Just a year ago, Christopher Lao had been a target of netizens' criticism and ridicule over an amusing side comment captured on a news video reel. Just a few months ago, Carabuena sparked the outrage of countless Filipinos over a footage of him physically abusing an MMDA personnel.
(As for Sotto's claims of being cyberbullied, HAH!)
And now, #AMALAYER.
These incidents are not entirely unique. How many of us also had a "I was not informed" moment (not just about floods, but on other remotely-related stuff)? Or a time where we got away with 'bullying' someone (okay, so maybe not all of us would relate to this)?
Or simply having that "lapse of judgement" moment where our minds just snap, and we go finger-snapping at people because we think we can or we should?
The only difference that separates our 'moments' with the above-mentioned local cyber-lebrities is that we didn't capture the memory on video.
A well-meaning friend of mine pointed out one of the lessons from this incident: don't take videos of other people. He believes it's a breach of privacy, and in some ways — I would agree. But in this techno-savvy age where almost every gadget has a camera feature (except the calculator), almost every recorded incident can be potentially an act of trespassing on one's right to privacy — or even an act of civic duty.
Should we then adopt a "it's none of my business" attitude every time we witness a possible injustice, like say - someone who's physically or verbally abusing someone in public? What if it's a married couple, are we then overstepping on their private domestic boundary? If it's a kid bullying another, can the same evidence be used by the bully to sue whoever made the video without his permission?
How do we define that thin, almost imaginary line that separates civic duty from the right to privacy?
But really, who is to be blamed in these fiascos?
There are millions of videos in the internet; not just in Youtube, but in other websites as well. In fact, some comments in other not-so-popularized posts are more derogatory, demeaning or downright crass. That said, what made the #AMALAYER incident quite a sensation was not the video itself, but on the online reaction to it. And in a culture like ours, where pranks and humor are mixed with indignation and semi-self-righteousness (as well as some Pontius Pilate / "hugas-kamay" complex every now and then)... well, as most people who really don't care about the issue would say: "It's more fun in the Philippines."
Who is to blame? The guard, who simply acted out of her perceived duty?
Who is to blame? The girl, who felt wronged and simply acted out in defense in the best behavior that she knows?
Who is to blame? The passing (hapless) witness, who took upon the burden of capturing the moment in his gadget — whether out of malice or innocence, we can never truly tell?
Who is to blame? The commenters, likers, re-tweeters, sharers and other netizens who simply were venting out their right to free expression and opinion, yet helped it become popular?
Who is to blame? The news agencies, whose duty is to report facts and current events — the demand for which is compounded by the challenges of filtering today's maddening torrents of information?
Who is to blame? The humbugs, those righteous people who chose not to participate to show others that such it is beneath their status or principle?
Why are we always looking for someone else to blame?
It reminds me of that incident in the Bible — the first crime, so to say. Or as we religiously call it: the sin. When God asked Adam about what happened, he pointed to Eve. When God confronted Eve, she pointed to the serpent.
Would history be different if Adam replied, "God, it was my fault." instead of blaming the woman?
Would history be different if Eve answered, "Yes, it was my fault." instead of blaming the serpent?
(Never mind the serpent, he really is to be blamed. God already knew that.)
Albert Camus said:
"The evil that is in the world almost always comes of ignorance, and good intentions may do as much harm as malevolence if they lack understanding."
Looking back, we realize that almost everyone who participated (or did not participate) acted in good faith, with good intentions. But still, rather than focusing on the video itself — we can use it as a tool for introspection, for some personal reflection.
For this, I pray that:
When faced with pressures beyond my control
When injustices surround to watch me fall
God, please help me find some restraint
Though inwardly I'd rather shout or faint.
When raging emotions push for my right
When I should've back down, but still chose to fight
God, please give this darkened mind Your light
And see beyond this petty plight.
When careless thoughts tempt to form words
When malice taint innocence to act out verbs
God, please remind me of Your grace
To keep compassion in passion's place.
Yes, I'm a liar in many ways. But thank God, He forgave me and now, I strive to change.
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