Monday ∗ 05 Dec 2016

Protest culture VS troll discourse

When otherwise intelligent individuals become trolls, putting down the protests that have been happening from Luneta to the People Power Monument, Manila to Quezon City, and across the county, I tell anyone who asks me about these put-downs: well, we must be doing something right, yeah?

Because imagine the amount of time these people waste. They have to look for photos that will prove what they want to say about a rally they did not attend. They cull from the hundreds of photos of the rally, the ones that will prove what they want to say: these kids know not what they’re doing, Mocha apologizes. Duterte devotees are suddenly dependent on mainstream media which they’ve lambasted all this time, using it as source for who was at the rally, and what happened there.

Imagine the identity crisis these trolls go through: shifting from being pro-Duterte to being pro-Marcos and back, wondering how exactly those who are pro-Duterte could be anti-Duterte-alliance-with-the-Marcoses, and just unable to grapple with the fact that the discourse of pro- and anti- does not capture at all what is a more complex task of learning and engagement, within and outside these protests

Don’t say bad words
They are offended by the words used by protesters.

The chant “Hukayin!” which was something that I first heard on November 18 at that spontaneous rally at EDSA, has been assessed as disrespectful and un-Christian. For how dare anyone demand that the dead be exhumed, transferred from the Heroes’ Cemetery and back to Ilocos Norte! they say in utter disgust.

A placard that says “F*ck you Marcos” has gotten the same ire. Trolls ask: is this what being educated looks like? Is this what it means?

Many placards in fact curse at the Marcoses, some more respectful than others: “F*ck you po Marcos!” says one sign. And for a more contemporary Tagalized version: “Pakyu po.”

None of these offend me.

I never had an issue with President Duterte peppering his sentences with multiple ‘tang*nas, expression as that is – we are told by the Palace itself – of frustration and anger. I do not take issue with the youth expressing their dismay and disgust with a whole gamut of bad words either.

And really, when you have a President who goes to town with the rhetoric of “Kill!” and “Patayin!” how harmless can “Hukayin!” be?

Don’t get angry
There are circumstances and issues that call for this kind of engagement, the funny and irreverent, if not the hurtful, the kind that is offensive for good reason: we are enraged by the obvious machinations of the Marcoses to get back into power. We are angry that there is a President Duterte, Marcos loyalist, who has enabled this return.

The collective anger surprised even me, used as I am to seeing only the militant Left at protest actions. This is what is heartwarming about the protests thus far: it is the youth and millennials, generation X and Martial Law babies, and even senior citizens, coming out to unite on the issue of the Marcos burial at the LMNB.

Contrary to what the anti-protest, Duterte devotee-trolls think, it has evolved – clearly because of #BlockMarcos and the November 25 rally in Luneta with CARMMA – both of which declared in no uncertain terms that we are protesting, not just against the Marcos burial, but also against President Duterte’s alliance with the Marcoses, full stop.

This means that while we continue to discuss Martial Law history, that we also look at the ways in which the Marcos regime had set the stage for this return of the dictator’s family into power. This means that even as we protest the burial of the dictator at the Heroes’ Cemetery, and we discuss the vestiges of the Marcos regime in our current politics, that we keep an eye out for those who are out to take advantage of our anger, and seek to distract from the tasks at hand.

I say it again: this is a time of rage and unity and protest. It is also a time of learning and engagement like no other, and that can only be a good thing.

In the process, we might poke fun at Imee’s chin and face, Sandro’s expenses, Bongbong’s dream of the presidency. But all that is fair game given the Marcos progeny’s continued denials about ill-gotten wealth, corruption and plunder, not to mention human rights violations and killings during their father’s regime.

Don’t be blind
Between Mocha’s fake photographs of piled up trash, which by the way, is not even on EDSA or White Plains Drive, and the insistence that the people cheered when Leila de Lima arrived at the rally – one also realizes that Dutertrolls should get an award from Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella for best in creative imagination.

For really: I was right there when De Lima joined the crowd – it was during the speech of ex-NHCP Chairperson Serena Diokno. My friends and I stood on the sidewalk on the side of Camp Aguinaldo, and we gave each other looks, wondering why she was there at all. No one cheered for her, and no large crowd gathered around her. In fact, people were more interested in the caricatures of Duterte-Marcoses that was in front of us, than they were in De Lima.

And yes, Mar Roxas was there, too: but one can only be glad that neither he nor De Lima were given time on that stage. That tells me that whoever was in charge of the program could sense that a blatant Liberal Party agenda might not be welcome, if not completely turn off the crowd.

See, we are actually thinking about what we’re doing here – organizers and protesters alike. Not sure I can say the same for trolls.

Published in The Manila Times, December 4 2016. 

Posted in: bayan, gobyerno, information, komentaryo, media, pangyayari, pulitika, social media

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