Wednesday, March 28, 2007

In Manila...See?

I usually check either Manolo's blog or in the mornings for the latest on what's happening back home. Nothing particularly striking when I logged on this morning, a few hours later voilà! A hostage-taking!

A particularly notable take on this interesting incident is Redbluethought's:
From where he decided to do this betrays yet again his cadre roots. Look at how he positions the bus right infront of the monument of Andres Bonifacio. We all know that Bonifacio is a plebian hero. Notice where he got the bus from—Tondo Manila. Tondo is where Bonifacio was born and where all the poor masses who staged the May 1 2002 revolt came from. What’s ironic though, he decided to hostage the very kids of the masses whom he’s supposed to protect (it could have been different if he did it in a busload full of the elite’s kids)

Look at the timing. This incident happened today, 28 March 2007, a day before the start of campaigns for local posts...

Take note of what he said when he was being interviewed by media. Its full of political-speak. He’s an intellectual. He knows what he’s doing that makes him extremely dangerous.
I can't even imagine the kind of atmosphere there is in Manila by now, this being an election year. The hostage-taking is a bit over the top, but as Redbluethoughts suggests, this wasn't simply the whims of a deranged man. It was a well-planned and thought-out action. A bit extreme, but 'extreme' gets the media mileage.

It seems to me that Jun Ducat is well-versed in tactics often employed by new social movements, that is transnational activists.

Some core assumptions by these forms of political action:

Old spaces for mass action are parliaments, factories or government buildings. In this age of media's ubiquity, there emerge new spaces for mass action - spaces of consumption and communication – malls, parks, cyberspace. The key weapon of these kinds of actions is public opinion, therefore, it must be "newsworthy."

I have no access to local TV here, but Redbluethoughts describes the hostage drama pretty well. It seems to me, there's heavy use of symbols, because the hostage-taking in itself is a symbolic action. Aside from the place and timing, his use of the children conveniently presents itself as our future held hostage by the present dysfunctional system.

According to scholar and geographer Paul Routledge, Postmodern politics aims not to capture the state apparatus but to resist and restrict state power. Challenges to the state tend not to be mounted directly, but to be mediated through society and the media, relying on symbolic action to distort and subvert social and spatial orders.

Well, he got the results. We're all talking about it aren't we?


Edited to add:

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