Wednesday, August 21, 2019


"Let not any one pacify his conscience by the delusion that he can do no harm if he takes no part, and forms no opinion. Bad men need nothing more to compass their ends, than that good men should look on and do nothing" -Edmund Burke.

n Philippines in 1986 when Ferdinand Marcos wanted to perpetuate himself in power through an inordinate means but was dethroned through a mass action.

Marcos became the President of Phillipine in 1965. The dictator amassed for himself and his cronies as at early 70s at the expense of the mass population of the country.Dissenting voices were endangered species and the situation degenerated to the extent that both Amnesty International and the International Commission for the Jurists initiated some interventions in the form of documenting the thousands of political prisoners in jail.

The economy of the country was grounded to a point that the people were in abject poverty and destitution. This generated tensions and possible civil war out break as a Marxist guerrilla movement gained increased acceptance and support from the people.

Senator Benigno Aquino was a staunch opponent of Marcos and was incarcerated from 1972 to 1980. Aquino was later assassinated in 1983 and his assassination provoked widespread revolution, though nonviolent. Infact, his coffin marked the first uninterrupted grief and nonviolent defiance against Marcos regime. Over two million people demonstrated their solidarity with Aquino and resolved not to relent until Marcos was unseated. Movements such as Movement for Peace and Justice (AKKAPKA) was formed . The movement ensured that the people who were under intense dose of intimidation and repression cast aside their fear, reject government’s inducement and vote according to their conscience in the polls.

Cory Aquino, wife of Benigno, challenged Marcos in the presidential polls and won but Marcos deployed all the state forces and reinstate himself as the President. This attracted widespread protests which even the priests and nuns were not left out as they put their lives on the line to ensure that Marcos was unseated.

The statement issued by the Philippine Catholic Bishops Conference will remain a classical study in political agitation:”We are not going to effect the change we seek by doing nothing, by sheer apathy…. Neither do we advocate a bloody, violent means of righting this wrong. If we did, we would be sanctioning the enormous sin of fratricidal strife. Killing to achieve justice is not within the purview of our Christian vision in our present context. The way indicated to us now is the way of nonviolent struggle for justice. This means active resistance of evil by the manner of Christ….We therefore ask every loyal member of the Church, every community of the faithful, to form their judgment about the February 7 polls. And if in faith they see thing as we bishops do, we must come together and discern what appropriate actions to take that will be according to the mind of Christ…. Now is the time to speak up. Now is the time to repair the wrong… But we insist:Our acting must always be according to the Gospel of Christ, that is, in a peaceful, nonviolent way”.

The group of eight Americans who were later known as the "Plowshares Eight" put their lives on the line that millions would-be victims of a monstrous arsenal, which gulped three millions a day from the public treasury, might be spared.

On September 9,1980 these Americans forced their way into the General Electric Nuclear Missile Reentry Plant in King Prussia, Pennsylvania. The nose cones for the Mark 12 A nuclear missile were produced at this location. The plowshares eight hammered some hollow onto nose cones, poured blood on some documents, prayed for peace and left.

They were later arrested and sentenced to prison terms of about ten years. Theit statements during the trial were captivating. They said that they had gone yo Pennsylvania to "beat sword into plowshares (and to) expose the criminality of nuclear weaponry and corporate piracy.

Daniel Berrigan, one of the plowshares eight aptly captured their act thus: "Our act is all I have to say. The only message I have to the world is: We are not allowed to kill innocent people. We are not allowed to be complicit in murder. We are not allowed to be silent while preparations for mass murder proceed in our name, with our money, secretly. I have nothing else to say in the world. At other times one could talk about family life and divorce and birth control and abortion and many other questions. But this Mark 12A is here. And it renders all other questions null and void. Nothing, nothing can be settled until this is settled .Or this will settle us, once and for all .It is terrible for me to live in a time where I have nothing to human beings except,"stop killing". There are other beautiful things that I would love to be saying to people. There are other projects I could be very helpful at. And I can't do them. I cannot. Because everything is endangered. Everything is up for grabs. Ours is a kind of primitive situation, even though we would call ourselves sophisticated ".

The deduction from the above is that salvation comes from the oppressed and not the oppressors.