Ice it

LOOKING ASKANCE - Joseph T. Gonzales (The Freeman) - July 16, 2019 - 12:00am

So what's the big deal if the United Nations wants to review the country's compliance with its obligation to respect human rights?

The UN Human Rights Council just passed a resolution seeking an investigation about how well human rights are being respected here. There was a small majority that approved the resolution, with many countries, including Japan, abstaining. Of course, China, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, and Somalia voted against the resolution. No surprises there. (Oh Japan, to see you dither on a crucial matter like accountability for human rights violations is heart-breaking).

The immediate official reaction was adverse. Iceland, the sponsor of the resolution, suddenly came into focus, and bizarrely, we are now treated to lecturing pronouncements about whether or not the country is physically made of ice. As if it matters.

I would have thought that, if the human rights abuses were untrue, and all the western media is hearing and parroting is fake news and oppositionist propaganda we would have welcomed impartial investigators with open arms. Come on in! Red carpet! “Feel at house,” as we love saying to our dearest.

Here, check our records. Watch our CCTV recordings and mobile phone videos. Pore through our extensive documentation. Here, by the way, are our programs on alleviating poverty and hunger and scarcity (which are all also ways of addressing and delivering respect for human rights).

That would have been the best way to finally lay to rest the serious allegations. Amnesty International has released a study that says human rights violations in the Philippines are rampant and, in fact, such violations have now reached the levels of “crimes against humanity.” This indictment is shiveringly scary, and can haunt this administration for many years to come, if not decades.

Any such allegation of crimes against humanity occurring right here and now should be squelched quickly. Let the investigators see the evidence while it's fresh and while one has the means to procure them - which is really optimal when one is still in power. Once political power has been handed over, that tedious task of gathering favorable evidence might become a real challenge. (Especially if the prosecution is out to wham, bang, and hang.)

Reacting adversely just gives bystanders the impression that there is something to hide. If there’s nothing to hide, why complain, yammer, and yowl?

There is really no need for posturing at this point. There is no need to question the “propriety” and “validity” of this resolution. It's pointless to count numbers and argue that the voting was not “unanimous” or that the majority was “misled.”

The presidential spokesman has even gone to the extent of describing the resolution as “grotesquely one-sided, outrageously narrow, and maliciously partisan. It reeks of nauseating politics, completely devoid of respect...and bereft of the gruesome realities of the drug menace.”

Boy, some speechwriter really ransacked the thesaurus on this one. I'm still trying to wrestle with the literary liberties taken with phrases such as "uproarious rejection". I am sure many grammarians are already having a field day dissecting the official statement. (Has this reaches covfefe levels already?)

So much fire and brimstone. Dial it down a little, shall we? As the millennials say, “chill!” Perhaps it's a good idea to stop making such a big fuss about it, and just cooperate. That might be the best way to ice the issue.


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