We taught hatred, not critical thinking

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ANTONIO P. CONTRERAS

ANTONIO P. CONTRERAS

AND there they were, chanting “Hukayin! Hukayin! Hukayin!” (Dig it up! Dig it up! Dig it up!)

I was not there to see it live, but what I saw on television was enough to horrify me.

Young, impressionable students, as I am sure somewhere in the crowd there were a few of mine whom I endeavored to teach critical theory and research methodology every Tuesday and Thursday for the past three trimesters.

They wanted to dig up the corpse of a dead man they have been taught to hate, to the exhortation of people from my generation who should know better, that our sense of “pakikipagkapwa” puts a limit to that hatred the moment a person dies.

In that moment, “kapwa” lost to blind rage. The only indication onecould get of their youth was their laughter. But still the rage was terrifying.

I used to think that we teach our children fear and blind obedience.

We lull them to sleep with lullabies of fear and melancholy. One lullaby from the Visayas tells babies to sleep since their father is away. Another one from Bicol is most horrifying, where a child asks his parents to cut off his head and throw it in the lake if he were a bad child.

And we match this with a barrage of nursery rhymes of eggs falling from a wall, to Jack and Jill rolling down a hill, and cap it up with fairy tales full of witches and ogres, and big bad wolves.

Through these narratives we scare our children to sleep, and fear becomes their entertainment. As a result, fear ends up as the default feeling, and not courage, and heroism becomes a rare commodity when the going gets rough.

We also deny our children the ability to make choices, by turning them into obedient wards. We make them wear jackets because we feel cold, without asking them if they too feel cold. We turn them into the redemption of our dreams and inflict on them our frustrations as would-be ballerinas, violin players, and football superstars by forcing them to attend ballet, violin and football lessons. We force them to wear clothes because we think they are cute, even if they feel horrible. We ask them to perform for our friends to show them off and proclaim what lucky parents we are without even asking our children if they are fine wearing a clown dress, or singing the theme song from “Annie.”

How I wish that we could rear our children to be more courageous and critical thinkers, to wean them away from the horrifying lullabies, the fearsome nursery rhymes and fairy tales, and the regimented lives within which we have boxed them in the guise of parental love and care.

But to be courageous doesn’t mean to be disrespectful. To be a critical thinkergoes beyond simply believing in a narrative critical of one person or historical period because it is the preferred version.

The millennial and post-millennial generations engage a world where information has freely circulated, and where expertise has become diffuse. It is supposed to be an exciting domain to explore and empower one’s self, except that it has descended into a post-factual landscape where truth no longer comes from scientific authority, but one that is now constructed from posts in social media.

It is easy to accuse Marcos loyalists and Duterte fanatics of being the bearers of fakery and historical revisionism in social media, and that they are crude and vulgar, but one just has to look at the placards being carried by the young anti-Marcos burial demonstrators to realize that Marcos and Duterte critics are as guilty. Likening Marcos to Hitler is a historical fallacy. But you see this repeatedly displayed in placards. The hashtag #MarcosNoHero has been prominently carried even if no one is asserting that he is. Trolling appears to have spilled over into protest rallies and placardswith cuss words and personal insults replacing politically sensible slogans.

In all of these, civility and respect have taken a hit. Former students disrespect their former professors who disagree with them. Colleagues bash each other. Friendships crumble.

The responsibility rests with the older and teaching generations to instill critical thinking to the young. We should teach to negate the effects of lullabies and nursery rhymes of fear, and of regimented obedience.

But what I saw during the so-called“Black Friday”rally was an indication that we have failed miserably.

The pain and anger of my generation who suffered under Martial Law are now used to teach the young how to hate, even as we teach them history as if it is just about the perversions of one man.

“Hukayin! Hukayin! Hukayin!”

Never in our history have we seen a collective exhortation to desecrate the dead, that in order to feel good about giving Marcos a collective dirty finger for the monster that he was, we strip our young of theirsense of “pakikipagkapwa.”

antonio.contreras@manilatimes.net

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10 Comments

  1. Nakita n’yo na: That’s how the so called victims of Martial Law during the Marcos years behaved. Déjà vu.

  2. I gravely doubt if hate was really instilled on their hearts, these mindless provocateurs. Their leaders sound like mouthpieces – no guts, no feelings, no idea of what really happened during the Marcos years. How could they? The pain of seeing the old strongman “alive” again to be buried this time in a soldier’s cemetery was the result of temerity among our leaders after him and the people who voted their clan back to power. Within the span of 30 years, we allowed ourselves to “forgive” the Marcoses by accepting them back into our fold without them saying sorry or returning their stolen wealth willingly back to the country’s coffers. The Jr. even ran for VP and almost won, or will win eventually after the dispute.

