in january 2013, the day after the metropolitan trial court pronounced carlos celdran guilty of offending religious feelings when he posed as rizal brandishing a damaso placard in the manila cathedral, i blogged, in fairness to carlos celdran, reacting to the phrase “there being no mitigating … circumstance.”
I thought the controversy on the ActRx Triact anti-dengue drug was going to die a quiet death—consigned to inevitable oblivion by the strong arm of politics that threatened many close to the heart of the research, nitpicked every which way, vilified as crap, with a media ensemble so eager to chorus their tsutsuwariwaps, amens and hallelujahs for the rantings of the powers that be.
But, perhaps, the controversy is far from dead. There has been a flurry of emails from the other side of the controversy—taking Garin, Claudio, and Leachon to task.
There is no “but” about what happened at Charlie Hebdo yesterday. Some people published some cartoons, and some other people killed them for it. Words and pictures can be beautiful or vile, pleasing or enraging, inspiring or offensive; but they exist on a different plane from physical violence, whether you want to call that plane spirit or imagination or culture, and to meet them with violence is an offense against the spirit and imagination and culture that distinguish humans. Nothing mitigates this monstrosity. There will be time to analyze why the killers did it, time to parse their backgrounds, their ideologies, their beliefs, time for sociologists and psychologists to add to understanding. There will be explanations, and the explanations will be important, but explanations aren’t the same as excuses. Words don’t kill, they must not be met by killing, and they will not make the killers’ culpability go away.
To abhor what was done to the victims, though, is not the same as to become them.
The newspaper was born in controversy in 1970, after a publication called Hara-Kiri was banned for mocking the death of former President Charles de Gaulle. That prompted its journalists to set up a new paper, Charlie Hebdo, named for its reprint of Charlie Brown cartoons from the United States and a French shorthand for weekly publication.
i loved eric gamalinda’s My Sad Republic (2000), but i can’t say the same for The Descartes Highlands (2014). nothing to do with how different the english is, even if it’s far from the latin american baroque, filipino-english style, of Republic, rather, in the author’s own words, “something completely new, stripped down, and more in-your-face.”
i get asked why i bother to blog again and again on ActRx TriAct when no one seems to be reading, much less agreeing; mostly, the comments only echo, insist on, what kill-the-cocktail proponents feed an unthinking mediocre media.
meron naman akong readers, heh, or so my site stats tell me, and dr. stuart and i have been receiving email thanking us for the posts and the research and wishing that mainstream media would pick them up, publish them as well, so the public may know. yeah, we wish.