DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/05 Sept) — If the explosion on Roxas Avenue on Friday were indeed an act of terrorism — and we are waiting if the results of a thorough investigation would bear this out — then it is important that Dabawenyos take back the space that is the Roxas Night Market and make sure that it is back on its enterprising and dynamic feet soon.
Terrorists “win” when through their acts of terror they inflict not only direct harm on people but also generate fear in others — the paralyzing kind that dictates on the minds, emotions, and movements of people.
Terrorists “win” when in the wake of their actions old divisions are intensified or new ones created. The view that the incident was “karma” on Dabawenyos, and the “I am a Dabawenyo, I am not a Filipino” drive on social media post-September 2 may seem poles apart. But in truth they are of the same kind of intolerance championed by terrorists. Terrorism loses momentum when citizens practice inclusiveness, respect diversity, and promote principled unity.
Terrorists “win” when legitimate concerns about government action in response to terrorist provocations get brushed aside as being only politically motivated and thus invalid. Terrorists destroy institutions and practices that are not in support of their agenda such as checks and balances, and rule of law. In the end, effective actions that do not endanger constitutional and democratic measures are ways of pushing back against terrorism which thrives on anarchy and lawlessness.
Terrorists “win” when the blast is construed without benefit of a full investigation as an attack on the leader of the country, and the battle lines are rapidly reduced to simply being pro or anti-Digong. Terrorists do not value critical and engaged citizenship, preferring to cultivate unquestioning and rabid followers, and the elevation of their revered leaders or ideals into cult figures. The dialogue-oriented and context-based discussion of issues by citizens who resist the temptation of resorting to convenient but inadequate labels frustrates terrorists.
The Roxas Night Market isn’t just the site of a senseless act of violence. It also represents the efforts of people to engage in gainful economic activities through the provision of goods and services in a manner that affirms a sense of community.
With adequate security and other measures, and courage afire in the hearts of entrepreneurs, vendors, customers, shoppers and promenaders–whether Dabawenyo or not, and citizens all — we can take back the night on Roxas and prevent it from gaining ground elsewhere. (MindaViews is the opinion section of MindaNews. This piece was first posted on Sept. 4 on the Facebook wall of Mags Z. Maglana, a Mindanawon who has worked in various capacities over the past 30 years for peace, good governance, sustainable development, and the promotion of human rights. Permission to reprint granted to MindaNews. Please email feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org)