COMMENTARY: There is no need for indoctrination

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 08 October) — When I joined the people’s movement, I was not the usual naive neophyte waiting to be indoctrinated. I had purpose. I did not have the gall to confront the authorities in the streets. I wanted another brand of activism beyond rahrah. I am not saying that the rahrah in the streets should not be a welcomed expression. The street is the only discourse space available for the poor.

Unlike the “sosyal” visible activists, I chose another arena I could work best. The service and fact finding missions suited me best. I did my own search. I wasn’t one of those waiting to be indoctrinated and uncritically or fanatically accepted the facts or information laid down for me. I investigated.

I consider the people’s movement as a huge inclusive discourse arena. I integrated with all kinds of people in the spirit of Respect, Equality and Solidarity.

As my involvement and understanding went deeper, I also engaged in debates, especially that this was the discourse space I asserted was also mine. In the process, I encountered disagreements with colleagues but unlike others who were more concerned about domination, I did not push for my ideas when rejected. I continued working.

I was aware that being an activist I had to be twice as good to get half as much.

Some of the opinion leaders who surfaced only at the time of Duterte never took a stand during the time of GMA, Aquino or all other presidents. For instance, during the Maguindanao massacre I didn’t see a shadow of theirs. During the Mamasapano fiasco, while I joined other doctors in Manila calling for the resignation of Aquino, they were still silent.

There were other issues that I expected them to stand with the victims and survivors but they were silent. I did not see them during the peaceful turnovers of POWs but I saw the engaged citizens ensuring that their warm bodies protected Duterte in the peace effort and go for the non military solution. I did not see them defend the rights of those who had less power because they could not relate to the issue of poverty, hunger, labor exploitation because they were not affected anyway.

Now that Duterte politics became the dominant politics they sounded like they were there all the time. When Duterte just started his political career, the citizens who were into critical engagement did so much that helped him perform what was extraordinary. Now that Duterte became powerful and popular they have made a personality cult out of themselves. Some of them have even tried to cut me down and subject me to red-tagging.

If Philippines were a country of politically mature people, I wouldn’t have minded the tag but the tag was just out of context. As an activist I will continue to be one based on Social Justice no matter what political order exists. I continue my stand against political dynasties no matter who prevails. I continue my work for Climate Justice, Environmental Rights defending.

A lot of people try to distort facts or try political reframing if only to protect the politicos they have bias for. My bias is for those who have less power, those who are marginalized. For those with their middle class bias, I have seen them justify injustices by labelling the Lumads or farmers as communists, as if this will make the latter less of human beings.

I know what I struggle for and I know the social context. If you feel this is about you, just continue with your elitist politics but do not expect me to give up mine. It would be best to confront those who actually indoctrinated you or marginalized or disenfranchised you rather than just lump them into faceless and nameless individuals for your political gains. Discourse with them. Clarify if there were things you never understood. I grew up this way and I made more friends crossing enemy lines. Likewise, I also made enemies from the holier than thou friends who claimed to be authentic and turned out to be phoney.

One thing is for sure I have not indoctrinated any one person into my biased politics or ideals. The people I presently work with have more intelligence, discipline and principles than I do. There is no need for indoctrination.

(MindaViews is the opinion section of MindaNews. Dr. Jean Lindo is an anesthesiologist practicing in Davao City. She is into Health and Human Rights work. She is also involved in the women’s movement in Davao City, chairs the Gabriela in Southern Mindanao and teaches Community Medicine at the Davao Medical School Foundation…The author posted this piece on her FB page on October 7, 2018. Permission to re-publish granted to MindaNews)