By Rafael Monday
2April2017 (BicolToday.com) – “Nothing strengthens authority so much as silence,” said Leonardo da Vinci.
It is in silence that we submit our will and freedom to the complete power of false superiors. It is in noise and civil disobedience that people break away from the bondages of a repressive state. And it is the duty of that people to make sure that their noise will never be silenced.
Recently, news broke out from Bicol Today that a number of campus journalists in Bicol are under PNP surveillance. How ironic is it that men who were trained for warfare with a complete arsenal of guns and weapons are seemingly afraid and on the lookout for these student activists who have never in their life handled any weapon or even participated in any physical confrontation.
Are the authorities afraid of the very students who will instantly swoon with just a glimpse of Enrique Gil or Daniel Padilla? The very students who are willing to trade in their lunch money just to play DOTA for a few hours. The authorities certainly have every right to be afraid.
The Paris Uprising, the Philippines’ First Quarter Storm, Tiananmen Square protests, the 2014 Hong Kong protests or the Umbrella Revolution, and the recent protests in South Korea, all of these movements showed the inherent power of the youth to force progress and to voice out the disappointments of a disheartened population. This obviously made a mark on the consciousness of authorities and state leaders that they should never disregard the ability of a group of angry and angsty students.
Yes, the students, millennials, may seem to be rebellious, soft, and spoiled, however, they are also due to the changing times, well-informed, intelligent, and socially engaged. Still, there is something wrong with these “socially engaged” students.
The youths today are definitely engaged in political and social discourse, however, they confine these discussions only within the boundaries of the “social media.” I am not belittling the power of Facebook and Twitter, however, Marcos was not toppled by a tweet.
Students need to realize the importance of genuine public protest and direct action. Together with these, these groups of students need the guidance of an active and engaged student leadership.
Student councils and leaders of all the schools and universities in the Philippines should be aware of the heavy weight of their responsibility to lead these “social media connoisseurs” to an avenue of public discourse and direct action. Lead them to the streets, gather them in demonstrations, encourage them to express their passion for love of country in writing and action. The most important thing is to never be static and passive.
Student groups and councils are not event organizers. They are not mere puppets to the interests of the school administration. No, they do not simply conform to the wishes of those in power. They are there to represent each and every student who is thinking of not enrolling for the next semester due to the continuous increase in tuition fees. The student who is repressed by the school administration for voicing out anomalies in the school system. The student abused by his or her professors whether physically, verbally, or academically.
Student leaders are supposed to give voice to those who were forced to be silent. That is how it’s should be until there is still repression and exploitation of their fellow students. As one Filipino patriot once said, “The youth is the hope of the nation.” I say moreover that “The student leaders are the hope of the youth itself.” [BicolToday’s Contributor]