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Opinion

Is there fear factor?

OFF TANGENT - Aven Piramide - The Freeman

In olden times, brute force, fighting skill and genius (in that obvious order) determined who would be the leader of a community. The head of the balangay, from which term the present day barangay was taken, was a man who could wallop a carabao dead with his bare hands or who would disarm a person running amok in a face to face encounter or who could call neighbors to meet on an open space to discuss ways to protect their plants from marauding boars.

The same character made later day warlord/kings. There were the ferocity of Genghis Khan, the fighting skill of Leonidas and the acumen of Napoleon Bonaparte. Force though more than brain power rated men higher in their own kind of social structuring. People displaying superior physical strength intimidated less talented peers to submission and they, as a necessary consequence, ruled. Fear among most folks of the perceived force of someone made them bow to him.

Believe it or not, I saw intimidation, if not outright fear, gripping the political environment in the 2019 elections. No, it did not affect the entire city. There were murders inflicted on some ardent political supporters but such deaths were suffered only by those reportedly belonging to a political lineage. While the number of the victims of such killing was low, the news that they were related to politics was clearly emphasized. Why would it be rumored that the house of this political leader was sprayed with bullets when it could be simply reported as a person was killed? Indeed, why should the death be reported in gruesome manner when recording it as a statistic would be enough? Or worse, why was the news tolerated that men in uniform were involved?

To my mind, the only purpose of the sensationalizing of related news reports was to drive the point that it was dangerous to be on the wrong side of the political fence. (Of course, I cannot hazard any guess which side). Was this intention not clear when a report of a van belonging to a political leader was stopped by uniformed elements who allegedly took a duffel supposedly containing money and such news, in its unvalidated form, was systematically spread around? As a result, political operators were compelled to stay inside their homes rather than risk their lives campaigning for their chosen candidates in their neighborhood. In such environment, many a peace-loving citizen chose to be at their residences as they could not shirk the fear of brutal murder outside.

I have received reports that men, clothed uniformly, are either seen massing the mountainside patrolling the streets. My informants are unsure whether these are policemen, military personnel, Genghis Khan’s mongols, King Leonidas’ knights or Bonaparte’s soldiers. Some groups are armed with the kind of heavy firepower seen in the last American days in Afghanistan while others do not have even have hand guns to show. Their movements are seemingly random to the untrained eyes of ordinary citizens but it is reasonable to hypothecate that there are operational objectives behind all tactical moves.

The mantle of intimidation that veiled some communities in the 2019 elections is beginning to emerge. This kind of environment is a threat to our democracy as it is to the well-being of our people. Authorities should investigate and act accordingly or I entertain the idea that high officials are behind these moves.

GENGHIS KHAN

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