Human Rights

Treating them like monkeys

Nora Aunor’s famous character in Minsan sa Isang Gamu-gamo, (or was it the Kano character, who thought Nora’s kid brother was a pig?) was, I think, largely responsible for likening victims of human rights abuses to pigs (“My brother is not a pig”). It was, of course, said to have been based on real events, during the 70s when the Kano lorded it over Subic and Clark Bases, of a bored redneck sentinel who did target practice on kids wandering the base grounds.

From what I gather, US soldiers love name-calling. In Iraq and the Middle East, they regularly disrespect their Arab enemies with such derogatory names like “towelheads”, “ragheads” or “camel jockeys”, while during the Vietnam War, the Vietcong were called “dinks”, “gooks” or “slopes.” They, of course, need to designate less-than-human attributes to their enemies. It helps the fascists rationalize their fascism: they have to believe there is nothing wrong in harming their enemies and not respecting their human rights.

Apparently, here in the Philippines, it’s much more than a figure of speech that demonstrators regularly use in their fiery denunciations of fascism — more than treating them like animals, the facists really do call their victims animals. A case of kidnapping by soldiers of two civilians (albeit suspected of being red leaders) involved such name-calling.

Here is my report, in Filipino, on the incident involving name-calling:


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