Why Do We Act As If Social Activism Is A Crime?


When I was at a seminar, a journalist from a well-known news network began talking about extrajudicial killing. A young man behind my friend whined and uttered that the talk was getting “too political.” Nonchalantly, he stood up from his seat and left the venue.

Some people ask why activists are invariably enraged. When the question should be, “why do people stay politically apathetic when you live in a country riddled with fascism, injustice, sexism, and oppression?” Or “how are you able to forget a tragedy that stole thousands of lives and billions of money when the victims are suffering up to this day and the country has not yet recovered?” When those who stand and serve the people are being captured, if not, murdered.

In fact, many political prisoners, including student activists are being held behind bars. Some were never found, and some are now forgotten by many. Meanwhile, we have those responsible still free and hiding behind propaganda.

Activists who fight for the rights of the oppressed minorities do not only worry about the problematic ways the corrupt officials govern the system. A ceaseless sleep not thinking about their own lives and the families they love is one of the things they have to sacrifice for the good of the country.

David Gaider, a published author and former developer of BioWare says, “Privilege is when you think something is not a problem because it’s not a problem to you personally.”

Let us not only hope for voices to stop being silenced when they need to be heard. Politics itself is proof that we should not accept reality, to not only speak up but to listen. Anyone can get involved by doing these simple things:

1. Get educated

Watch the news. Read about history and politics, use the library; even online ones offer a plethora of books about these subjects. Start by binge-reading the works of two of our favorite legendary Filipino authors, Lualhati Bautista and Nick Joaquin.

2. Join political discussions or movements

Signing up for clubs and organization will help you learn from other people. It does not have to be boring, bring a friend with you.

3. Know the difference between real and fake news

Get to know the author first. A site’s popularity does not equate to credibility. The domain name itself manifests the credibility; for instance, “.com.co.” Do you see any errors in grammar and spelling? Are the sources and citations parallel to academic standards?

4. Art, Music, Film, and Literature can inspire social change

There are countless talented artists out there who deserve a bigger audience, who promote movements such as feminism and combating important issues like homophobia.

Notably, now that we’re living in the age of social media, its power should not be underestimated. Social commentary can change minds. There is a world out there beyond our perspective.

May the past be a lesson for future voters and leaders because Filipinos deserve better.