    If you ask me, there are many other unworthy cadavers buried at the Libingan compared to F. Marcos. But that doesn’t make them spectacular heroes just because the name of the place is “Libingan ng mga Bayani” which is to me, a misnomer. We declare Ninoy a national hero, but on what merit? and why was he not buried at the Libingan if he deserved it? Just asking (smile).

    We must really move on and stop blaming the dead. Look at them (Marcoses), they are all alive and strong and powerful. But if we really want them back, lets forgive them and forget the past and let them bury their dead in peace. Edsa 4? Retards!

  3. What so big deal about ” history” with its many versions? whether according to pedrosa, zaide or mel brooks?
    If seen thru the twists, the embilishments, lies and self serving interests; then filter, verify and extract the lessons to be learned, pitfalls to avoid, it could be meaningful record of progress or downfall.

    So between 30-40 years ago and now, did we progress? look beyond the words, the real outcome, what is really happening.

    Critical examination and considerations can make the difference, to make use of experience and lessons from the past.

  4. “Lord, make me an instrument of Your peace. Where there is hatred, let me sow love; where there is injury, pardon; where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light; where there is sadness, joy.

    O, Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console; to be understood as to understand; to be loved as to love; For it is in giving that we receive; it is in pardoning that we are pardoned; it is in dying that we are born again to eternal life.”

    This is the famous prayer of Saint Francis of Assisi… but unfortunately the Jesuit brothers who runs The Ateneo seems to forget this. If only our spiritual leader has done their job of teaching us in sowing peace and love instead of hatred dapat walang gulo sa Pilipinas, pero sa halip na sila ang mamuno para sa kapayaan sila pa ang nangunguna at nagtuturo sa mga kabataan kung paano mamuhi sa kapwa. What an irony, these priest bear the name of JESUS CHRIST who teaches us anything but to be lovers of peace. Kaya nga pangalan nila Society of Jesus pero iba ang kanilang ginagawa.

  5. I feel that our youth are being brainwashed by these so called makabayans but actually looking after for their personal gains. I have two kids born here in Canada but I make sure they still adapt they way I was brought up but I explain to them they have the choices to follow. I just guide them the right path to be a good citizen between the country I was born and the country they were born. And I am proud of them they are both professional in their own
    right. So for me, it’s not the question of teaching them the right way but give them also the freedom to choose. Because it’s their life also are stake. Being a parent we have to give our kids the freedom, but we are their to advise them what is good for them. But never impose it to them the way you were brought up before.

  6. I am proud and glad that my parents chose green and not the blue during those tumultuous years of the 70’s for my education.

  7. Don’t forget that its the Church, more specifically the Jesuits, who are egging them to act like savages. Is religion suppose to provide the moral compass for a society? Yes, but only if that religion is not the Catholic Church. If you will study the history of the Church which is filled with the worst examples of the humanity’s darkest impulses, then you will understand where these blackshirts are coming from.

    • It looks like the dominant thrust of the column just went over your head. The pinoy kids grow up learning from their mothers and yayas “lullabies of fear and melancholy.” They literally grow up immersed in a world of hate as the only emotional and logical response to a world of horror. Most grow up like zombies ready to obey their marching orders like robots. Without your realizing it, you might as well be a zombie yourself. Think for a moment: Do your “blackshirts” sing lullabies? Are they even qualified as yayas? Their students are already zombies when they enter Ateneo de Manila, or even University of the Philippines. After all our back and forth, I doubt you will ever learn anything really thought out. Thinking critically is beyond the grasp of most pinoys –especially if the educators themselves are also the robots/zombies that their mothers and yayas lulled them in their sleep.

    • You surely sound like you know exactly who the savages are and what academic caves they come from. It takes real leg work to know what you purport to know. These savages and their eggers are not expected to respond here being savages that they are supposed to be. So your research is what society is depending on. But you did not really research, did you? Just like your lack of historical details on the Church is supposed to bolster your contention about “the worst examples of humanity’s darkest impulses”. Why don’t you instead cite examples of atrocities in your INC? You should know.

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