When I was in second year college, I took an English 10 subject where we had to write a position paper. I chose to talk about squatters or politically termed as informal settlers because I found their reason absurd. Why did they settle on a land if they knew it was not theirs? Why could they not go for legal means of having a land of their own? Why don’t they accept the relocation assigned by the local government?
I grew up knowing that what they were doing was entirely wrong. Whenever the news was about demolition, I had this thought that ‘Well, it was their fault. They built their houses on a land not theirs.” The demolition team would then say “We reprimanded them a lot of times, but they did not even lift a foot to the relocation site we had for them.”
But from “yes”, it changed to “maybe” because of my Socio 10 that I took when I was in fourth year college. I remember what my professor said, “What’s rational for you is not rational for others. Even if you studied in a premiere university, it would not mean that your words are the absolute truth.” Example. Christians believe in one god, and worshiping more than one god is considered a sin. On the other hand, Hindus are polytheistic; it would be hard for them to believe that only one god exists.
That, I proved during the presidential elections 2010. Before I decided for who to vote, I looked at their credentials: who among them had the same vision for education, who among them had laws passed, who among them had no record of corruption, who among them followed the rules in posting advertisements etc. Afterwards, I decided to go for Gordon. Most of the people studying in the same university where I was also voted for him (he even topped the mock elections there) so I was really relieved.
However, the results were the opposite of what I thought. While on the process of accepting that my candidate was losing, I was asking my self: “Why did people vote for a person who was already impeached? Why did people vote for someone who did not even pass a law?”
So when my professor explained to us these matters, that not everyone has the same thinking as we have, that what we think was rational was not rational for others, that respect is the key for these differences, that even though we’re all humans, it doesn’t mean that we have the same personalities, thoughts and feelings–I changed my thinking from ‘yes to demolition’ to ‘maybe we could talk about it’.
I guess my principle changed after then. “An action is all right as long as no one is hurt by it.”
Unfortunately, last Friday I witnessed a real demolition in Philcoa. As people in green pushed the carts violently to the road, a woman shouted “maawa na po kayo!” on the man leading the demolition. Though, the man said, “Anong awa-awa?” I didn’t hear the rest of the conversation, but after several minutes the man shouted, “Ikulong niyo to!” I was not troubled by the woman who was then screaming actually, but I really pitied the guy who was selling bags (or watches I think). When he heard the siren, he calmly untied the strings of his cart and slowly pushed it away. Unfortunately, one of the men in the demolition team caught him, grabbed his cart and pushed it to the road that resulted to the scattered products on our way. I saw him closed his eyes and placed his hand on his mouth. He got his phone from his pocket, called somebody… Then… tears just fell.
It was right before my eyes. Yet, I didn’t do anything. Many people didn’t make a move. Many people stood by the bridge, took a video of the whole scene, then left when it was done. I wonder, would they throw those products away and add damage to the environment? Would they give it to the poor but would not tell them that they were from a group of sellers whose products were confiscated? Or would they own them and laugh about their greed?
Come to think of it. Whoever made this planet gave this to us for free. This land was free. This land was supposed to be free. Then, why it isn’t now?