serving rage is that, on top of having bare knowledge of our history, now we must also misapprehend its ethics.
Via Duterte’s pique, our history becomes mere trapo — a ragged cloth to wipe off spittle from a foaming pikon mouth.
But most of all, his rage misreads our history as blind nationalism. His is history as neurotic fetish, egotism’s scar — not space for reflection.”