At the CCTA event last May 10, an unknown lady was a bit pushy and ardent in distributing a piece of paper (about a seventh of a letter size sheet) containing the following text:
First they came for the Jews and I did not speak out because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for the Communist and I did not speak out because I was not a Communist.
Then they came for the trade unionist and I did not speak out because I was not a trade unionist.
Then they came for me and there (was) no left to speak out for me.
– Pastor Martin Niemoller
I was not able to approach the lady to ask her why such a statement. I could not fathom the message at first, as it tested my sense of logic. But I used my heart to understand it and, eureka, I was touched by it.
I think the message pertains to change advocates as both advocates and their persons. They want to protect people but they can only do so much. They do protect people but who protect them in return?
According to PAHRA, since 2001, there are more than 2,000 documented cases of extra-judicial killings involving civil society change advocates. For this year alone, more than 200 cases of murder were monitored and documented. Bayan Muna claims more than a quarter of this came from its ranks.
Since 2001, more than 20 peasants were killed, all without any association to Bayan Muna, but militant enough to push for authentic agrarian reform and earn the ire of their assassins and/or the mandators. In a supposedly civilized world, killing of human beings by human beings gone astray seems to be a living legacy of the dark ages of humanity.
Our Philippine government is signatory to various international convenants and agreements related to the protection and guarantee of the human rights of its citizens. But look what is happening now.