‘Palestinian children should be killed’ (2)

‘Palestinian children should be killed’ (2)

His advice to kill Palestinian children was way off the mark that a storm of protest by Muslims has refused to die down.

A sage once said, "Words can kill." Literally, they can't. But they can create the environment for the killing to happen.

That is the reason why, in the ongoing bloody war between Israel and Hamas, leaders of the protagonists precede or support their actions with language that demonizes the enemy. They employ threatening rhetoric, perhaps as a psywar strategy or due to the arrogance of dominance, if not invincibility.

We are seeing today classic media warfare at play. At the same time, this betrays the true persona of the leaders minus photoshop. Meantime, the world is on edge, and eyes are glued to the television and other media outlets. The war is not de-escalating despite a Resolution of the United Nations for a "humanitarian ceasefire," — showing the growing inutility of the world body in the face of world powers like the United States, the Big Brother of Israel.

Here at home, a top Philippine diplomat is in hot water. He stirred a hornet's nest when he made an irresponsible, inhuman statement that tended to dehumanize and demonize one of the war's protagonists — the Palestinians.

His advice to kill Palestinian children was way off the mark that a storm of protest by Muslims has refused to die down. In fact, the fire has intensified into a conflagration, spreading wildly not only in the confines of Morolandia but nationwide. Muslim netizens are unrelenting in castigating the diplomat. They call for blood by asking the President to recall and axe the diplomat from his ambassadorial posts despite his remorse by deleting his offensive remarks. 

Muslims prepared a petition online asking for Muslims' and non-Muslims' signatures to be submitted to the President. The "Resign Locsin" petition drafted by Moro activist Tirmizy Abdullah is fast gaining ground. It assails the "Islamophobic remarks…unbecoming of a diplomat representing our nation… (which) not only tarnishes our country's reputation but also incites hatred and violence. We believe in accountability for those in positions of power who misuse their platform to spread hate speech or incite violence against any group or individual based on their race or religion."

They also said that being a diplomat, he is the face of the Filipinos in foreign lands, and whatever indiscretion he commits and says, including what the DFA calls in "his personal capacity," reflects upon us all. The text is the sum of the indignation and protest of the Muslims. The petitioners claimed to have gathered almost a thousand signatures and still counting.

As we go to press, a formal petition to disbar Locsin has been filed before the Supreme Court by the Moro civil society group, 1BANGSA. Leading the petitioners were Moro professional and lawyer Musa Malayang, Maulana Balangi, Nasser Mimbala, et al. They seek "to discipline such lawyer (Locsin) as a member of the bar."

Another group, the Salaam People's Advocacy Group, has also filed a petition against Locsin. Ustadz Kamar Sabdulla and Roberto Omar Banaag led the group in submitting to the Office of Speaker Martin Romualdez of the House of Representatives a petition to impose sanctions on the ambassador. They have also asked the various Sanggunians of Muslim local government units to declare him persona non grata.

Let me give you a glimpse of how Muslims view the controversial remarks of Ambassador Locsin.

Earlier, I mentioned the well-crafted statement of Speaker Pangalian Balindong of the BARMM Regional Parliament, which mirrors the sentiments of the Members of Parliament.  Recalling history, Speaker Balindong said, "His rhetoric is reminiscent of pre-World War II Nazi propaganda in Germany which dehumanized the Jews, justifying their murder en masse…"

The Speaker also advised Ambassador Locsin to "draw lessons from the Philippines' Bangsamoro experience where the conflict was put to rest through the sincere commitment of both parties to a mutually acceptable solution, not through the subjugation, dehumanization, and destruction of peoples." 

He warned that Locsin's "words are hideous; what he conceals could be worse." And finally, Speaker Balindong called on the Ambassador "to issue a public apology immediately and resign from his post."

More in my next (Wednesday and Saturday) columns.


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