Saturday, February 28, 2015

A window into his mind

By Manila Standard Today
The general impression is that we have a president who is not only incapable of empathy, but also rude and inappropriate. Worse, he is blissfully unaware that he exhibits these attributes.
The first time he displayed this, we were prepared to give him the benefit of the doubt. It was, after all, only a few days after 44 members of the Special Action Force were slain in Mamasapano, Maguindanao. Perhaps he needed a few days of silence and isolation to take in what truly happened, or contain his grief.
When he emerged out of hiding, however, Mr. Aquino, in an address to the nation, showed us he did not get it at all. He attempted to justify the pursuit of terrorists even though there was no quarrel with that in the first place.
Asked whether he knew of the operation to serve the warrant on the terrorists in the “territory” of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, with whom he was talking peace, the President, like a street gangster, said he would not answer a rhetorical question. He went on and on about him not having to know every little detail of the pursuit of criminals.
Days later, he chose to attend a car manufacturer’s social event instead of personally attending a ceremony as the slain policemen’s bodies were brought to the Villamor Air Base.
The following day, his words did little to comfort the grieving families yet again. He talked about his own experiences, the loss of his own father, as if that were supposed to ease the suffering of the bereaved.
More recently, the President spoke with the members of the policemen’s families. He was supposed to assure them that help was coming and that the government would ensure there would be justice for the 44 men.
Instead, the meeting, based on accounts of those who were there, became a surreal encounter where they asked questions and the President replied in cavalier fashion. At many points during the conversation, Mr. Aquino was photographed smiling or smirking, or looking impatient and bored at all the questions from the widows.
There is a Tagalog word for this manner of speaking—“pabalang”—usually reserved for children who talk back to their elders without respect and thinking themselves smart for doing so. Another local word, “pilosopo,” comes to mind—and it has nothing to do with being profound or deep or rational.
They say one’s words betray one’s state of mind. We realize, and with horror, what this says about the mind of the person who is supposed to lead this nation.
Let us brace ourselves for worse. Expect nothing less from a man of phenomenal callousness. So out of it that he might genuinely be wondering why all of us are after him.

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