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Bacolod City, Philippines Wednesday, June 24, 2020
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Digong vs. Trump

Ninfa Leonardia

Is it still the “land of the free, and the home of the brave”? The idea occurred to me after hearing and seeing all the reports from the United States involving racial problems and an unpredictable president. Who, now, are the freest and the bravest among its citizens? Reports are full of protests and demonstrations – all caused by an age-old problem later given the name of “racism”, after people with black skins started coming into the country, not as immigrants, but as slaves to work on the estates of the white men.

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Years have passed since then, and the black man managed to assure himself rights that used to belong only to the white ones, but did the biases and discriminations ever get fully away? For a while, it seemed so, but later days have restored the enmity with incidents showing some prejudiced white people demonstrating their ingrained biases against the black. It is very sad to see such slogans as “Black Lives Matter” being waved, but the message is very clear, because it reinforces what their own Constitution implies, that all men are created equal.

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Indeed, when we come to think of it, there is no mention in the Bible, or in any revelations, what color God gave the first man and woman He created. When we were children we invented the story that since other people had chosen, or had docked in the places now called Nigeria, Africa, etcetera, when Noah landed his ark, the sun was so hot that all of them were scorched black. But we didn’t dare bring that up before our religion teachers, who were nuns, and would have considered it blasphemy, or any such sin, and make us pray the rosary in the school chapel!

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But black or white, the color of one’s skin does not determine the kind of human being he or she is. Most of the time, though, I sympathize with the blacks who did not choose the color they would be born with, and yet suffer discrimination for it. I have noticed, however, that this is not very intense in the United States, based on my experience with people there. In fact, maybe the black ladies felt some kindred with us brown-skinned ones, because in most stores and offices, they call us “Honey”, or “Dear” and that was fine with us. I doubt, though if this racism thing is going away soon enough in this world. We Filipinos should be thankful for the beautiful kayumanggi color Our Lord gave us.

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Aren’t you glad that we never had the misfortune of having a president like what the poor Americans now have? I may be blasted by his fans and loyalists who may read this, but it does look as if they had picked the wrong man for the times. Imagine a leader who would expose his followers to infection by opting to hold his grand rally in a place where the raging disease is said to be having its day! I know that he had claimed that there were fewer cases of the COVID pandemic lately, but need he tempt fate by exposing his people to it? Well, I haven’t gotten any reports on developments after the rally, but will be glad, if everyone was safe.

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But it is still no time to be complacent about this pandemic. The latest on its says that as of Monday, 9,060,780 have been victimized worldwide, with 470,939 dead. And it does not spare anyone, among the latest victims was a popular tennis world champion, Novak Djokovic. So your physique or your state of health are no assurance of immunity from it. And it is very sad to think that, aside from the COVID-19 curse, our local rebels are also doing their worst in challenging our soldiers and police. The Abu Sayaff in Sulu continues to show its fangs.

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But what a way to express their anger at what a few people, especially their President, have said or done. Some people in the United States are taking out their anger against what is happening, by toppling statues of heroes and other prominent leaders of their own country. Isn’t that insane? What have those statues to do with their gripes? Such mindless form of revenge – for what? It is just plain destructiveness, and I hope those responsible get arrested and penalized.

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In all the furor over happenings like the pandemic and the hordes of overseas Filipino workers coming home to add to our problems of lack of jobs, it seems nobody has remembered to announce that today is the 449 th founding anniversary of the City of Manila! Will there be any parades, speeches at the Luneta, and fireworks? I doubt if his advisers will allow President Duterte to expose himself, in fact, I don’t know if I was imagining it, but his appearance on TV the other day showed him unlike his usual perky self. I hope it is only the problems of State worrying him. Seeing the way Trump is behaving, we should be glad we have our irascible Digong instead.*

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