EU’s colonial arrogance
TO THE QUICK - Jerry Tundag (The Freeman) - March 31, 2017 - 12:00am

Why is the sovereign republic of the Philippines being made to constantly explain its sovereign actions to other nations? The European Union, for example, has neither the right nor the authority to demand an explanation from the Philippines regarding its aggressive war on illegal drugs, especially when the data upon which it bases its condemnation is something it has not obtained first hand but culled from various sources polluted with their own self-interests.

Even more out of line is the demand of the EU for the Philippines to free senator Leila de Lima from detention while awaiting resolution of three drug-related charges filed against her by the government. Such a demand is nothing short of direct meddling and interference in Philippine affairs, specifically Philippine judicial processes.

President Duterte is justified in badmouthing the EU. And he is correct in concluding that the EU must still think of other non-European countries as colonies upon which it can dictate policies. Others are correct as well in concluding that EU thinking is being hampered by pangs of guilt from centuries past systemic abuse of its colonies.

But times have changed. Colonies have been freed from bondage and have moved forward and progressed under their own steam and determination. The Philippines is striking out on its own and should be given the chance to prove its own worth and earn its own place in the community of nations without being told what to do. And in instances where there is ambiguity on whether or not it is doing right, its accountability must be established fair and square.

But the fact is, the Philippines is instead being singled out. Worse, it is being ganged up upon. The EU is only the latest to kick the Philippines. First was the United States, through then president Barack Obama, who tried to put up a pretty face on his way to an ASEAN Summit at the expense of the Philippines. Not only was that ironic, the Philippines being a so-called dear friend of America, it also hurt like hell. And it was shameful too, the Philippines being an ASEAN member.

Taking the cue from Obama, the then secretary-general of the United Nations, himself an Asian, lashed out in the name of that body, his new western mindset completely forgetting the Asian complexities that faced the Philippines as it struggled with its internal problems. Others followed suit — Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch — each mouthing the same condemnation strewn together by the common thread of being all culled and sprung from second-hand information.

But why is the Philippines being singled out by these hypocrites? The same New York Times that produced a documentary that condemned Duterte is the same New York Times that came out with an editorial that suggested Obama carried out a massive campaign of drone attacks in the Middle East that resulted in the deaths of hundreds of non-combatants, including women, children and old people.

Yet where was the UN, the EU, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch in all of these senseless killings? Is the silence and the tacit approval because there is a different measure of accountability for America and another for poor and struggling countries like the Philippines? Who the hell is the EU to demand the release of de Lima? Does it even know the full story of her case?

It is good that the EU issued its condemnation and demand from the relative safety of its vaunted fortress in Europe. But next time, if the EU feels so cocky about its moral authority, maybe it should send one of its duly-authorized representatives to the Philippines where he can call for a press conference and announce that body's latest insulting propositions directly to the faces of Filipinos. Let's see if he doesn't Philxit with a few missing pieces.

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