Say something or nothing at allBy Philip Dominguez Mercurio
I’m very concerned these days. A sense of unease has come upon me, and the reasons cannot be clearly written in stone.
I was attempting to publish a column piece last week called “Five Years Later,” commenting on the terror of September 11 and why the extremists had targeted America. It was tough going as my editors here at Philippine News and I debated on whether to publish it or not. My material basically got so watered down with editing that we reached a decision not to run the piece.
Of course, this won’t stop me from trying to resurrect and revise it, and see it through publication. I strongly believe my views on this subject should be heard.
That incident made me realize how disturbing the problem was: there are limitations as to what can be expressed in our society today. It’s not due to censorship, but to the times that we all live in. We weren’t worried about the government clamping down on our expressiveness. Instead, it’s the way some people would have reacted to what we wanted to say -- however truthful the subject matter is, no matter how sensitively and sensibly we phrase our thoughts.
It’s very hard to express your views about the horrors of 9/11 without being able to name your foe. It’s like aiming a gun with only blanks in it … no purpose, no spunk. An image of Teddy Roosevelt walking softly with no stick comes to mind.
I wonder if in our hesitation to criticize and vilify our enemies, in print at least, we are actually providing them some protection, an immunity of sorts. In stark contrast, those who have done us wrong are enjoying the freedom to say all they want against us while we cower in silence – toe the line, sit back, and feign insensitivity.
Don’t we all live by the golden tenet, “Do unto others as you have them do unto you?” If we are concerned about the welfare and sensitivities of others, I believe everyone else should. No exceptions. Why should there be people who can get away with ignoring the golden rule?
I think we have come to a point where we should decide once and for all whether to say everything, or nothing. Either we choose the freedom to express all our opinions unabated, or withhold everything in undue deference to other people’s sensitivities. This is something we should debate about. Seeing a network like Viacom restrict an image of Mohammed and an adult-cartoon show, South Park, allow Jesus Christ to be trampled upon, clearly illustrates the problem we are facing. Why the double standard?
You may wonder why I speak in such vague terms.
Here is a limit on who and what we could speak of here in America. It may seem logical for some, but it sets a dangerous precedent for all of us in the long run.
See this article,"Say something or nothing at all" in Philippine News. Click here.