Boyspacefriend (boyspacefriend) wrote,
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The Truth About Throwing Eggs

Last week, AFP Chief of Staff Hermogenes Esperon Jr. visited the University of the Philippines Diliman to attend a forum on development and conflict organized by the Assocation of Political Science Majors.  On his way out of the forum, Esperon was pelted with rotten eggs and mud by members of the University Student Council and other student activists. 

The APSM issued a public letter demanding the USC Chairperson Paolo Alfonso to apologize for misrepresenting the University through his actions.  Alfonso replied by claiming his actions were justified by the APSM's hostility to letting him speak and the military's campaign to destroy the Left, not least through the alleged abductions of two UP students.

I'm not a member of any of the student organizations involved, neither was I there at the forum.  But if I were to reply to Alfonso, it would go something like this:

The USC Chairperson's letter wants to obscure the issue of their attack on General Esperon by accusing APSM of deliberately preventing him from speaking, and bringing up the issue of the military’s alleged human rights violations against activists nationally.

Both are poor excuses for the behavior of the USC Chairperson and those with him after the forum.  The first smacks of paranoia and a victim mentality coming from Alfonso.  He was allowed to express himself during the forum anyway, even if he implies APSM was trying to stop him from doing so.  Besides this, I fail to see how inconveniencing Alfonso justifies attacking an unarmed visiting dignitary in the name of the entire University.

And this is the issue that I take the most offense with: the fact that Alfonso claims that the University community should endorse this action as a legitimate and valid means of expressing their opposition to the military.  It goes beyond the issue of throwing mud and eggs.  The real issue is: does a noisy minority have the right to tarnish the entire University’s name?

Let's make it clear.  You do not speak for us.  We did not vote for you.  The majority of the university did not vote for you, your party, or your politics.  But your actions reflect badly on all of us.  You may not understand this, but accusing someone of violence is not justification for committing symbolic violence yourself.  Neither is your frustration; because if frustration were the standard, then attacking someone would be justified for anyone bearing a grudge.

The University of the Philippines is sanctified by its commitment towards freedom of thought without threat of violence or retribution.  An attack on campus, against a person from any institution, is an insult to us all and a surrender of our community’s moral ascendancy as a place of learning and discussion.  It is the tragic and unforgivable truth that our campus student politicians fail or refuse to realize this, invalidating their claims of leadership and representation for the majority of UP's students.
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