By Alex P. Vidal
“The most shocking fact about war is that its victims and its instruments are individual human beings, and that these individual beings are condemned by the monstrous conventions of politics to murder or be murdered in quarrels not their own.”—Aldous Huxley
I AM probably one of the many Filipinos living abroad today who have been seriously monitoring the ongoing bloody carnage in Ukraine since Day One.
As an anti-war advocate and someone who detests whatever violence, I take the subject matter seriously; I easily get emotional when I see dead people caught in the middle of armed conflict.
I have been using multiple gadgets simultaneously to get access to major media networks covering the actual war right there on the battlefield since three weeks ago, day and night.
In between my regular tasks, I also read the major dailies in their hard copies and online, and listened to various opinions by both active and retired soldiers and war veterans, including social scientists, historians, among other experts in foreign affairs and geopolitics in podcasts and “live” TV interviews.
Seeing shocked, scared, and bloody faces of children, women and elderly fleeing from a children’s and maternity hospital when Russian bombs recently annihilated Mariupol instantly brought tears to my eyes.
Especially when babies born only last year were burned and killed.
You don’t need to be a parent—a father or a mother—to feel the pain of losing a child in a violent manner without any justification.
The fact that civilians are directly being targeted and maimed by bombs and bullets fired by the Russian invaders, speaks of how atrocious and brutal has been the military campaign initiated by Vladimir Putin.
It’s not the first time I personally absorbed the pain and sadness of those who lost their loved ones in a war.
The Holocaust, the manner it was implemented and the piles of naked dead bodies dumped one after the other in a mass grave, really affected me to the point I had nightmares for so many weeks after watching its documentary and seeing the black and white photos of the victims exterminated without any chance of fighting back or escaping.
I also saw a lot of documentaries about the horrors of World War II and the game-changing bombings of Nagasaki and Hiroshima; history films detailing the morbid testimonies of Vietnam War survivors and how their comrades got waylaid by a hail of bullets coming from different directions when they were trapped in treacherous Saigon terrains.
It’s not far-fetched for President Rodrigo Duterte to throw his support behind Vice President Leni Robredo in the eleventh hour, especially if he realizes that the presidential candidate he had openly disparaged, Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., might not win.
Silently, Mr. Duterte is definitely hellbent to ensure the victory of his daughter, Mayor Sara Carpio, for vice president and may be aggressively “campaigning for her” in a different manner not seen in public.
He knows a Robredo-Carpio result for president and vice president in the May 9, 2022 election will not hurt him, or at least he would be “safe” from possible political persecution once he has become citizen Rodrigo.
Mr. Duterte has been unpredictable during his six years as president. Although he had repeatedly shamed and lashed at the vice president for her various “sins”—real and imagined—there were times he changed his mind and obeyed his heart when dealing with personalities he disliked.
In a recent statement, Mr. Duterte said he preferred the next president to be a lawyer: “Sana abugado. Isang tingin mo lang maka-decide ka na agad under repercussions. Whatever kind of issue, alam nila.”
How many lawyers are now running for president?
(The author, who is now based in New York City, used to be the editor of two local dailies in Iloilo.—Ed)