Living against evil

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    ‘The mentality of retaliation destroys states, while the mentality of tolerance builds nations.’

    THE congressmen who grilled ABS-CBN’s top executives got an overflow of TV exposures, their faces plastered on every TV set or in online video streaming for two weeks in our more than 7,000 islands. Before, it was just a dream to be a coveted major player in regular broadcast coverage of the major TV and radio networks. But the people are not prepared to regard them as protagonists in what has been a circus going after the necks of the huge provider of entertainment and information.

    The TV cameras are kinder to the roles of the upright exhibiting kindness and compassion to the poor and the oppressed as against the images of power and aggression. It was no surprise that Buhay Party-list Rep. Lito Atienza trended well after he tried to put a stop to the “inquisition” by reminding his fellow legislators that the two-committee hearing had been called to “hear” the resource persons invited from the various regulatory government and private agencies to confirm and deny any reported violations of ABS-CBN. After the officials attested that the network committed no violation as alleged, the agitated congressmen pounced on the content of the news and other production programs.

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    In the face of the devastating social and economic impact of the spread of COVID-19, we can no longer live the way we used to. We should step out by overcoming fear that has kept most of us chained to indifference and apathy to millions who remain jobless and have nothing to eat.

    Allow me please to quote St. Augustine from Legazpi City Bishop Joel Z. Baylon’s invocation during the recent Tapatan sa Aristocrat 7th anniversary. “Our concern should not only to live as we ought, but also to do so in the sight of men, not only to have a good conscience but also, so far as we can in our weakness, so far as we can govern our frailty, to do nothing which might lead our weak brethren into thinking evil of us. Otherwise, as we feed on the good pasture and drink the pure water, we may trample on God’s meadow, and weaker sheep will have to feed on trampled grass and drink from troubled waters.”

    Also, from Nelson Mandela on exhibiting nobility and forgiveness which should be constant during these very trying times. “After I became president, I asked one day some members of my close protection to stroll with me in the city, have lunch at one of its restaurants. We sat in one of the downtown restaurants and ordered food. After the waiter brought us our requests, I noticed that there is someone sitting in front of my table waiting for food. I told then one of the soldiers to ask that person to join us with his food and eat with us. The soldier went and asked the man so. The man brought up his food and sat by my side as I asked him and began to eat. His hands were trembling constantly until everyone had finished their food and the man went his way. The soldier said to me: “The man was apparently quite sick. His hands trembled as he ate!”

    “No, not at all.” said Mandela. “This man was the guard of the prison where I was jailed.

    Often, after the torture I was subjected to, I used to scream and ask for a little water. The very same man used to come every time and urinate on my head instead. So I found him scared, trembling, expecting me to reciprocate, at least in the same way, either by torturing him or imprisoning him as I am now the president of South Africa. But this is not my character or part of my ethics. The mentality of retaliation destroys states, while the mentality of tolerance builds nations.”